Wondering About Ideal Toys for 3 Month Old.

Updated on May 07, 2010
R.S. asks from Portsmouth, VA
16 answers

Hi moms. My 3 month old baby is learning to crawl. We give him plenty of time on the floor for this. But he gets bored or frustrated after a while. Then one of us has to pick him up. I was wondering, is there a toy that can entertain a baby for longer periods than 20-30 minutes? How would a bouncer do? Is he too old for that? What about a mobile for his crib? Or a new playpen? I'd like something that would stimulate and entertain my baby, and also give us his parents some free time. Any ideas?

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So What Happened?

Big thanks! We got a rocker and a gym mat and he loves them both, especially the gym mat! Yes, my baby does make crawling-like movements. He can push himself forward and leave the gym mat if he wants, with effort. He can also roll to one side and grab a bottle or toy (though not for too long). I didn't know that about short attention spans and getting tired after a while. I learned something new here so thank you for that too. Now we let him play on the gym mat and rocker until he gets weary and wants to be picked up. Then we feed him, hold him and put him to sleep if he's sleepy. I am thankful for the toys because they encourage him to develop his skills. It also gets us some free time while he plays contentedly by himself. But since he is starting to learn how to crawl and roll around, we have to buy a playpen next.

Note: We got a Bright Stars gym mat. The music is the cutest thing we've ever heard! The Fisher Price rocker has a musical toy too but it hurts the ear.

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answers from Seattle on

exersaucer worked miralcles for me. My nephew screamed in one but is content in a walker (which I was against, but for the stong willed baby, I'd do it).

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answers from Chicago on

I agree with the prior post that 20-30 mins is a LONG time for one stretch of tummy time. Imagine you lifting heavy weights with your arms for 20-30 minutes with NO break. That's what it's like for a little one trying to lift their huge melon heads compared to their tiny bodies. Their necks are not fully developed yet and they need a break.

Once your baby gets to be about 5 mos old you can use a Jumperoo or exersaucer, but even those are for limited amounts of 'entertainment' time. Since the babies are in a fabric seat, they are not supposed to be left in them for longer than about 20-30 minutes. There are blood flow issues to their femeral arteries if they cannot stand flat footed or sit down with their feet on the floor to take pressure off their thighs. They are lots of fun, and can keep them entertained while you cook dinner.

Tummy time is very important for neck strength, arm strength and for them to learn how to coordinate themselves to crawl. Just keep in mind that MOST kids won't crawl until they are at least 5-6 mos old.

Be patient. And if you're still looking for some fun toys, check out the Amazon website. They list best selling baby toys and have some really cute things out there at decent prices.

Good luck

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

20-30 minutes, is a LONG time for a baby, that age.
At this age, things are for about 15 minutes max. They simply do not have the cognition to stay with something that long.

When you see him getting "bored" as you call it... it is not that he is "bored" literally... but that, at this young young age... they are still just trying to do things, which they many times can't do that much because their motor skills and coordination and cognition is not totally coordinated all together... at the SAME time. So, then maybe they get frustrated. But this is how they learn.

A "toy" can be anything. Even a Kleenex box. Babies LOVE pulling Kleenex out of a box. Repeatedly. Babies learn by repetition.

When you say that he gets bored and frustrated then you have to pick him up.... it is probably because he is over-tired, or over-stimulated. THAT causes babies to then cry/fuss/want you. This is their "cue" and communication for conveying things like that. Or, he need a nap.

Some babies don't like mobiles in their crib because it over-stimulates them and then they can't sleep. Some babies like it because it amuses them or distracts them. BUT.... once a baby is over-tired of looking at it or interacting with it.... they can't just get rid of it themselves or put it away... it is always hanging there. So... sometimes they fuss even if they are tired, because maybe by then the mobile irks them.

Keep in mind, babies this young get tired easily, they get over-stimulated easily... they need "activities" in short spurts. AND... let your baby just hang out.... on a mat. With you nearby. You do not 'have to' entertain a baby constantly. It is also important for their development to do things without "toys" too.... just to observe their world and look. As babies, my kids loved to lie on their backs, and look up at the sky and see the clouds moving and the leaves blowing in the wind. THIS is a form of great 'entertainment' for a baby. And an older child.

A baby this age, is not "bored." You also just need to let them be.... at this age, even a bath is an activity that makes them tired.

20-30 minutes, is SUPER long for a baby this age. And, for me, I never used bouncers... or I would only use it if I had to do something like cook. But I would have my baby strapped in well for safety and then place them near me.

babies this age do not need toys. Toys are anything safe in the house.

Next, a baby this age is NOT rolling yet, nor crawling yet nor walking. So you DO have time to yourself. Because a baby this age just lays there. Just put him where he can see you. Or if you really need time to yourself then put him in the crib. But not all day of course.
Also, don't expect a baby this age to just "play" all the time either. They also need to nap. Babies this age nap a lot. And to just hang out. I would often put my baby on a mat near me.... and I would read an catch up with my mail, for example. But the baby was right next to me.

As for 'free time' it will get busier the more mobile your baby gets. Then you really need to baby safe your home. Because then you will not be able to keep the baby in one single place... and they need constant supervision. For time to yourself... get a babysitter or have Grandparents watch the baby.

All the best,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Madison on

You really can't expect a child at that age to be on their own without attention for long unless they are sleeping. Which at this age he should be sleeping plenty day and night so you have breaks. Make sure he is going to bed at a decent hour so that you get time to yourself at night. He should be about ready for a schedule. Bedtime around 7pm and 2-3 naps during the day. If you need help with a sleep schedule and how much children should sleep at every age I recommend the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child".

You also have to realize that you have a child now and they are going to demand a lot of your time. That's the nature of kids. If you want a longer break, get someone to watch your child while you have a few hours to yourself.

You can use a bouncy seat, swing or activity mat near you for shorter periods of time. But your baby is not going to want to be on his own until he is a much older child.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

20-30 minutes is a very long attention span for a 3 month old. Put a blanket down on the rug and scatter rattles, rings, blocks around. Get a playmat that has a mirrored surface to gaze into and see his face. At this age, you are his source of entertainment. Play with him and he will learn from you. Johnny Jump-ups are great from strengthening legs and back muscles, but again, more than 20-30 minutes is way too long for any activity at this age. He could sit in his bouncer chair with a toy bar to bat at to develop hand-eye coordination. That would also enable him to watch you in your activities and you could keep a eye and ear out for him while you work or play.

Just a couple of quick thoughts. This time goes by so fast, enjoy the closeness you have. It will be the foundation for trust for years to come.



answers from Portland on

3 months is way too young to expect a long attention span. They need variety and anything that does capture their attention for more than 15 minutes will not be guaranteed to work the next time and the focus for that amount of time will exhaust them, making them want to be held even more. If you are looking for a way to get things done without "playing" with the baby all the time. The best thing to do is wear your baby. They get to explore the world around them and can be entertained for an hour or more at times and easily fall asleep when bored. They learn to see that they are a part of the world and not the center of it. They also get all of their security needs met, making them more independent in the long run.



answers from Kansas City on

Well at three months they do not have that long of an attention span. I would try the bouncy seat, swing, or an activity mat on the floor. My third one loved the swing so she spent a lot time in it :0)



answers from Seattle on

At 3 months, the best toy for him is his parents.

If he's content on the floor for 20-30 minutes, consider yourself very lucky.

In about 3 months or so he'll be ready for more toys and to interact with them. You can use a playmat but he'll get bored with that too. Babies have very short attention spans.

Free time will come, but right now he needs you more than anything.



answers from Seattle on

Uh my 2.5 year old barely has teh attention span for 20-30 min with toys.
Your baby is way to young for that, 5-10 min at best. They need mom and this age, tummy time.



answers from Kansas City on

Bouncer's, exersaucers and swings are great for little ones, you just have to watch, they'll get tired of sitting up pretty fast. I think it strengthens their legs and helps with their motor skills. You might have to put blankets around him at first to help him stay upright



answers from Portland on

Babies are not ready to do one activity for long periods of time, and 20 to 30 minutes is a loooooong time to a baby! I'm wondering how much "free" time you are hoping to get- I think most people with babies would never expect, nor WANT, their baby to self entertain for that long while they do something else. If I were you I would aim for a few 10 minute periods of self play during the day, balanced with plenty of physical contact time and interactive time.



answers from Washington DC on

Your 3 month old is learning to crawl?? At 3 months they don't need toys as such , a little tummy time on a playmat , maybe some toys that attach to a bouncy chair and that's about it. They don't have a long attention span either , 5-10 mins and that's about it.



answers from Seattle on

Don't expect too much alone time from your babe just yet. But a good investment is to get a baby gym/playmat. Ours LOVED this and would spend 20-30 playing in it completely satisfied. You can buy new toys to add onto it that make it new and fun. Also they are detachable so you can un clip them and take them with you in the car etc. These are great and offer lots of entertainment for several months! Plus you can pack them away easy! Another option for a little later on when your baby has developed a stronger neck is to get a Jumperoo is great fun and adjustable for growth we had the Fisher Pirce Rainforest Jumperoo http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2508003 its been through 3 babies and they all absolutely adored it!



answers from Portland on

I'm lucky if I can get my 6 month old to do something for 20-30 minutes.! I have a "hold me" child and its only been in the last month that I have been able to do things without holding her. I loved her bouncer because I could put it on the kitchen island and do dishes or cook and she couldn't reach anything, but she was in the same room with me so that I wasn't ignoring her. I would try this or a swing. Your baby is probably too young to sit in a excersaucer for long, but its also an option. When I had something I really needed to get done, I would invite my sister or my niece over just to play with her while I did what I needed to. It was the only way to get things done. Good Luck!



answers from Seattle on

Baby Einstein videos but there is no greater stimulation than talking and playing with your baby.



answers from Seattle on

Go for an exersaucer if you don't have one already. At 3 months your son might not be able to hold himself up in there but if you stuff a blanket around him he will stay pretty snug and can at least look around at everything. As he gets older you will love it - that is how my husband and I ever got to eat dinner at the same time!

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