Playtime: 4 to 6 Months Old
They’re growing so fast!
When your baby hits a magical window of development between 4 and 6 months old, they’ll achieve major milestones that make playtime all the more fun. (Though newborn games have their place too.) Holding their head up steadily without any support—thanks to putting in regular tummy time—newfound hand-eye coordination, and increased curiosity about people and their surroundings raise the bar on the kind of 4- to 6-month activities you can do with them.
To help you make the most of baby and mommy games while helping to nurture your infant’s development, we’ve put together lists of 4-month baby activities, activities for a 5-month-old, and 6-month-old activities. Take a gander, then give some of them a try. You’ll have a happy, smiling, belly-laughing kid in no time.
At around 4 months old, your baby can keep their tiny head upright, use their limbs to push against things, and roll over from their tummy to their back. People’s faces are fascinating to them—and they can recognize different ones. They start babbling and mimicking sounds, responding to your affection, and becoming more expressive when they’re happy or sad. They’ll even cry in different ways to tell you what they need. Your infant can push up onto their elbows, and grab and hold toys. Perhaps most of all, they love to play—so much so that they might cry when all the fun ends. Feed their desire for some excitement with some of the following baby and mommy games.
Blow raspberries You may already be doing this one, since, let’s face it, chubby baby bellies are hard to resist. If not, pucker your lips and blow on their tummy until it vibrates to make a sound. They may give you an awfully confused look at first, but the sound and tickle can make them squirm with joy and help build their communication skills in the meantime.
Copycat A lightbulb has gone off in your baby’s head that they can make the same sounds you do. Encourage the conversation by copying their sounds and adding words to them. This will teach them that communication goes both ways.
Get goofy Put your silly cap on and go nuts! Do wacky dance moves or pretend to be different animals. Then, get ready for that belly laugh!
Baby stand Since your baby can push against things with their legs, take it as an opportunity to build those tiny muscles and help develop their balance. Hold them in a standing position on your lap and lift them up and down.
Baby roll Help build those core muscles by putting your baby down on their side, laying down next to them, and supporting their back with a rolled up towel. Encourage them to reach for you until they roll over, and when they do, applaud their achievement! Then, roll them back and repeat.
Elevator time For another core workout, lay on your back and lift your baby slowly up and down, saying “Ding!” each time they reach the top or bottom.
Teeth ring Your baby might be starting to teeth at this age. Blow their mind—and their senses—with some different textured teething rings. Just be sure they’re firm, but not hard, and don’t have any liquid in them that could leak out. (Learn other safety tips.)
Rattle shake Shake a rattle all around them so they follow it, then let them shake it to persuade them into reaching for it. Once they have it, help them move it back and forth in their hands to help develop their hand-eye coordination.
Texture exploration Play with touching a bunch of different textured fabrics—like fleece, silk, velvet—and name how they feel. This will help your baby learn about their surroundings through touch.
Name the animal Show your baby some favorite stuffed animals one at a time and have them touch it. Ask them what it is, then tell them what animal it is and play make-believe with them. It will help them learn the words, develop their sense of touch, and teach them to follow objects with their eyes.
Moving songs & rhymes Sing songs and rhymes that also have interactions with your baby, like “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “This Little Piggy,” and “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.” And sing them often. Doing so helps build body awareness and early language skills.
Narration Describe different activities as you do them, such as “on” and “off,” “open” and “close,” “pick up” and “put down.” This teaches your infant that there are words for actions.
When your baby is 5 months old, all the baby and mommy games you’ve been playing have been helping their development right along. They may be able to roll over on their own now, and sit on their tiny tushy with support. They can stay alert for close to two hours—and babble away as they do. They’re intrigued by their own appearance in a mirror and reach out for toys all on their own. Best of all, they love spending time with you. Which makes it the perfect time to try to add some of these activities for a 5-month-old to their playtime repertoire.
Rock & roll Those side rolls you did in their 4-month-old activities may have already paid off. Your baby might be rolling on their own or rocking back and forth when you set them down on their tummy. Help build those muscles up even more by encouraging them to roll to reach for a toy. As their strength builds, they’ll have more and more control over their movement. If they can’t roll over on their own yet, gently show them how.
Up & down Help develop their sense of balance and body awareness by lifting them high above your head and down really low.
Peek-a-boo tummy time Get down to your baby’s eye level and play peek-a-book while they’re doing their tummy time. When you voila! reappear—inevitably fascinating them—say their name with a big smile or kiss. (Psst: The tummy time is building their core strength in a fun way, in addition to being widely entertaining for your little one.)
Baby rub down First, learn the proper way to give your baby a massage. Then, proceed with massaging them from the tippy-top of their head to their little piggies. Along with developing their sense of touch and vision while feeling wonderful, there are numerous emotional, behavioral, and biological benefits.
Baby bounce Let your baby experience different new moves by bouncing them gently on your knees—side to side, and up and down.
Make some noise! Help your baby explore their toys and other objects in whole new ways by making noise with them. Let them bang them together, shake them, or drop them. Even spoons, baby dishes, and keys can teach them cause and effect.
Slip, slip, slide As long as your baby has gotten the hang of holding their head up, place them on a soft towel on a large, soft, smooth surface, such as a carpet, without any small objects on it. Then, give them the ride of their life by pulling them around. This will help strengthen their head control and neck, shoulder, and back muscles even more.
Textured baby ball You can find balls made specifically for babies that have different textures and colors to explore. Demonstrate different things you can do with it like bouncing, dropping, and rolling it. Your baby will experience new sensations while developing their motor skills.
Piggy play Babies love playing with—and sucking on—their feet. Count their toes while touching them to help them learn how to focus their attention and track movements.
Double-duty chores Need to get things done around the house, but it’s not time for your little one to sleep yet? Strap them securely on in a carrier and take them with you as you do housework. They’ll get a whole new perspective on things, and help improve their sense of balance and the position their body is in at the same time.
Accessory time Place a loose bracelet or ring on your baby’s foot, and encourage them to reach for it. It will help build those tiny baby abs and improve hand-eye coordination.
By about 6 months old, your baby has a litany of 4- to 6-month-old activities to choose from. Their motor skills are really ratcheting up, they’re even more curious, and they’ll know their own name. They’ll be able to do 6-month old activities, like make sounds in response to sounds—including when they’re happy or not—string vowel sounds together, and sit without support. If you hold them upright, they’ll dance to their own little jig. And they’ll start moving things from hand to hand. Take all this progress and show them some new baby and mommy games.
New foods As long as your little one can sit upright—with or without support—hold their head steady, and put things in their mouth, try expanding their culinary horizons by introducing them to solid foods. We admit, this one can become quite the messy undertaking, but if there’s a time to play with your food, this is it. Playing with different food textures helps your baby learn about them.
Give me Encourage your baby to swipe objects towards themself with their fingers in a raking motion (not the food, of course). Place different things in different locations in front of them to improve their range of controlled motion.
Funny faces It’s never too early to begin making funny faces with your baby, but as one of their 6-month-old activities, sticking your tongue out, winking, or raising your eyebrows helps their visual focus.
Sitting practice If your baby isn’t supporting themself while they sit just yet, put them in a sitting position on the floor with their arms out in front of them, and encourage them to hold themself up. Their back may be pretty bent at first, but it will straighten out as they get stronger.
Roll & reach Once your baby is rolling over on their own, place a toy or other baby-safe object near them to see if they’ll roll over to get it. This can help build their core muscles.
Lean-reaching Similarly, when your little one is in a sitting position, place a favorite toy or object just out of their reach. By having to reach for it, their strength and motor skills will develop.
Board books Your baby loves the sound of your voice. And if you read to them or describe the pictures, they can bask in it while looking at different colors and shapes. It will help develop their listening skills.
Household sounds Make different sounds with things around your home, like crumpling papers, or use squeezy toys. Try and do them in different orders to keep things interesting, and encourage your baby to make the sounds too. This will help develop their listening and motor skills.
Moving toys Your 6-month-old is endlessly curious at this stage. Let them play with wind-up toys or ones that move in repetitive motions. They’ll help develop your baby’s visual focus and attention.
Nature strolls While there’s no set age for walking outdoors with your baby, at 6 months old, they’re even more aware of their surroundings and may appreciate it more. Plus, they’ll get to experience new sights, sounds, smells, and sensations.
Of course, every child is different, and these ages and milestones are just averages. If you have any concerns about your baby’s development, speak to your pediatrician.