Simple Baby Play Ideas

Arty Crafty Kids | Play | 21 Awesome Baby Play Ideas | A collection of fun, engaging and sensory play ideas for babies.

Motherhood is a shock to the system. When your first child is born you enter a world full of new terms and presumed common knowledge, developmental concepts and a never ending list of do’s and don’ts.  The pre-child me was pretty clueless to all things baby related. Who knew that babies could even play?

Sensory play, sensory bottles, discovery bottles, Montessori this and child-led that – it was all alien and the expanse of baby play ideas was nothing short of overwhelming. Clever marketers will have you believe that you need the latest loudest, brightest, all singing and dancing baby gadget to show your baby a good time and push them along to meet their milestones.

And as a new parent, I believed them!

Fast forward 7 years and I have three little darlings, and I can tell you with absolute confidence that you don’t need all the shiny singing baby gadgets. In fact, you hardly need anything at all all!

Baby play is an amazing process and today I’ve put together a collection of 21 simple play ideas we’ve tried and tested over the years. These ideas will not cost the earth, they’re devoid of pretentiousness and are all about having fun and playing.

Shall we take a look?

21 Simple Baby Play IdeasArty Crafty Kids | Play | 21 Awesome Baby Play Ideas | A collection of fun, engaging and sensory play ideas for babies.

Edible paint is a is fabulous way for babies to safely enjoy messy play. Many babies will love the sensation of squishing, squashing, moving the paint while trying to figure out the cause and effect of how paint found it way onto their tiny little hands

Some babies love noise and colour, and these simple sensory pots make use of items you’re likely to have in craft/kitchen cupboards.

Themed discovery baskets are a great way to introduce your baby to new sounds, textures and shapes,  and can be as simple as grouping a number of same colour items, to shiny objects or even coordinated to use alongside a reading of their favourite book!

Sensory play doesn’t get easier than these liquid and solid sensory bags, using a zip locked bag and basic kitchen items.

My own baby loves playing with a stuffed shape sorter and will spend a number of ‘baby hours’ pulling out the ribbons and fabric, exploring the varied textures.

Arty Crafty Kids | Play | 21 Awesome Baby Play Ideas | A collection of fun, engaging and sensory play ideas for babies.

Can you imagine the fun of clambering over a soft cushion to then crawling over bubble wrap? Babies will LOVE this sensory runway!

This DIY play ring is an amazing way to stimulate very young babies and encourage tummy time!

I adore the idea of this spread of rainbow sensory bottles – a great way for babies to explore colour.

I child’s love of cardboard boxes starts early. Add ribbons and something amazing happens….

This baby’s engaged face tells you everything  you need to about this shiny foil blanket experience.

Zip locked bags are an amazing tool for sensory play and can be used for mess-free art (perfect for babies who don’t like messy play), water beads and colour Polka Dot play.

Sensory bottles can be filled with all sorts of household items, but I love the way this blogger added ice and warm water for her baby to explore hot and cold.

This ball drop idea is just pure fun!

Arty Crafty Kids | Play | 21 Awesome Baby Play Ideas | A collection of fun, engaging and sensory play ideas for babies.

You could also try dying household ingredients like rice or pasta to create rainbow themed sensory bags for babies to explore colour and texture.

Babies love to look at themselves and I love the way natural items have been combined with a mirror to create a fantastic mirror baby play idea.

While some babies don’t enjoy mess, there are some that do and if your baby is one them, then this messy gloop idea is one to try!

Here you will see my baby boy playing with bubble wrap and paint. He loved squishing the paint (with the help of big sister) and was utterly bemused by the popping sound and feel of the bubble wrap.

Here’s a fabulous DIY baby play idea using ribbons.

And to finish off our collection of 21 Baby Play Ideas, here’s a simple rainbow musical shaker made using recycled materials!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this collection of baby play ideas and have found a number of ideas to try with your baby!

 

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Arty Crafty Kids | Play | 21 Awesome Baby Play Ideas | A collection of fun, engaging and sensory play ideas for babies.

Toddler Rainbow Activity DIY Felt Story Board

Arty Crafty Kids | Play | Toddler Rainbow Activity | Toddlers will have fun creating pictures and building their own simple rainbows. A great little colour identification and sequencing activity for toddlers.

This simple  ” I can make a Rainbow” Toddler Rainbow Activity is great for colour identification, sequencing and fine motor skills.

It’s also REALLY fun!

My toddler built rainbow after rainbow and enjoyed simply playing with the arches.

She made patterns, various unusual shapes, made up stories and a few, rather funny messy pictures.

It’s an activity you could also bag up and take out n’ about.

And, here’s the best bit –  takes just minutes to set up!

Toddler Rainbow Activity DIY Felt Story Board 

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Multiple Sheets of Felt – Rainbow Colours
Scissors
Cardboard (optional)

Arty Crafty Kids | Play | Toddler Rainbow Activity | Toddlers will have fun creating pictures and building their own simple rainbows. A great little colour identification and sequencing activity for toddlers.

Simply cut out a number of rainbow arches of different sizes and colours.

You may notice that we only used four colours.

On the one hand, it keeps the activity really simple, but in this instance we didn’t have all the colours to hand!

Sometimes it’s all about working with the materials you have available at the time.

Arty Crafty Kids | Play | Toddler Rainbow Activity | Toddlers will have fun creating pictures and building their own simple rainbows. A great little colour identification and sequencing activity for toddlers.

Hand the felt materials over to your toddler, along with one full sheet of A4 blue felt – this will form the background.

To create a solid board, try sticking the felt sheet onto cardboard.

Arty Crafty Kids | Play | Toddler Rainbow Activity | Toddlers will have fun creating pictures and building their own simple rainbows. A great little colour identification and sequencing activity for toddlers.

The rest is all down to your toddler as they play with their rainbows.

Arty Crafty Kids | Play | Toddler Rainbow Activity | Toddlers will have fun creating pictures and building their own simple rainbows. A great little colour identification and sequencing activity for toddlers.

Without any intervention at all, my toddler would mutter to herself the colours and naturally sequence the arches in relation to size.

Arty Crafty Kids | Play | Toddler Rainbow Activity | Toddlers will have fun creating pictures and building their own simple rainbows. A great little colour identification and sequencing activity for toddlers.

As the activity progressed, she created her own little stories and soon the arches and clouds adopted funny voices.

As a mummy, I love watching my child’s creativity naturally evolve and this Toddler Rainbow Activity proves that activities do not need to be complicated.

More often than not, it’s best to keep it simple!

For more Rainbow inspiration, take a look at our Rainbow Scrape Painting, Rainbow Straw Blowing Art and our Rainbow Butterfly.

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Arty Crafty Kids | Play | Toddler Rainbow Activity | Toddlers will have fun creating pictures and building their own simple rainbows. A great little colour identification and sequencing activity for toddlers.

 

 

Creative Play Woodland Trees

Arty Crafty Kids | Art | Creative Play Woodland Trees | Transform beautiful process art into woodland trees for some magical woodland play!

Today I will be showing you how a simple process art session can inspire imaginations and be transformed into a magical moment of creative play.

Now, I have to admit. We didn’t set out to make woodland trees.

I had vision of creating a colourful Christmas tree garland, but it just wasn’t meant to be…

And that’s ok!

Art and Crafts with kids always has the potential to follow its own path and it’s important we allow a childs creativity to shine and flow in whatever form it presents itself.

In this case, the will of my three year old took control. I listened to her suggestions and the entire process evolved into something beyond my own imagination and it was awesome!

She had a brilliant time from start to finish and LOVED playing with her homemade forest, where the animals came out to play.

So for now, we’ll save the Christmas Tree Garlands for another day and here’s how you can set up this fun creative play session at home!

MATERIALS: Creative Play Woodland Trees

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Paint
Paper Tube ( Toilet Rolls)
Scissors
IMAGINATION

DIRECTIONS: Creative Play Woodland Trees

Arty Crafty Kids | Art | Colourful Woodland Tree Art

Set up a “creation station” (aka a table) with paint, paper rolls and pre-cut triangular cards.

Arty Crafty Kids | Art | Colourful Woodland Tree Art

Take a step back and let them paint.

Arty Crafty Kids | Art | Colourful Woodland Tree Art

As you can see, going with the process isn’t always neat and tidy!

Arty Crafty Kids | Art | Colourful Woodland Tree Art

Paint the paper rolls brown.

Suggest mixing the paints to see what happens – preschoolers rarely have a problem colour mixing to make brown!

Arty Crafty Kids | Art | Colourful Woodland Tree Art

Let the “trees” and paper rolls dry.

Arty Crafty Kids | Art | Colourful Woodland Tree Art

Next put it all together by cutting the paper tube into smaller segments and then cut two small opposite slits into the tube.

Arty Crafty Kids | Art | Colourful Woodland Tree Art

Place the trees into the paper tubes.

Arty Crafty Kids | Art | Creative Play Woodland Trees | Transform beautiful process art into woodland trees for some magical woodland play!

And then it’s play time!

This is a super simple craft that’s perfect for toddlers and preschoolers!

Open-ended and free, inspiring hours of creative play – how will your child play with their woodland trees?

For more creative play ideas check out how we play with waterbeads and make a DIY play rainbow!

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Arty Crafty Kids | Art | Creative Play Woodland Trees | Transform beautiful process art into woodland trees for some magical woodland play!

 

 

Fine Motor Pebble Stacking Christmas Tree

Arty Crafty Kids | Play | Fine Motor Pebble Stacking Chrismas Tree

I am really excited to be sharing our Fine Motor Pebble Stacking Christmas Tree activity with you today.

It strikes me as funny that this activity evolved from girls balancing pebbles at the dinner table rather than eating their meal!

Sometimes you just to have to go with the flow and actually, while they were playing there was some serious learning going on.

The aim of the game is the stack all the pebbles, fill the “branches” with sequin baubles and finish off by balancing a pom-pom on top.

It’s trickier than it looks!

Through play, they were developing reasoning and fine motor skills. Hand and eye-coordination, as well as problem solving skills.

All applied using a little creativity, with a pinch of patience and determination – as there was a lot of trial and error involved!

This is one those activities, we’ll be bagging up and taking it out and about with us. It’s a great to keep the kids entertained with something fun, but I have to warn you…

You will find yourself having a go or two yourself!

MATERIALS: Fine Motor Pebble Stacking Activity Christmas Tree 

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Pebbles
Acrylic Paint
Sequins or Buttons
Pom-pom

DIRECTIONS: Fine Motor Pebble Stacking Activity Christmas Tree

Start with a trip to the local beach.

Have a play and search for flat smooth pebbles of various sizes and when you get home, either leave them as they are or paint the pebbles using some acrylic paint.

Arty Crafty Kids | Play | Fine Motor Pebble Stacking Christmas Tree | This pebble stacking fine motor Chrismas Tree activity is an awesome challenging game that encourages problem solving, hand eye-cordinaton and fine motor skills!

Lay the pebbles out, along with sequins and pom-pom.

At this point, I left my three old to play without any instruction.

Arty Crafty Kids | Play | Fine Motor Pebble Stacking Christmas Tree | This pebble stacking fine motor Chrismas Tree activity is an awesome challenging game that encourages problem solving, hand eye-cordinaton and fine motor skills!

She quickly worked out that she needed to start with the biggest pebble and work her way up.

Shape was also important and cakes adjusted the positioning of each stone to find the best fit.

Arty Crafty Kids | Play | Fine Motor Pebble Stacking Christmas Tree | This pebble stacking fine motor Chrismas Tree activity is an awesome challenging game that encourages problem solving, hand eye-cordinaton and fine motor skills!

The sequins add to the fine motor development and enhance the challenge!

Arty Crafty Kids | Play | Fine Motor Pebble Stacking Christmas Tree | This pebble stacking fine motor Chrismas Tree activity is an awesome challenging game that encourages problem solving, hand eye-cordinaton and fine motor skills!

The pom-pom is the trickiest element and I can assure you, the pebbles all came crashing down time and time again.

But that’s ok, because ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again!’

Arty Crafty Kids | Play | Fine Motor Pebble Stacking Christmas Tree | This pebble stacking fine motor Chrismas Tree activity is an awesome challenging game that encourages problem solving, hand eye-cordinaton and fine motor skills!

It’s a game of perseverance and as you can see, Cakes had so much building her Christmas Tree.

It’s amazing that such a simple game can have so many developmental benefits and it can be varied in a number of ways. For example Emma at Adventures of Adam adds a colour sorting element with her rainbow pebbles – perfect for colour recognition!

I hope your kiddies enjoy our fine motor pebble stacking Christmas tree and if you a need a reason to visit the local peach or park, then here’s a good one!

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Arty Crafty Kids | Play | Fine Motor Pebble Stacking Christmas Tree | This pebble stacking fine motor Chrismas Tree activity is an awesome challenging game that encourages problem solving, hand eye-cordinaton and fine motor skills!

 

Fine Motor Circle Art

Fine Motor Circle Art is all about the process and less about the end product.

My six year old is ambidextrous and bizarrely, this tends to put her at an advantage when it comes to gross motor activities.

However, when it comes to scissor skills, writing and all things fine motor…that’s when the fun begins!

She still can’t decide which hand to use and switches between the two for everything.

This activity is a simple one to help develop the fine motor skills necessary for cutting with scissors.

It also doubles up as a creative work of circle art that my toddler used to colour sort and arrange in size order.

It turns out that our Fine Motor Circle Art activity is a good all-rounder!

MATERIALS: Fine Motor Circle Art 

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Stock Paper/Card (US Link / UK Link )
Felt
PVA Glue
Scissors

Let’s Get Started! 

Arty Crafty Kids - Play - Scissor Skills - Fine Motor Circle Art

Present a selection of stock card, felt and any other suitable materials you have to hand – maybe they could try cutting bubble wrap or cellophane? and get cutting!

Your arty kid may want to draw their circles first and try to follow the lines, or free-hand it as Miss O did.

Cut lots of circles using different materials.


TIP: The use of different textures and materials will make this activity more challenging, as your arty kid will have to adapt their cutting technique with each – Great for Fine Motor Development

Arty Crafty Kids - Play - Scissor Skills - Fine Motor Circle Art

Keep cutting until there’s a good pile of circles!

Arty Crafty Kids - Play - Scissor Skills - Fine Motor Circle Art

Next, begin sticking the circles onto a piece of stock card.


Arty Crafty Kids - Play - Scissor Skills - Fine Motor Circle Art

Layer the circles until the card is full with circles!

As you can see, my toddler approached this task from the angle of colour sorting, whereas her sister went for pretty using contrasting colours.

I love that both of my children got something out of this activity, each focusing on different fine motor elements; Miss O cutting and Cakes, Sticking!

And of course, both children were left with a gorgeous piece of circle art.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this activity!

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Arty Crafty Kids - Play - Scissor Skills - Fine Motor Circle Art


Magical Stick Wands

Arty Crafty Kids - Craft - Craft Ideas for Kids - Magical Stick Wands

With a small amount of prep the day before, we devised the perfect craft for Angel to do with her best friend during their play date. The girls had a blast from start to finish and the play inspired by the Magical Stick Wands was AMAZING. The girls couldn’t stop laughing. They were wizards, fairies, magical princesses and I was turned into everything from a frog to a broom!

In fact, the girls laughed and played so much, I gave up trying to take a picture of them. So I apologise now for the absence of action shots, the play took over…

Magical Stick Wands: Materials

Sticks
Chalkola Chalk Markers (UK Link/ US Link)
Black Paint ( the chalk markers could be replaced with paint of various colours)
Some ribbon, string or anything that can be tied to the ends of the sticks

Magical Stick Wands

Step 1. To get started, go out on a nature walk. Collect interesting looking sticks, leaves or anything else the kids find.

Step 2. Paint the sticks black and leave to dry for at least 24 hours.
Arty Crafty Kids - Craft - Craft Ideas for Kids - Magical Stick Wands

Step 3. Decorate the dry sticks using various different colours and patterns.

Arty Crafty Kids - Craft - Craft Ideas for Kids - Magical Stick Wands

Step 4. Leave the sticks to dry and then get ready to play!

Arty Crafty Kids - Craft - Craft Ideas for Kids - Magical Stick Wands

Step 5. Or add a few tassels to the end of the sticks to add some additional sensory fun.

My kids have hardly put their Magical Stick Wands down. They’ve really proven to be a huge hit and I loved that my daughter made them with her best friend, it seemed to add some additional fun factor. From my perspective, the magic derives from the explosion of imaginative play the wands inspired. Their games and laughter made me smile and I hope they fill your home with touch of magic too!

Arty Crafty Kids - Craft - Craft Ideas for Kids - Magical Stick Wands

Rainbow Small World Play

Arty Crafty Kids - Play - Rainbow Small World Play

My girls love small world play and frequently challenge me to come up with new and exciting ideas.

Angel requested something “magical” and after seeing a my little pony play scene from The Imgaination Tree, I knew Rainbows were the way forward and came up with this simple rainbow prompt to inspire small world play.

Made from a piece of recycled cardboard, I can hardly believe how successful this idea is. My girls (5 & 20 months) LOVE it! I’ve seen ponies jump over the arches, snails climbing the rainbow, cars driving underneath and so much more.

Angel has even folded it up and taken it out with her, making family meals at restaurants a little more ‘magical’.

Rainbow Small World Play: Materials

2 Large Pieces of Thick Cardboard
Red,Yellow and Blue Paint
Scissors

Rainbow Small World Play 

Arty Crafty Kids - Play - Rainbow Small World Play

Draw a rainbow shape on both pieces of cardboard. To ensure they’re the same size, draw and cut out one and then use it to trace around on the second piece of cardboard.

Arty Crafty Kids - Play - Rainbow Small World Play

Paint both sides of the arches in rainbow colours.

This is a great opportunity to introduce some colour mixing into the craft by encouraging the arty crafty kids to make the colours of the rainbow using the primary colours.

Arty Crafty Kids - Play - Rainbow Small World Play

Once dry, cut a slit into each piece cardboard – one slit at the bottom and the other at the top.

Connect the pieces of cardboard together and adjust as needed by increasing the length of the slit to ensure the rainbow prompt rests nicely on a work surface.

Hand over to your kids, with a few toys of their choice and watch the magic happen!

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Arty Crafty Kids - Play - Rainbow Small World Play

Bubble Wrap Stamps

Arty Crafty Kids - Art - Bubble Wrap Stamps

With a set up time of less than five minutes, these Bubble Wrap Stamps kept toddler Cakes entertained for hours. She loved them!

Perfect for tiny hands to hold, Cakes didn’t waste any time exploring the capabilities of the bubble wrap stamps. She tried light stamps, firm stamps, small amounts of paint and huge splodges of multiple colours.

Free to explore, Cakes was absorbed from start to finish as her mind whirled away, switching between little artist to scientist – an aspect of process art that I love to see.

Using just a few materials, this is a great activity for at home or within the classroom.

Bubble Wrap Stamp Materials: 

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Wooden Blocks – US Link / UK Link 
Bubble Wrap  – US Link  /  UK Link
Elastic Bands
Paper
Paint

Arty Crafty Kids - Art - Bubble Wrap Stamps

Using a range of different wooden shapes, wrap them in bubble wrap and secure with an elastic band.

Arty Crafty Kids - Art - Bubble Wrap Stamps

Present your arty kids with paint, the bubble wrap stamps and paper, and take a big step back!

Arty Crafty Kids - Art - Bubble Wrap Stamps

Bubble wrap is an incredibly tactile material to use and as you can see, Cakes loved to hold and touch the bubbles. She was intrigued by their texture and the prints they made, with each looking and feeling  slightly different depending on the amount of force she applied.

Arty Crafty Kids - Art - Bubble Wrap Stamps

For toddlers who are wanting to ‘do stuff’, bubble wrap stamps couldn’t be more perfect for their stage of development. It’s also great if you have multiple children of various ages. My five year old recently used this technique to create home made wrapping paper and then scales on her crocodile painting!

I hope your children enjoy exploring bubble wrap as much as Cakes!

We love process art and have many simple and fun art ideas to try!

Arty Crafty Kids - Art - Bubble Wrap Stamps

Scrape Painting

Arty Crafty Kids - Art - Scrape Painting

Scrape painting is a super art process for colour mixing! using just red, yellow and blue paint the kids created bold and colourful works of art with an amazing range of new colours.

They played with shapes and tried quick scrapes, slow scrapes, light and hard, adding depth and texture to their paintings.  Ultimately, they had a blast scrape painting and revelled in the chance to swap the paint brushes for something new – scrap cardboard!

To recreate this activity at home, all you need is paint, cardboard ( an old cereal box) and plain white paper!

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Craftsy

Arty Crafty Kids - Art - Scrape Painting

To get started, cut up lots of cardboard and simply add small amount of paint directly onto the paper.

Take a piece precut cardboard and drag it across the paper to push the paint in any direction.

Arty Crafty Kids - Art - Scrape Painting

Do the same again with a different colour and try scraping it over the previous colour to blend the paint.

Craftsy

Arty Crafty Kids - Art - Scrape Painting

Add more and more colours, criss crossing and swirling to bring the scrape painting to life and make lots of wonderful colours and shapes!

Scrape painting is a simple art process with lots of educational scope that allows kids to freely explore and play.

I hope your children have fun creating their own colourful works of art!

Arty Crafty Kids - Art - Scrape Painting


Seashell Sensory Shaker

Arty Crafty Kids - Play - Seashell Sensory Shaker

Give the Seashell Sensory Shaker a ‘shake shake shake’ and watch the shells and bubbles dance. Shake it some more and it becomes a musical instrument.

A wonderful toy and discovery bottle that excites and entrances kids. My girls LOVED it!

As well as all the fun stuff, the intrigue and the noise element, sensory bottles are a great tool for young children to use as an outlet to the big emotions. Whenever my eldest feels a little cross, giving her sensory bottle a shake and watching the bubbles, achieves a sense of calm and gives her time to consider about her feelings.

However your child uses their sensory bottle, with just a few materials, it couldn’t be easier to make.

Seashell Sensory Shaker Materials:

A clear bottle – I recycled a shampoo bottle
Shells
Baby Oil
Water
Food Colouring
PVA Glue

Arty Crafty Kids - Play - Seashell Sensory Shaker

Seashell Sensory Shaker How-to: 

Step 1. Fill 1/3 of the clear plastic bottle with baby oil.

Step 2. Add a few drops of food colouring.

Step 3. Add the shells.

Step 4. Add another 1/3 of cool water.

Step 5. Place a small amount of glue into the lid and seal.

Step 6. Leave the glue to dry before using.

Once the glue is dry, hand over to your kiddies and give the Seashell Sensory Shaker a good ‘Shake Shake Shake’ – why not see for yourself how much toddler Cakes enjoyed it on instagram!

The concept for our sensory bottle comes from Happy Hooligans Ocean in a Bottle. With living by the sea, the beach is a big part of our lives and I loved the idea of incorporating the colours; recreating the motion of rolling shells that naturally tumble across the seabed with the waves and  an auditory element to complete our Seashell Sensory Shaker.

I hope you’ve enjoyed making your own shakers and watching the kids play.

For more creative ideas be sure to follow Arty Crafty Kids on Facebook!

Arty Crafty Kids - Play - Seashell Sensory Shaker