MANILA, Philippines – Playtime is not just for bonding with your baby – it’s also good for your infant’s health.
Uninterrupted playtime can do wonders for a baby’s overall well being. The fresh air strengthens lungs, while crawling and stretching help to develop muscle strength, flexibility and coordination. On top of that, outdoor activities help babies learn to socialize, and use all their senses.
But what about baby’s safety and comfort, parents may ask. What if he or she trips, falls, and gets a bump?
Your baby’s welfare is important and should always be the priority. The good thing is that while some boo-boo’s and small accidents are inevitable with a baby that is still getting the hang of coordinated movement and motor skills, you can take precautions to keep these incidents at bay.
Comfy babies, happy parents
Indoors, baby-proof your home by making use of edge or corner guards on furniture. Keep home accents such as vases and picture frames away from baby’s reach, and make sure that rugs are slip or skid proof.
For outdoor adventures, being prepared will significantly lessen your anxiety. Keep your play dates worry-free with these reminders:
- Never let the child play unsupervised. Adults should be near enough to attend to the child when needed.
- Don’t multitask while attending to or watching over a baby, such as using your mobile phone or your laptop.
- Pack a diaper bag with the essentials, such as spare clothes, wet wipes, diapers, water and a towel.
- If baby can already stand upright, opt for diaper pants. You won’t be as dependent on changing stations if you’re out, and other care providers, like grandparents, will appreciate a diaper that’s easy to put on baby and change.
- Dress baby in comfortable active wear.
- Limit baby’s exposure to the sun to not more than 30 minutes.
With these in mind, the entire family can look forward to revel in some good old playtime, indoors or outdoors. Here are some of our suggestions:
1. Make time for tummy time
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend several sessions of tummy time everyday – it helps to develop your baby’s neck and upper-body muscles, and also keeps the back of his or her head from being flat. At home, place baby on a flat, firm surface such as a rubber play mat on a cleared out floor. If you have a garden or garage, lay out a tarpaulin and layer a soft blanket over it for baby to play on. Placing toys within a baby’s line of sight also encourages stretching and crawling.
2. Try Kid’s Yoga
(2 years old and up)
Even if you’re not a practitioner, yoga’s principles can teach your young ones how to focus, breathe better, and be aware of the capabilities of their bodies. At the very least, they also get a good, fun stretch. Dress your little one in cotton leggings and an airy shirt. Kids Yoga Philippines and Kids One Yoga offer regular classes in various venues.
3. Teach them act-along, sing-along games
(6 months and up)
When babies reach their 6th or 7th month, they become more interactive and love to mimic what big adults are doing. Act-along playtime can be a good opportunity to simulate speech. Teach your baby popular nursery rhymes with actions, such as “If You’re Happy and You Know it” to encourage them to develop their multitasking abilities and motor skills. If you’re stumped on what to teach them, there’s always Youtube to learn updated songs from!
4. Dine and play
(6 months and up)
There are many restaurants around the city that have baby-friendly areas. Stacy’s Diner in Capitol Hills, for example, is popular with new mommies and daddies not just because of its party-friendly vibe, but also because it has a permanent “fenced” area where toddlers and babies can safely sit and play in. Meanwhile, grown-ups and older kids can also enjoy the yummy and affordable menu consisting of American and Filipino fare, starting at P150 (about $3).
5. Frolic at Terra 28th
(6 months and up)
This free interactive playground in Bonifacio High Street has a lot of colorful art installations that double as play areas for babies (with supervision). Since it’s an open park, early morning and late afternoon are the best times to be here. Bring along baby’s favorite toys for uninterrupted fun.
6. Toe painting!
(9 months and up)
As soon as babies learn to prop themselves up, it’s exciting to teach them to learn how to walk! Add a colorful twist to this milestone by dipping their cute toes in water-based paint, and having them take their first supported steps over paper. The finished product can be a throwback-worthy masterpiece later on.
7. Visit a pet cafe
(1 year old and up)
A responsible pet café is a wonderful way of introducing little ones to animals, especially if you’re not quite up to visiting the zoo yet. Miao Cat Cafe is one such venue that will allow your baby to meet and pet some furry felines. Miao’s pillows-and-wood facilities are kid-friendly, and there are other enjoyable activities that toddlers can try there as well. Worried about the fur? The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says that it’s OK for babies to meet kitties, as long as the cats are used to different humans, live indoors, and have proper diets (like Miao’s cats). If your child suffers from asthma, consult your pediatrician before visiting. The consumable fee (P300/$6 for adults and P150/$3 for kids) already gives you a meal and a drink, plus 2 hours’ playtime with the “lords” of the place.
8. Indoor kiddie bowling
(6 months and up)
This activity makes use of existing toys and other common household items around the house. You can also add water and food coloring or colored sand in empty mineral water bottles and use them as pins. The baby can use any ball as a bowling ball or play Godzilla and knock the toys down.
9. Nurture with nature
(6 months and up)
It’s never too early to expose your child to natural wonders: let them use their senses to enjoy green leaves, rough barks, and the scent of fresh flowers. Look for pocket parks and gardens where you and your baby can enjoy seeing and touching different plants and exploring sand, rocks, or even little creatures. You can also grow your own window garden at home. Just don’t forget your baby’s hat and mosquito repellent! Try the La Mesa Ecopark.
10. Play catch!
Yes, babies can get it! Gentle catch games excite babies and help improve their hand/eye coordination. Toss some colorful scarves in the air and watch your baby try to grab them. Non-toxic bubbles are just as captivating.
What are your favorite playtime activities with your baby? Share your tips with us and other parents! – Rappler.com
Let your baby enjoy the wonders of uninterrupted playtime, anytime, anywhere with Huggies Dry Pants. With its soft all-around garterized waistband, babies no longer need to be laid down uncomfortably as moms change their diapers. Diaper changing can now be a fun and playful experience - it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3: left foot in, right foot in and just pull up! At a surprisingly affordable price of only Php 8 per pad*, your baby can now experience utmost comfort during playtime with Huggies Dry Pants.
*Based on suggested retail prices of Medium 42’s
Portrait of a little Asian baby girl crawling on floor, Asia baby girl raise hand, parent holding newborn baby feet, beautiful happy little baby girl sitting on a green meadow with yellow flowers dandelions in the park, Asian baby girl looking up, Girl playing with soap bubbles, Isolated Asian girl playing with toys images from Shutterstock