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I have rounded up some fall-themed infant activities. It can be hard to get crafty with the littlest ones, but this list will allow some seasonal exploration. Only do what you know your infant can handle with your supervision. Next to each one I noted what ages I think are ready to explore that activity. This list covers infants from birth on up! Many of these ideas can be used as toddler activities as well. Multi-functional is good for us stay-at-home-moms! Check out these ideas…
Contrast Card Pumpkin Faces
(birth and up)
Contrast cards are a great visual exercise for young infants. I posted a few ideas for making your own on the Infant Activities page, but why not make some with a pumpkin theme for Autumn? Here are a few bold shape contrast cards that you can download for free. Just print them out, cut them out and laminate or cover with clear contact paper and you are set!Watch your infant focus on the images and talk to them about what they see. You can introduce the words: pumpkin, stem, and the names of the shapes in each picture. It is never too early to talk to your child and introduce new vocabulary. Of course an infant will not be repeating the words, but you are still building connections in their brain! Each card has a primary shape to help expand on this activity and make printing it out more worth your time since they can be used later on as a toddler activity as well. (How about making them into a simple book for toddlers?)
Nature Walk and Sensory Exploration
(4 months and up)
Fall is a great time of year to walk around your neighborhood, state park, or local trail to look at all the colors! Just because your child is an infant does not mean they can not take in some of the sensory experiences that surround them outdoors. Place your child in the stroller
, and let them handle acorns, leaves, or sticks-with your supervision. Look for animals, trees that stay green, and be sure to talk to your child to name the items they point to or see.
Turn this into a sensory bin experience like this one Play Learn Love
shared at B-Inspired Mama.
Real Fall Produce Sensory Bin
(4 to 6 months and up)
Even infants can explore the fruits of Fall. Find some bumpy gourds, pieces of hay, Indian corn, or apples, and let the little ones feel the different textures. I store the items in a basket or bin for a few weeks during the Fall season so they are easy to grab and play with over and over again.
My daughter was enthralled with a bumpy gourd we picked up at our favorite orchard/farm market when she was 7 months old. I let her sit in the grass and touch the gourd. Yes, she put the stem in her mouth…and survived. Supervision is key! It was a great sensory experience for an infant.
Name the colors and textures to encourage verbal interaction while your infant touches, looks and maybe even tries to taste. It is a good idea to wash any produce first-even if it is not typically eaten-when you give it to your mouthing infant.
(6 months and up)
Older children get to taste different apples in school, so why not make a baby food version so that the infants can try too? I talked about my simple methods for making baby food
. You will not believe how simple it is to let your infant (who has started eating baby food) do an apple tasting:
1.) I bought 3 different varieties of apples, washed them, and wrapped each in a piece of tin foil.
2.) I placed the wrapped apples into a baking dish and baked them in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes. Check the apples by pressing them carefully after 30 minutes and just keep baking until they feel soft and a bit squishy in the foil.
3.) Remove the apples from the oven and let them cool. Peel back the foil one at a time and carefully pull off the apple skin. I used a spoon to help me scrape off the apple flesh from the core and placed it into a bowl. You can strain the apple mash (through a metal sieve) to be certain all the seeds and core are removed.
4.) Place a little of each type of apple sauce onto a plate and feed a little of each to your child. Watch their reaction to notice if they prefer one over the others. (Of course be safe and careful when introducing new foods to your infant. If you have not already introduced apples, then start with one variety one week and the next another if you are concerned about any food allergies.)
Pumpkin Guts Sensory
(6 to 9 months and up)
Cut open a pumpkin and let your infant see what is inside. Place the opened pumpkin in a dishpan or baking dish so your child can get their hands into it. Children love playing with pumpkin guts! Be careful with little ones who are still mouthing everything, but they can touch too. My infants never were able to pull seeds out of the pumpkin. They just felt the texture of the insides.
If you prefer a clean exploration, scoop out some of the pumpkin guts and place them in a zip top bag. Seal the bag and your infant can press and touch the bag to move the orange guts around without any risk of mouthing it.
This is a sensory activity for infants, a fine motor exercise (using those fingers to pull at the guts and seeds), and a science exploration. This is a great diversion to keep infants (and toddlers) occupied while the adults take care of the carving if you do this around Halloween.
Pumpkin Outline Finger Painting
(5 or 6 months and up)
Previously, I shared some of my tips for painting with infants
. For this pumpkin finger painting activity for infants, I drew a simple outline of a pumpkin on a piece of construction paper. Provide your infant with paint by dabbing a little of the paint onto the paper. You may have to place your child’s hand into the paint to get them started.
I talk about the texture of the paint: smooth, cool, slippery. Talk about the shape of the pumpkin: “You are painting a pumpkin shape. It is round and has a stem.” You could provide only one color or offer a couple so that some color mixing can occur. A simple, fun sensory and art activity for infants
Flashlight Fun Visual Sensory
(4 to 6 months and up)
One more activity that I did not create myself but found on the website What to Expect. It involves a great visual sensory experience. Since the days get shorter providing us with darkness earlier, this would be an easy activity to work in before your infant’s bedtime. Not a bad way to ease their nerves about being in the dark either! To view it click here.
When I was searching for infant activities
online I was not happy with what I found. Most activities focus on toddlers and older children, but we do not want to forget about how much we can do with our infants. I hope this list will help stay-at-home-moms and all moms engage their youngest children in some Autumn exploration.
More posts about infants:
Crash Course in Child Development: Infants
Patterns for Infants, Toddlers, Preschoolers and Up
Looking for some direction for your quality time with baby?
This post is linked up here: http://intentionalhomeschool.com/teaching-tuesdays-a-weekly-linkup-for-parenting-kids-teaching-and-lessons-learned/