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It is normal for parents to wonder about the best activities for a 3-month-old baby. This is a lovely stage of your child’s development: they are staying awake for longer periods of time during the day, they’ve started smiling and cooing, and you’ve also gotten more accustomed to them.
The good news is that there are lots of awesome activities for a 3-month-old baby. Better still, certain activities can help them develop skills such as their fine motor skills and their visual perception skills.
In this article, we’ll focus on:
- Activities to do with a 3-month-old to develop their fine motor and gross motor skills
- Activities for 3-month-old babies to develop their visual skills
- Activities for a 3-month-old baby to strengthen your parent-child bond
Activities for 3 month old babies: Your baby’s typical behavior at 3 months
At three months, your child has already developed a few skills. Most babies at this age begin to follow moving objects with their eyes, turn when they hear a familiar voice, reach for objects, and react when someone enters or leaves a room.
At this age, your baby can:
- Grasp objects or toys.
- Lift their heads when lying on their tummies.
- Control their hands or even move them deliberately.
- Open and close their hands.
- Control their heads.
- Stretch and kick their legs during tummy time.
- Smile when they hear the voice of their attachment figures (dad, mom, nanny).
- Express themselves more often by making sounds. According to the researcher Linda Polka and her colleagues, your 3-month-old baby already understands that cooing enables them to communicate with their attachment figures.
- Push on their feet if they are on a flat surface.
- Imitate certain expressions.
- Recognize several faces or objects from a distance.
- Try to grab objects suspended above them.
3-month old babies love company, and they love playing. It is around this age that they begin to imitate certain movements and to express themselves. For example, they can start crying when an activity they like ends.
At three months, your baby can do much more than they could during the first two months of their lives. It is an appropriate moment to introduce varied activities to help them develop their skills even further. Here are 33 activities to do with 3 month old babies.
Activities for a 3-month-old baby to develop visual skills
While babies’ vision is not fully developed at birth, by three months they can see and focus better. They prefer looking at human faces at first, but then they rapidly begin to distinguish black, white, and colorful images.
They even begin to recognize the objects that they see most frequently in their environment.
Visual stimulation activities are therefore great 3-month old activities for your baby. Here are several activities both you and your baby will enjoy:
1) Show your baby books that will develop their visual discrimination: When choosing your baby’s books, privilege those that are colorful or in black and white. High-contrast books are particularly effective in your child’s visual development.
At this age, the simplest books are the best: books with one image per page set against a contrasting background, books without words, etc. Here are four baby books that your child will enjoy: Sassy Peek-a-Boo Activity Book; A black-and-white buggy book; Baby Touch: Faces: a black-and white-book and Baby Touch Tummy Time.
Book subscription boxes such as The Reading Bug also selects appropriate books depending on your child’s age and sends them to your doorstep.
2) Use a hand puppet to grab your baby’s attention and encourage them to follow the puppet’s movements with their eyes.
Activities for a 3-month-old baby to develop their communication and language skills
3) Read to your 3 month old baby: Science says that when it comes to reading to newborns, the earlier the better. Books are perfect 3-month old activities for babies. Reading to them not only strengthens the parent-child bond; it is also a soothing experience and one which increases the chances that you carry on with this habit as your child grows older.
Several studies have found that the earlier you read to your child, the easier it will be for their language development. This is because the more often your child hears new and different words, the more they learn.
But at three months, your baby will not understand what you are reading. What this means is that although they will enjoy themselves, they will be more interested in the experience than in the story.
What really counts at this age is your voice and your presence.
The good news is that at this stage, reading anything aloud – even your favorite book or magazine – will be beneficial to their wellbeing.
From about month four, your baby will begin to look forward to your routine and to express excitement when its reading time.
4) Simply talk or sing. Your baby will love listening to a voice they are already familiar with so let them hear your voice as often as possible.
5) Play music and let your child listen. Rhymes and catchy songs are particularly good 3-month old activities for your baby’s development.
6) By 3 months, many babies are already communicating by cooing and gurgling. Respond to their cooing sound by cooing back to them. Repeating the sounds your baby makes and waiting for them to respond offers them an important lesson about communication: showing interest when someone is talking, waiting for one’s turn to communicate, pacing, etc.
7) Talk to your baby as often as possible. You can explain to them what you are doing (“I’m going to change your diaper”.) or even talk about their daily activities (“It’s time for your nap”).
8) Naming familiar objects is a simple and effective activity for a 3-month old baby. It will help them familiarize themselves with the objects named. For instance, you can call their bottle by its name each time you feed them.
9) Touch different parts of your baby’s body and name each part aloud.
10) Make facial expressions and watch as your baby tries to imitate them.
Activities to bond with your 3-month old baby
11) Babies loving physical contact at three months because it is one of the ways that makes them feel safe. Hug your child as often as possible and caress them to make them feel loved.
12) Reading simple stories or making up stories are great 3-month old activities that also help you bond.
13) Rocking in a rocking chair as you hold your baby will help strengthen your parent-child bond.
14) Listen to music and clap your baby’s hands together to the beat.
Activities to stimulate your baby’s senses
15) Take your baby for walks and let them familiarize themselves with the sounds in their environment (the rustling of leaves, birds’ singing, the sounds of animals like cats and dogs, etc.)
16) Take their hands and place them on different parts of their body to teach them about their body.
17) Caressing your baby with objects with different textures is a great 3-month old activity that can help to familiarize them with different sensations.
18) Make different sounds from where your baby can’t see you to encourage them to turn around to look for the sound.
19) Blow on their belly to help them discover the sensation.
20) Grab a baby safe mirror and let your child get to know themselves during tummy time!
21) Bath time provides the perfect opportunity to stimulate your child’s senses – the water, the gentle touch, the massage, the lotion.
22) Massages are activities your 3-month-old baby will enjoy.
Activities for a 3 month old to develop their fine motor skills
By three months, your baby has developed a few fine motor skills. For example, they can grasp objects in their hands. Here a few things you can do strengthen these skills:
23) Lay your baby on their back and give them an object to grasp in their hands.
24) Place objects within their reach to encourage them to reach out for them and hold them
25) Ensure your baby gets lots of tummy time with different props – books, toys, mirrors, etc. Tummy time is an essential 3-month old activity.
26) Hold out toys for your 3-month-old to reach.
Activities for 3-month-old babies to strengthen their gross motor skills
Gross motor skills enable your child to use their largest muscle groups (legs, buttocks, back and chest). Simple things you can do to help your child strengthen their gross motor skills at three months include:
27) Give your baby a soft form playmat that they can use for tummy time. Choose one that is non-toxic and has no BPA, PVC, Lead and Phthalates, like this one.
28) Moving your baby’s body parts can help them work their muscles and help them stretch. For example, you can stretch or massage their legs.
29) Place your baby on their tummy and lie down opposite them then try to attract their attention to encourage them to lift their head. You can either call their name repeatedly or make sounds with different objects.
30) Set up various objects above your baby to encourage them to practice kicking.
31) Put your baby on their soft form playmat in as many different positions as possible – on their tummies, on their sides while supported with a rolled-up blanket, on their backs, etc. This will not only help them to see their environment from a different angle, but it will also help them to work on their movement.
32) Move your baby’s legs in a cycling motion.
33) Place your baby on their back then talk to them while alternating your position. This will encourage them to work their neck muscles.
Activities for a 3-month-old baby: what toys should you privilege?
At three months, your baby is developing many important skills. They are just beginning to grasp things in their hands, explore different textures, and discover different sounds and colors. Activities your 3-month-old baby will enjoy at this stage include manipulating toys that make a sound when they press on a button, or toys that they can shake.
Interactive toys that stimulate their senses are therefore great options at this age. Your baby will appreciate colorful toys and those with different textures. Varying their toys will ensure that they get different types of stimulation.
Here are a few options of good toys for a 3-month old baby:
1) A contrast play mat: A play mat that stimulates different senses is a great option for 3-month old babies. This one will help stimulate your baby’s sight, hearing and touch.
2) A play gym. Both you and your baby will enjoy a play gym. What’s more, a good one will help your baby develop their motor skills and so much more!
This play gym, which has been specially designed by child development experts and crafted with safe materials for babies from age zero, is guaranteed to give your baby a whole year of play.
3) Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Musical Toy: Your baby can easily grasp this toy in their hands. They will enjoy listening to the different songs.
4) Baby Einstein Glow & Discover Light Bar Activity Station: with its rainbow colored lights, this toys will grab and keep your baby’s attention. They can push buttons, spin it and listen to different sounds. This is a great toy to accompany your baby’s tummy time.
5) Manhattan Toy Wimmer-Ferguson Learning Cube: Your baby will love this high-contrast cube with its bright patterns. The many different textures will stimulate several of your baby’s senses.
6) Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle & Sensory Teether Toy: Your baby will enjoy holding and chewing on this teether toy. It is also colorful – and it rattles!
7) Melissa & Doug Flip Fish Toy: This colorful toy has different textures that will help stimulate your baby’s different senses. It is also easy for them to manipulate.
Activities for 3 month baby: safety measures to consider
At three months, your baby starts moving more often and some babies even begin rolling from back to front. It is therefore important to ensure that their environment is safe.
Also, your 3 month baby discovers a lot about the world around them by putting objects in their mouth. It is therefore important to eliminate all choking risks from their environment.
This also means choosing toys without such risks by:
– Avoiding toys or activities that involve small objects that your baby can swallow.
– Verifying any new toys or objects to ensure that they are solid and have no loose small parts.
– Ensuring that used toys are solid and have no removable parts.
– Ensuring that the toys you buy your baby are age-appropriate.
– Ensuring that your baby cannot hurt themselves (cut themselves, get their fingers stuck, etc.) with their toys
– Choosing only those toys that use non-toxic materials, especially because your baby is at an age where they “taste” everything.
– Privileging quality over quantity
– Privileging embroidered accessories (eyes, nose, mouth) to limit choking risks
– Avoiding form toys because they present a choking risk for 3-month old babies.
Last thoughts on activities to do with your 3 month old
3 months is a lovely age, but it is also a period during which many babies require to be soothed because of their need to feel secure. Different babies will respond to different activities – hugs, rocking, walks, listening to music, watching leaves, and so on.
If your baby is fussy, try different activities to see which one they will respond to best. The good news is that they will fuss less as they get older.
I bet you already do many of the things on this list naturally, and much more. Tell us the activities your 3 month old appreciates most in the comments section below!
References and further reading
“Movement Milestones: Birth to 3 Months.”
Physical Activity in Early Childhood: Setting the Stage for Lifelong Healthy Habits
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