What to do in London for babies
Most people would think that looking after a baby/infant is easy. They sleep a lot, need to be cuddled, fed and nappy changed. However, babies need to be entertained too! And they make it pretty clear when they’ve had enough. They are in full development mode, learning every day, getting curious. They need to be stimulated, to be helped discovering this huge world. But how to do that?
Talking and making sounds with your newborn will benefit them.
The sounds are different from what they could hear from within the womb, so they are quite intrigued. It’s a great way to spend quality time with your baby and start building a bond.
Singing to your baby will help regulate his/her arousal level
It’s a sense of awareness and attention. If you play an instrument, do so as much as you can as it is amazing for babies’ cognitive development. You can also use different objects around the house to make different sounds. Even the slightest sounds can cause a baby to turn around or behave in a different manner, causing him to respond to it as well.
We are lucky to have a lot of baby/parents classes in London. Monkey music, Mini Mozart, Bach to baby offer music classes for infants (and older ones as well), in Primrose Hill, Notting Hill, Hampstead, Chelsea and so many other locations. Some of them such as Mini mozart also use real instruments (piano, flute,…) during the class.
Making faces or using masks
It will bring you both you and your baby lots of laughs. Babies around 3 month old have a good idea about facial expressions and the people they are getting used to. This is precisely why babies seem to laugh and enjoy something that seems strange and weird because it is quite funny for them.
Make funny sounds and weird faces, watch your baby’s reaction as he/she can smile/laugh and may try to copy. A box of wafers can turn into a small toy that he can shake around and listen to the sound or scrunch up paper. You can also bring your baby to different messy art classes in central London. Lot’s of fun guaranteed!
Most of the time, your baby’s entertainment will stem from your interactions with him/her. While your little one may not be able to understand your conversations or when you tell him/her about the things happening or the stories you read, he/she is definitely listening to them intently and picking up on repetitive patterns.
Try to procure books that have pictures and colourful imagery that your baby can look at. Sit your baby on your lap, and read out the stories or just make up your own. Your baby will be transfixed completely. You can also use finger puppets. Libraries throughout London offer “story time” sessions.
This is a great way to get a break from reading the same book over and over again! You can borrow books there too and meet new people.
Sometimes, they just need a change of scenery.
Walking around, showing different objects around the house will help grow their curiosity. And if you do it outside, they will also be stimulated by all the different smells there are. Babies are usually amazed by the other lights and shadows passing by.
We are lucky to be surrounded by quite a few beautiful parks. Regent’s park is my favourite and perfect for a stroll around. Hampstead Heath and Hyde Park are great too. At Christmas time, when all the lights are on in different neighbourhoods and markets emerge, it is my favourite time to take a stroll with an infant; you get to see the curiosity and magic in their eyes!
And also, it usually smells nice. You can find some in Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, and many more places.
You can level up the baby gym by attaching (loosely) balloons to your infant’s feet.
They will kick and jiggle and take immense joy from being in control of their source of entertainment. You have lots of baby gym classes in London. However, if you live in North London, we highly recommend the ones in Kentish Town at Talacre Center. Just amazing!
we all know how much it is encouraged and important for muscle growth and tonicity but not all little ones like it. By lying on the floor and facing them yourself (while talking or singing), your little one will appreciate more and more this time.
You can also place a book or toys in front of them. In each different neighbourhood, you will have one or more community centres. They run playgroups, with some specifically for young infants.
When searching “playgroups” on your council website, you will find the list of the ones close to you. They are usually free and suitable for both baby and mum/dad.
Have some sensory play
Give your infant different objects to feel: soft toys, rattles or cloth books with pages of different textures are lots of fun for your newborn. Feeling other things helps your newborn learn about the world. You can take a few old objects out of the cupboard, plastic containers from the shelves, and arrange them all around your little one.
As you start creating towers from them or putting one object inside the other, your baby’s brain will kick into action, and he will use those objects in every way possible. You can create a treasure basket with balled-up socks, whisks, pine cones and let your baby explore it. Ziplock painting is also a great activity, simply place some paint in a ziplock bag and seal it.
Your baby will be able to experience a different feeling, and it’s mess-free! Sensory bottles, place some pompons, flowers, sand or something other in an empty see-through bottle, seal it, and let your little one shake it and observe the movements.Classes like Hartbeeps will offer sensory play along with music.
And for older infants, messy play classes such as Messy Monkeys are an excellent opportunity for little ones to explore and discover different sensations.
When everything else fails, going for ‘hide and seek’ is a tried and tested option.
The act of seeing something or someone disappearing, only to reappear suddenly, is quite exciting for babies. Try this with your baby. You hide for a minute and then appear in front of them or hide a toy. Your baby will have a fun time.