I plonk into the chair and my hairdresser wraps a black sheet around me. We do our usual catch up on what has happened in the months (or year?!) since I last saw her. Then she asks, “What should I get for my friend who’s just had their third baby? She already has a boy and a girl and she just had another boy. What would be a good gift to bring when I go and visit her?”. I’m stumped. “You’ve had four kids. I thought you would know,” she continues. Again, I sit there… stumped.

Yes, I have just had four kids within the last five years. Yes, I should know some really great gifts to give people who have just had babies.

I’m in the middle of de-cluttering my home. I’ve thrown out or given away masses of baby clothes and toys. I have learnt that there is a season for everything. I have observed that some things get used for a brief time, while others get used time and again.

With baby toys, ball games are very popular and get used time and again. (Ball games are also great for toddlers, preschoolers and beyond; but I’m just going to write about baby toy ball games because we have a very cool baby toy giveaway to announce very soon!)

Here are our favourite eight ball games for babies.

From birth onwards

  • {ONE} Gym ball balance. Carefully rocking and rolling a baby on a gym ball stimulates their vestibular system, which allows them to perceive their body’s movement and degree of balance. Place the baby on his/her tummy on top of the ball and turn their heads to one side. Then, while holding him/her securely, rock them forwards and backwards and side to side. (My toddler and preschoolers still love this game).

From 3 months onwards

  • {TWO} Reaching for the ball. This is a great ball game for babies during tummy time. Place a colourful ball (or several of them) in front of the baby and encourage them to reach for the ball/s.
  • {THREE} Gentle ball massage. Using a soft ball, gently roll it across baby’s tummy and up and down baby’s arms and legs. During tummy time, you can also roll the ball down baby’s back. Gentle massage develops a child’s sense of touch, which is incredibly important not only for developing tactile sensitivity, motor skills and understanding the physical world but also for their overall health and emotional well-being.
  • {FOUR} Hanging ball to punch or kick. Many baby play gyms have a hanging ball and once babies discover that they have hands and feet, they love to swipe and kick at the hanging ball.

From 6 months onwards

  • {FIVE} Rolling a ball. Once my kids were crawling, you could hear the random ball rolling away and little baby knees and hands scurrying after the ball. I’m a huge fan of free play but you could also join in the fun and roll the ball to your baby, either just out of reach so they can scurry after it, or directly to them so they have the pleasure of stopping the ball. (Once they are toddlers and preschoolers, they’ll delight in rolling the ball back to you!)

From 9 months onwards

  • {SIX} Baby kick ball. This ball game is particularly fun for babies with older siblings. Using a soft medium sized ball, enjoy kicking the ball around or to each other. Picking baby up under their arms, swing their legs at the ball to kick it.
  • {SEVEN} Popcorn. Here’s another game for babies with older siblings. You will need a small blanket and small colourful balls. To make the balls pop, stretch out the blanket by holding the ends of the blanket; place the balls on top of the blanket and wave / shake the blanket around. Start slowly and build up rate of popping madness. (In my household, giggles are guaranteed).
  • {EIGHT} Ball drop. If  your little bubba loves exploring the kitchen (like our Miss K does), this simple ball game will keep them happy while you need to get meals ready or cleared, (of course, with baby proofing and safety measures all in place). Give baby a big metal mixing bowl and some small balls and let them enjoy simply dropping the balls into the bowl, (and taking it out again so they can do it all over again and again and again).

More Activities for Babies and Toddlers

Zero to Two: The Book of Play is full of fun activities for babies and toddlers. There are 25 ideas for babies and toddlers, with additional links to over 50+ activities. A great resource for parents. Download your copy here.

Games for Kids Zero to Two Book fo Play via Lessons Learnt Journal 2

K: 1 year
December 2012

Lessons Learnt Journal

About the author

Pauline Pauline & Lessons Learnt Journal is all about life with kids. Pauline is an Aussie mum and teacher who shares her love for play, math games, writing and reading activities. She believes that #playmatters, values curiosity & wonder, wisdom, obedience and respect. She also needs naps. When not blogging, she may be found virtually hoarding on Pinterest, trying to decide which Instagram filter to apply, or compulsively refreshing her Facebook feed.

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