Best newborn activities when they are awake

I'm sure you have heard most people say new born babies just sleep all the time. That's not true, they sleep a lot but are awake for short periods - and that's why it is crucial for us to make it count. A newborn baby sleeps between 14 and 17 hours in a 24 hour cycle. Some may even sleep up to 19 hours, waking up every 2 - 3 hours to feed. After a feed, the baby may stay awake for 30 to 45 minutes. 

5 meaningful ways to play with a newborn

  • 1. Crib Mobiles 

  • A black and white crib mobile is perfect to be introduced between 2 and 4 weeks and can be used up to 3 months. Choose one that sways gently with natural ventilation and stimulates vision and enhances tracking. It will help the baby learn to focus.

    Here are some points to remember

    - Crib mobiles are not to lull baby to sleep, but to be used when baby is awake and active

    - Refrain from shaking the mobile to get the baby's attention.

    - Place it at a height where the baby can comfortably look at it, 8 inches above the chest.

    - You can use it in the crib or play gym or simply hang it anywhere in your home.

    - It is recommended to switch mobiles every two weeks or when baby loses interest

    Timeline to introduce montessori mobiles Black and white mobile

    - 2 to 5 weeks Colorful Mobiles

    - 8 to 12 weeks Bell chime

    - 3 months +


    2. Visual Stimulation Cards

    Babies are born with the ability to see objects only 8 to 12 inches away from them. Their vision is blurred and they can only see black and white.

    High contrast images help babies focus and improve their eyesight! Does this mean that without these cards their vision won't develop? Not at all - our generation turned out okay without these cards. But turning out okay is not the same as doing what's best. We now have more knowledge and knowledge is power. Research shows that exposing babies to high contrast images increases their interaction with the environment. It stimulates the brain, builds focus and concentration, sparks imagination and develops visual sensory pathways.

    Now, if you have the time, you can easily make or print these cards at home or you can get them as part of the Curious Cub level 1 and 2 Montessori Boxes   Choose cards that are a good size to display pretty much anywhere. Do not flash the cards in front of children, but merely place them at a close distance. While changing diapers, during awake time, in the car seat or stroller, during a massage or even while feeding. These cards stand out in their blurry world and help them focus.

    3. Tummy time

    Most babies, as suggested by the American Academy of Pediatrics are ready for tummy time right after the umbilical cord stump falls off - however, check with your pediatrician to be sure your baby is ready! 

    Tips for providing your newborn with tummy time

    • Place your baby on their back. 
    • Then gently roll them to one side with their hands tucked in - under their shoulders. 
    • Mimic their position in the womb by moving their heads to one side. 
    • Place the high contrast cards about 8 inches away from their face. You can use the Black and white card holder in the level 1 Montessori Box from Curious Cub to stand the cards up. If your baby is fussy during tummy time you can place them on your lap.
    • Periodically turn your baby’s head to avoid flat spots. 
    • You may also use a mirror, high contrast objects or even books
    • Once your baby develops some head and neck control, you can move these objects in front of them encouraging them to lift their head and eventually their chest.

    4. Black and White Treasure basket

    Look around your house and put together a bunch of toys/ objects that are black and white. Like a panda, penguin and cow or any fabric you may have. Cloth books, rattles, play scarves are great to grab your baby’s attention. Having items ready in a basket makes it easy to engage with the baby when awake. It is also easy to move this basket along with the baby as required and anyone can access it easily. 

    5. Rattles 

    Rattles can help teach your infant many new skills. At first, the caregiver holds up the rattle, and the baby learns to focus on the rattle and its moving parts. At around 2 months, as you move the rattle from side to side, you will notice your baby slowly start to follow it, thus learning to track. Slowly, as the hold hand grip begins to develop, usually at 3 months, the child can hold the rattle themselves and will eventually bring it to their mouth.

    Mouthing is NOT a bad habit but a developmental milestone
    • . Please do not stop your baby from doing this.

    The Curious Cub level 1 Montessori Box has a black and white fabric rattle. This rattle not only promotes focus and concentration, but the material, size and weight are perfect for little hands to develop their hold hand grip.

    Once your baby’s grip improves use the wooden rattle in level 2 montessori box to encourage intentional hand movements. 

    Here are some things to remember when choosing a rattle

    - Light in weight

    - Small in size

    - Rounded edges

    - Natural material

    - Safe to mouth

    - Neutral colors

    - Soft sounds

    Did you know all the benefits of a simple rattle?

    - Visual stimulation

    - Tracking

    - Focus and concentration

    - Auditory stimulation

    - Whole hand grip

    - Teether

    - Soother

    Montessori Play Box As a new parent, it can be overwhelming to get everything ready before the baby arrives and even more difficult after the baby's arrival. We have a well put together level 1 Montessori Box  for newborns with a variety of high contrast provocations including a crib mobile, picture cards and stand, textured ball, rattles, crinkly mat and a guide telling you how to use it.

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