From the first month to the twelfth, these are all the places to have fun with your little bundle of joy
Your baby’s first year will be a whirlwind of dirty diapers, meeting milestones, and flashing charming, toothless smiles that’ll melt your heart. Amid all that, it’s hard to know when they’re ready for new experiences, like swim classes or their first airplane trip. That’s where we come in. If you’re trying to figure out how to balance what baby can do with places to have fun (we know you’re ready to get out there), simply pull up this list. It matches fun baby activities with the right age to introduce each.
Places to Have Fun: 0-3 months
Go on a Walk
Strolls around the block, through a nearby park, or in your favorite neighborhood are great at any age for you and your baby. It’s a chance to get out of the house, breathe some fresh air, and maybe even run into a friend or two. Speaking of, this is one of those baby activities that’s best with another parent. That way you can gab and share and get that support that all new parents need.
Take a Baby and Me Yoga Class
If your two-month-old naps easily in a car seat or stroller, you might be ready for a baby and me yoga class, where you can get some exercise and meet some other new parents, too. Some classes are also designed to include babies in the movements. Just make sure your little one is ready to participate before making the switch.
Meet Up with Family
Whether you head out to a coffee shop to meet up with grandparents, or you bring a picnic to a nearby park to meet up with baby’s uncle, those first few months are a great time for family (near and far) to meet your newest addition. The best part? These folks are going to want to hold your baby, and unlike most who ask, we’re pretty sure you’ll let them.
Join a Parent Workout Class
Finding the time to work out in those first few months can be challenging. But if you can bring baby along with you, you’ve at least got a fighting chance. National programs like FIT4MOM include babies in the workout, so you can get out, get exercise, and meet other new parents.
Good to Know: The American College of Obstetrics & Gynecologists (ACOG) gives the green light to working out a few days after giving birth if you had an easy vaginal delivery. But it’s best to consult with your OB-GYN before starting back into a workout routine.
Places to Have Fun: 3-6 Months
Visit Your Local Zoo or Aquarium
A trip to the zoo offers loads of new sights and sounds for a stroller-bound five- or six-month-old. A petting zoo can be a great sensory experience and a chance to practice farm animal sounds. If there’s not a zoo nearby, you can get some animal time by heading to a local dog park to watch the puppies play.
Related: The Very Best Zoos in the U.S.
Most libraries and lots of independent bookstores across the country offer free storytime sessions for babies and toddlers. Many even have special times for the youngest babes. Starting around four months old, your child will love snuggling with you to enjoy rhymes, songs, and super-short stories.
Go for a Hike or a Run
Simple walks are good for those first few months. But when your wee one is a bit more stable around three to four months, you can head out for longer, bumpier treks into the great outdoors. At that age, babies can ride in a solid, structured back carrier, which makes your adorable load easier to carry on extended treks.
Places to Have Fun: 6-9 Months
Explore the Beach
Around this time, babies are learning to crawl. If you’re lucky to time this developmental stage with summertime, we couldn’t think of a better place to explore than a nearby beach. Sand works surprisingly well as a surface to learn to crawl. And babies this age love the sensation of sand running through their fingers and squishing under their toes.
Swing at the Park
You’ve been waiting to take your baby to the playground forever, and now is the time. The baby swings at your local playground are perfect for little ones who can sit up on their own and control their head. Try out a swing at six months to see if your baby enjoys it, and expect them to love it by eight or nine months. To make the seat more comfortable for them, tuck a blanket in front of, or behind, your baby to fill out the bucket swing.
Sign Up for a Music Class
Although baby may be too little for an at-home dance party, that doesn’t mean you can’t make music a part of baby’s life. Around seven months, when kids can sit up and bang a rattle, parent and me music class starts to be extra fun for little ones and their grown-ups. Hint: they’re even more fun when you bring a friend.
Visit a Local Children’s Museum
Most children’s museums have set up awesome, interactive centers specifically for babies and toddlers under three. They’re equipped with soft pillows to scramble across and big blocks to stack. Try this when your crawler needs a safe, fun place to explore, starting right around eight months of age.
Places to Have Fun: 9-12 Months
Try a Swim Class
The American Academy of Pediatrics says kids as young as age one may be ready to start swim lessons—and research suggests that swim lessons for kids under age four reduces the risk of drowning. If you have a water baby on your hands, your child might enjoy splashing around in a parent and me swim class starting around this age.
Take a Baby Gym Class
Active crawlers, usually between eight to ten months, will get a kick out of a gym class. They can scramble over pyramids of pillows and giggle underneath a parachute, all in a super-cushioned play area. All that activity tires kids out, which usually translates into good, long naps.
Get a New Set of Wheels
At age one, your not-so-tiny-anymore baby should be ready to try a ride-on toy. From trikes to toddler-sized fire trucks, anything with wheels and foot-to-floor action is a hit with toddlers. Hint: it makes a great first-birthday present.