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Activities for 4 Month Old: Fun and Developmental Play Idea

I wish I had done a better job at engaging in these activities with my 4-month-old baby back when my littles were young. I feel like the newborn/ infant stage can be all about survival, but at this stage, babies are becoming more aware of their surroundings and are eager to explore the world with their growing senses. They start to grasp objects, respond to affection and different sounds, and are typically able to hold their head up with less support. This is such an pivotal age and it passes so quick. These activities foster important skills your little one will develop. If I could do it over, I would have done so much differently. 

A big part about these activities is not only to help your baby’s development, but to strengthen the bond between baby and caregiver. Simple games like peekaboo stimulate social and emotional growth, while soft, age-appropriate toys can encourage their visual tracking. Here are a handful of ideas I wish I would have paid attention to when my babies were…well…babies! 

activities for 4 month old

Physical Development Activities

In this section, I’ll share some essential activities to support the physical development of 4-month-olds.

Tummy Time Basics

Tummy time is a great activity to use to strengthen your baby’s neck, shoulders, and arm muscles. Aim for multiple short sessions throughout the day, gradually increasing the duration as your baby gets stronger. To make it more engaging, use brightly colored toys or a mirror at eye level to encourage my baby to lift their head.

Duration & Frequency:

  • Start with: 1-2 minutes
  • Aim for: Up to 15 minutes
  • Sessions per day: 3-5

My daughter usually found tummy time funny and would often root around in hopes to move out of that position!

tummy time

Grasping and Reaching Games

Encourage your little one to grasp and reach by using their favorite toy. Hold a toy above their head to motivate them to reach out and try to grab it. This not only develops their hand-eye coordination but also helps in strengthening their arm muscles. Soft toys that are easy to grip work best for these games.

Helpful Tips:

  • Toy distance: Just above reach
  • Toy type: Soft, easy to grip
  • Interaction: Gentle encouragement

Visual Tracking Practice

Your baby’s visual tracking skills get a boost when you slowly move objects across their field of vision. Use toys with contrasting colors, as they’re easier for your baby’s eyes to follow.  This is a new sensory experience to your baby so It’s important to move the toy slowly so that your baby can track the movement smoothly.

Technique for Success:

  • Speed: Slow and steady
  • Contrast: High with bold patterns
  • Distance: About 8-12 inches away from their face

Cognitive Development Activities

At four months old, your child is eager to see the world. Cognitive development activities are perfect for stimulating the brain and helping make sense of all the new information he/she is taking in.

Exploring Textures

Your baby learns a lot about the world through touch. Giving him/her various items with different textures helps the brain develop. Here are a few texture-rich items they might enjoy:

  • Soft blankets
  • Smooth plastic toys
  • Fuzzy stuffed animals
  • Rugged rubber toys

Simple Peekaboo

Peekaboo isn’t just a fun game; it’s also a great way for your baby to learn about object constancy—understanding that things still exist even when he/she can’t see them. Use a light blanket or your hands to cover your face and then reveal yourself with a smile. This simple activity helps me with:

  • Visual tracking
  • Memory development
  • Social development and interaction

Object Permanence Play

At 4 months, your baby is starting to understand that things don’t vanish into thin air. You can help him/her with this concept by playing object permanence games. Hide a toy under a blanket and let your baby find it. This will teach that:

  • Objects continue to exist, even when hidden
  • Predictable patterns exist in my environment

Remember to praise your baby when they find the hidden object; it helps your child’s development and builds confidence as well as cognitive skills!

4 month old activities

The video below is a great visual aid for most of the activities I’m talking about here. 

Social and Emotional Growth

During the first few months of life, we’ve found that a baby’s emotional and social skills are closely intertwined.

Facial Mimicry Games

Playing mimicry games is pretty easy and quite fun. Sit face-to-face with your baby and stick out your tongue or widen your eyes. It doesn’t take long to see a little one trying to imitate your expressions—a simple yet powerful bonding experience that teaches a baby about social interaction.

Emotion-Based Storytime

When you read stories with expressive faces and dramatic emotions, use different tones of voice to represent each character’s feelings. This not only makes story time more entertaining but also gives your baby clues about the nature of emotions and the ways they are expressed.

Cuddle and Comfort Routine

A consistent cuddle and comfort routine does wonders. Every day, spend time holding your baby close, swaying and humming softly. This provides a little one with a sense of security and trust, and it strengthens their emotional connection.

Language Development and Communication Skills

Next we will be focusing on fostering a baby’s language and communication skills early on. Here, I talk about engaging in talking and singing, incorporating music and rhythm, and even starting basic sign language. 

Talking and Singing Sessions

Make sure to have plenty of talking and singing sessions with your baby. When you talk to your baby, it’s not just about using new words. Use expressive facial expressions and different tones to catch your baby’s attention. During singing sessions, notice your baby’s reaction to the melody and rhythm, encouraging them to vocalize and babble back.

  • What to Talk About:
    • Daily activities
    • Objects around us
    • Names of family members
  • Why Singing Helps:
    • Melody: Offers a range of sounds.
    • Rhythm: Helps to improve listening skills.

Music and Rhythm Fun

With music and rhythm fun, introduce your baby to various types of music. Whether it’s classical or nursery rhymes, notice how they respond to different beats and tunes.

  • Activities Include:
    • Gently clapping your baby’s hands to the music
    • Playing soothing background music during playtime
    • Dancing with baby in your arms

Basic Sign Language Introduction

I’ve started with a basic sign language introduction to reinforce communication before your baby can talk. Focus on signs that your baby can relate to everyday needs.

  • Simple Signs to Start With:
    • Milk: mimic milking a cow.
    • More: tap fingertips together.
    • All done: show the sign by flipping hands outward.
  • Consistency Is Key: Use these signs consistently to help baby understand and eventually mimic them.

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Sensory Play and Exploration

At 4 months old, your baby is ready to engage with the world through sensory play and exploration, which is crucial for their cognitive and motor development. Through different textures, sounds, and visuals, they start to understand their environment in a safe and stimulating way.

Sound and Music Toys

You’ll notice how a little one’s eyes light up when they hear melodious sounds or playful jingles. A variety of sound and music toys can help in their auditory development. 

  • Rattles: Easy to grip, providing a soft and pleasing sound.
  • Musical mobiles: Hanging above the crib, they also offer a gentle motion that’s fascinating to watch.

Light and Colorful Visuals

Babies are naturally attracted to bright and contrasting colors. For light and colorful visuals, chose items that can help in visual tracking and color recognition:

Touch-and-Feel Books

Touch-and-feel books provide a multi-sensory experience that is both fun and educational for a baby. The textures help them differentiate objects and understand the sense of touch. 

  • Various textures: Including fuzzy, scratchy, or silky patches. 
  • Simple illustrations: Which support the tactile elements and help maintain their interest.

Motor Skills and Coordination

Enhancing motor skills and coordination is essential at four months old. Focus on stimulating your baby’s growth with physical development through playful interaction and gentle encouragement.

Soft Block Building

Introduce soft blocks that are easy for your baby’s small fingers to grasp. Building a small tower and encouraging your baby to knock it down helps in developing hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

Belly-down Bouncing

Positioned belly-down on a bouncy seat or an exercise ball, your baby learns to control their head and neck muscles. The bouncing movement promotes strength and coordination. Ensure the baby is safely supported and keep a close watch during this stimulating play.

Floor-based Scooting

Encourage your baby to scoot on the floor by placing interesting toys or new things just out of reach. This motivates movement and works on gross motor skills as they push with their legs or pull with their arms. 

I hope you’ve found a few of these baby activities to be helpful! As always, each baby is unique and will develop at their own pace, so don’t rush it or push any activity that your child doesn’t seem to love. 

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