This activity for a newborn can be done even before your bundle of joy arrives in the home, or is a great one to do in the first days upon return from the hospital, that moment when you wonder… Well, what do we do next? New parents so often express this sentiment to me: The new baby is in the car seat on the floor, and now there are days and days to fill! It’s also an activity that is great for veteran parents who want to involve a big sibling.
To wit, I told my son I needed his help in the nursery, and we emptied out all of the stuffed animals from where they’d been in a basket, untouched, for years. Not only did he have fun going through old favorites, but he was also fascinated watching as I selected a baby blanket (chances are you have one too many!) and thumb-tacked it to the wall. Make sure the thumb tacks are very secure, or at the least some place where they can’t land on the baby in case one pulls free.
Once you have all four corners tacked up, fill the hammock gently with the stuffed animals. Be sure not to overcrowd or make the blanket too heavy.
The result is adorable! Stuffed animals are easily visible to pick out for playtime, but also up off the floor and out of the way. This especially makes sense in the first year of life, when baby is too young to have any stuffies in the crib for naps or nighttime.
A second idea is to buy a large wreath from a craft store, and attach stuffed animals with floral wire. I like this solution for larger animals that were a bit too heavy in the hammock. Poke the wire through a bit of the stuffing in their backs (don’t worry, they won’t feel it!), and attach securely around the frame.
This is a great way to display stuffed animals, functioning almost like a mobile or visual stimulus near the crib.
If you’re feeling truly ambitious, here’s a third solution. (Note: we skipped this one!).
Buy a 2-inch thick dowel from your local Home Depot, cut to measure the height of your baby’s room. You’ll need to set the pole in wooden brackets on the floor and ceiling of the nursery. Use screw-in hooks along the length of the pole for stuffed animals to climb the “tree.”
If you attempt this third stuffed animal idea, I’d love to see pictures or hear how it went in the comments!