From the age of four or five months, your baby will really “wake up” to the world. Their coordination will improve and they’ll have more energy between naps, so they’ll start to be more interested in toys and especially enjoy sensory play.
The connections in their brain are growing so fast, and every game and interaction will teach them something new.
There are plenty of 5-month-old activities you can try to support this development.
What can a 5-month-old baby do?
When you’re planning activities for you and your baby, it’s helpful to know the 5-month milestones they should be hitting. At this age, you can expect:
Muscle control: Your baby might try holding or moving their bottle or toys. During tummy time, they’ll be able to do a press-up and look around the room. They might be rolling over (even if they can’t roll back yet). They might even make their first attempts at sitting up.
Eyesight: Does your baby’s face light up when they see you? That’s because they can recognize familiar people. They’ll also be much more able to focus on people or objects and track them as they move around.
Sound recognition: Five-month-olds can recognize sounds and understand where they’re coming from. They might even try babbling back or imitating the tone of your voice.
Thinking abilities: Your baby can now do some things on purpose, which shows they’re starting to think independently and figure out how the world works. They also have a better understanding of your facial expressions and will smile at you because they’ve realized that it makes you smile back.
What should my 5-month-old be eating?
Every baby, and every family, is different. But a five-month-old will probably have a regular feeding routine of five or six breast or bottle feeds each day.
Within a few weeks, you’ll probably start to introduce solid (or rather, extremely mushy) food.
Now’s the time to get hold of the bowls, spoons, and bibs you’ll need for your baby’s first meals.
Check out our guide on first foods for inspiration as you prepare for this next big milestone.
How do I entertain my 5-month-old?
So, you know your little one’s personality, you’ve got an idea of their favorite things, you know their routine, and you know the milestones they’re hitting.
How can you bring that all together with some entertaining 5-month-old baby games?
Peek-a-boo is a time-honored tradition. And if we’re going to be technical, this game is about object permanence—understanding that something (or someone) is there even when they can’t see it anymore.
Since your baby is recognizing familiar sounds, objects, and people more and more, peek-a-boo gets more fun every day.
Not only does your baby respond to music and love dancing with you, but they’re also starting to make their own.
It’s called “banging things loudly with other things” and they’ll think it’s the best game in the world.
Of course, if you need your pots and wooden spoons for cooking, baby rattles and xylophones are available.
The internet is full of ideas for sensory play—from activities you can throw together spontaneously to games that take more preparation (and more cleaning up). Here are some ideas to get you started:
Textures: from soft and fluffy to smooth and firm, your baby enjoys figuring out new textures. They’ll explore them with their hands, their toes, and usually their mouths.
Water: Introduce new objects into your baby’s bath, or give them a shallow tray of water. By five months, they’ll definitely know how to splash.
Balloons: Your baby will love batting at balloons, or you can tie them loosely to their feet so they can practice kicking them away. Just be careful to pick up any rubber scraps if the balloons pop, as these can be a choking hazard.
Sensory bags or bottles: Fill a strong, clear bag or bottle with whatever you can find in your house. Different pasta shapes will make different noises, colorful pompoms or beads are visually stimulating, and oil and colored water is fun to squish and shake.
Bubbles: Fact: babies love bubbles. You can never blow too many bubbles for a five-month-old. Even better, bubble time strengthens your baby’s eyes and coordination.
There are thousands of options out there for baby toys that help to support your little one’s development, but here are some of the classics.
Balls: Balls are a quintessential baby toy for a reason. They love watching them, pushing them, and holding them. If this is their favorite way to practice their gross motor skills, you might even have a future soccer player on your hands.
Teethers: If you notice your baby gumming at everything you give them, their teeth might be on the way. Some babies start teething as early as 4 months. A good teether is an essential item and, even if you still have to wait a few months to see those pearly whites, your baby will enjoy exploring the textures with their mouth and passing it between their hands.
Puppet shows: Puppet shows are great for developing babies’ eyesight and language skills. Bonus points for each funny voice you can use.
Stacking cups: They make a funny noise when they fall down, they show your baby that they can have an effect on the world around them, and they’re great for coordination when your baby is ready to make a tower by themselves.
Read also: 8 Toys for a 5-Month-Old
When babies can sit up, their whole perspective on the world changes.
In fact, five months can be a frustrating age because they know that the world would be much more interesting if they could sit, but they just can’t manage it yet.
Supporting sitting with your nursing pillow, some cushions, or a special baby seat can cheer them up and help to build the core strength they’ll need to sit by themselves and become more mobile.
If your baby can hold their head up and is close to sitting by themselves, they’re ready to giggle their way through a game of airplane.
Lie on your back and place your baby’s tummy on your shins. Then hold your baby’s hands, lift your knees, and gently rock them side to side.
Swimming, music classes, baby sensory, or even baby sign language (which helps babies to communicate before they can speak) can be fun for babies of this age.
If you’re wondering what to do with a 5-month-old baby all day, a regular class will also give your week some structure and help you meet other mamas.
👶 Read next: 10 Fun Activities for 6-Month-Old Babies