With each month comes new developmental milestones that you’ll notice as your baby grows. Now that they’re 3 or 4 months old, you’ll see a huge difference in their behaviors and skills compared to the early newborn stage.
At this point, they’ll be taking in so much stimulation through their senses. They’ll be using their hands, mouth, eyes, and ears to learn and absorb what they can from the world around them. If you’re looking for ways on how to play with a 3 or 4 month old baby, you’ve come to the right place!
What to Expect from your 3 to 4 Month Old Baby
Your baby is now much more alert and can start having more purposeful and intentional movements. Some of the milestones and skills that your baby has achieved may be less noticeable, but they’re still very important nonetheless.
They’re kicking their development into high gear with the refinement of fine/gross/visual motor skills and sensory abilities. You’ll start to see their little personality emerge as well.
At this age, you can expect your 3 to 4 month old to:
- Find their hands and feet
- Grab for anything within reach
- Bring objects to their mouths
- Take more interest in toys, objects, and people
- Hold and play with objects right in front of their face
- Respond to facial expressions from others
- Have more head control to keep their head upright
- Open their hands a lot more and grasp the objects put right in front of them
- Neck flexion (tucking their head and neck down to see in front of them or prepare for rolling)
- Rolling over front to back (usually first) and then back to front
It’s important to note that all babies develop at their own pace. Some babies may have achieved all of these milestones already, whereas some may still be practicing refining those skills. There is not usually a cause for worry, however if you notice that your baby is not meeting most of these milestones, consult with your pediatrician.
Learning Through Play
During this time, your infant will begin to play. Play is a baby’s way of learning about the world around them and that stays true into toddlerhood and preschool age, as well.
Children learn through their toys to discover textures, sounds, cause and effect, spatial relations, and so much more. Along with improving the strength and coordination of their hands, play develops their cognition, hand-eye coordination, gross motor skills, sensory processing, and social/emotional skills.
Baby Activities for Your 3 to 4 Month Old
It is very important to give your baby lots of opportunities to practice these skills. Use their longer wake times for plenty of playtime throughout the day. Your baby’s motor skills will start to develop through these activities so follow the baby activities for your 3 or 4 month old below to get your baby learning and exploring at a young age.
All of these activities should be done with the close supervision of a parent or caregiver. Do not leave your baby unattended during play and always check for potential choking hazards. This post may contain affiliate links which I would receive a small commission should you make a purchase.
1. Grabbing Objects in Front of Them
Your baby will now be using both of their hands together to bring them to the center of their body (midline). This helps them see the object better by having it in front of their face.
To get your 3 month old baby to play, lay them on their back and give them a toy to grasp. Make sure they are attempting to use both hands on the toy and holding it right in front of their face (as opposed to out to the side).
Starting around 3 months old, your baby should be able to hold onto objects that fit perfectly in their little palms. These toys will typically be rings, long cylindrical objects, and toys that have lots of separate, skinny parts that your baby can grasp onto.
Lightweight toys are ideal so they can fully lift them overhead and up to their face and mouth. Some of my favorite toys that are perfect for this age are the Sensory Teether Toy (shown above), Rattles, O-Balls, and the Spin Rattle Teether Toy (shown below).
These toys easily allow your infant to grasp and chew at the same time, working on their fine motor skills (grasping) and hand eye coordination (bringing it to his mouth), as well as satisfying their oral sensory (teething) needs.
Also, this grasping rattle and teether (below) makes it easy for baby to stick their little fingers in to grab. They also provide sensory stimulation as they are colorful and make noise. Soon your baby will learn that their actions will make the toy move and shake.
Here is a wide range of toys that are perfect for babies from birth to 6 months old.
2. Cause and Effect Activities with Feet Rattles or Balloons
Babies at this age are now starting to learn about cause-and-effect. That is, one of my actions will cause something else to happen. It’s great to play with your baby and watch as they make this discovery, in awe of what their bodies can do.
This is a great activity from Laughing Kids Learn, Try tying a balloon to their wrist or ankle or putting hand/feet rattles on them. At first, they’ll see them move or make noise by accident. However, as they continue to move, they’ll realize that they’re actually in charge of the sound or music.
3. Lay Them on Their Side to Prep For Rolling
If they’re still having trouble bringing a toy in front of their face when they are on their back, try laying them on their side. This will make it easier to see the object in their line of sight.
Lay your baby on their side with a rolled up blanket behind them so they don’t roll backward.
4. Tummy Time with Different Props
Tummy time is such an important activity that will play a significant role in your baby’s motor development, as well as gross motor an strengthening.
Between 3 and 4 months, your baby may now be able to use their arms and hands to push their head and shoulders off the ground. This helps to strengthen all of the muscles in their arms in order to use their hands more functionally.
Place a brightly colored or musical toy in front of them to grasp their attention. The deep sensory stimulation from this position allows them to become more aware of their hands and arms attached to their body.
Prop your baby up on a Boppy or pillow to have a much easier time getting their hands free to play with toys. Try laying them across a Boppy with the pillow underneath their stomach (as shown above). This will allow them to push their head and shoulders up and reach with their hands.
A tummy time water mat (shown below) is a fun sensory experience that they can touch, see, and feel, but you can also make your own! Inside a Ziplock bag, simply put some water, dried beans or rice, glitter, food coloring, or literally any little items that you can find around the house. Tape it down to the floor with painter’s tape for our own DIY water/sensory mat!
5. Sit Them Up
Get your baby sitting upright so they can start seeing the world from a different perspective. Instead of always laying on their backs, between 3 and 4 months they have a little more head control and can maintain upright positions.
At this age, they will not be able to sit up without your help. So for baby activities with your 3 to 4 month old, use baby gear or your own body to place them in a seated position.
Try the following positions for sitting them up during play with a 3 month old baby:
- Sitting them propped up against a Boppy or corner couch cushion (above)
- Seated in a Fisher-Price Sit-Me-Up (below)
- With your knees raised, holding them against your thighs on an incline (below)
- Sitting behind them, holding at their trunk, waist, hips, or thighs. (below)
The Fisher Price Sit-Me-Up is best for younger babies (2-4 months) because it gives them a lot of support for sitting. However, this device won’t help to improve their trunk strength or really help them learn to sit up on their own as quickly.
Your own hands are the best support for baby because you can place them on different parts of thier body. Placing your hands higher on their waist and trunk gives them more help and doesn’t work on their balance as much.
6. Encourage them to explore their bodies
They will now be more aware of all of the different parts of their bodies. You can help facilitate these milestones by bringing their hands to their mouth, in front of their eyes, and touching objects.
You can also have them:
- Sit in front of a mirror to look at their reflection and point to all the features of their face.
- Stretch their arms up high and circle them around.
- Bring their feet to their hands.
- Allow them to bear weight and stand while you’re holding them up.
- Cycle their legs and push them into and out of their bellies (below)
7. Pull Them Up to Sitting
This activity works on core and abdominal strength. Lay your baby on their back and slowly pull them up by holding their hands. This baby activity is best done with 3 or 4 month olds that have better neck control.
You want to see them lift their head and neck up and not leave it lagging behind as you pull them up.
8. Read to Your Baby
The greatest gift that parents can give to their child is time. Reading creates opportunities for quality time spent together.
Reading together can start in infancy and last well into a child’s teen years. While babies may not be able to understand and process the words being read to them by a parent, they love to hear familiar voices and be held close.
Books open a whole new world to babies even at 3 to 4 months old. They will be able to explore new colors, sights, and textures. Tips for reading to your 3 or 4 month old:
- Choose books with lots of texture, colors, and sounds. Crinkle books are an absolute must for this age as they make sounds and allow your baby to play while learning how to turn a page, for example: The Early Years Farm Friends Book (above), Soft Cloth Books, and My First Soft Book
- Be expressive, use gestures and explain in an entertaining or storytelling-way.
- Encourage them to touch and feel the book
9. Imitate their noises and facial expressions
They’re starting to realize they have a voice so let them know that they are being heard. When they start making sounds and noises, repeat after them.
They’ll love hearing it back while also familiarizing themselves with your voice. Also, you can imitate all the little facial expressions they make: yawning, grimacing, smiling, or eyes wide open.
Babies love massage probably just as much as adults do. You can gently rub or massage all the parts of his body from his toes to his back and all the way out to his finger tips.
This will help them start feeling and discovering different parts of their body. When you give a massage, they are starting to get a sense of where their body is in space, including all their limbs being attached to them. Be gentle, but still firm. You won’t hurt them!
Try this after a diaper change or bath time. You can do it when they’re in just a diaper with Calming Lavender Baby Lotion or Coconut Oil to make it smoother. You could also just do it over their clothes at any point in the day.
Check out this post on How to Properly Massage Your Baby
11. Lay them on their backs with toys overhead
This promotes visual fixation and tracking as your baby starts to follow objects moving around. Use toys that are brightly colored, make noise, or rotate.
12. Explore Different Textures to Stimulate Senses
Through playing and exploring a variety of objects, you help your baby’s hand development. As they play and interact with objects they practice many important skills.
They learn how to grasp, hold, move and release an object. Through exploring objects of different shapes, sizes and weight, your baby is starting to strengthen all those hand muscles.
When picking toys and objects, use ones with a variety of sensory differences, include textures (hard, soft, fuzzy, plush, smooth, rough), auditory feedback (crinkle, musical, squeaky), visual (bright, contrasting colors, large shapes).
For example, these little crinkle books could keep my daughter occupied all day long. When they start to grasp around 3 months, they’ll love hearing and feeling the crinkle sound and turning the pages.
This soft plush toy combines bright colors, textures, and music to stimulate the senses. It has the crinkle texture, musical sounds, as well as dangling parts to chew on and manipulate. It’s really an all-in-one toy and great for developing fine motor skills in your baby!
Also, feel free to let them play with household objects that allow them to explore new textures also. Items like sponges, wrapping paper, velvet blankets, wool shirts, etc. will all provide fun new experiences for them.
13. Play with Bubbles
As another sensory item for your baby to look at and reach for, bubbles are absolutely great for 3 to 4 month olds. Bubbles most certainly will put a smile on their face from ear to ear as they attempt to reach and grab for them.
14. Give Them a Play Date
Babies love to socialize just as much as adults too! provide them with any opportunity that you can to see and interact with other babies.
They’ll love seeing others that look, act, and sound just like them, and may even motivate them to make some moves soon!
15. Use a Sensory Bottle
Sensory bottles provide fun visual stimulation for your baby. If you want to make one on your own, here’s a great tutorial on a simple DIY sensory bottles. You don’t have to use fancy bottles or items, but empty water bottles and household objects make great materials!
You can also purchase these ones already made here.
Simply shake these up and place them in front of your baby in tummy time or any other position. They’ll love how it looks and it can provide endless entertainment!
I hope you found a variety of baby activities for your 3 to 4 month old. You can play with your baby in so many different ways to stimulate their senses, body, and mind. Have fun and enjoy watching them learn before your eyes!