Play & Activity

Baby Water Sensory Play Activity

If you want to try this at home be more careful than me!

Dirtand boogers.com water play idea. Baby Water Sensory Play: baby-brain.co.uk, psychology resource, perspective & blog on motherhood

Dirtandboogers.com water play idea

What am I talking about? Well I tried to emulate this Baby Water Play idea (piccie to your right ) from a site called “Dirt and Boogers” (written by a “play therapist turned stay at home mom”; see whole article here with some nice pictures of baby playing with the water tray. There is also a range of play ideas from baby to preschool age on the site). This looked like a great way to introduce the Little Lovely (LL) to some sensory play of a different nature as we have never used water during play other than bath time I suppose, but I haven’t introduced any bath toys yet. I didn’t read the instructions properly and I think this activity is for babies who are not sitting yet, or at least is to be done in a non-sitting position.
Anyway, I set up a baking tray with some toys including linky loops, a sippy cup top and rattle (basically things that would glide about on the water), added water and put a plastic sheet under the tray so as not to spill water everywhere, as demonstrated in the picture below.

Water Sensory Play idea with baby | Baby-Brain.co.uk psychology resource, perspective & blog on motherhood

I sat LL down in front of it (aged 6.5 months) and IMMEDIATELY… WOOSH… the first thing he did was grab the bottom of the tray and tipped it up. The water all spilled out right across the plastic and on to the rug. Oh well, it’s only water.
So this might have been a good sensory experience activity but maybe do as Dirt and Boogers and put baby on their tummy (baby in the original article is 6 months – so similar to LL). Although, I’m not sure if LL wouldn’t have tipped the tray up anyway even if he was on his front.
Maybe I’ll repeat this at some point and see what LL does next time. And maybe I’ll add some balls. I’ve found another water sensory play idea here from Learn with Play at Home (written by a teacher and mother of 2) and they suggest using a high chair tray, which actually might have been a better idea for LL so he couldn’t tip it up, or maybe I could find a heavier or larger water receptacle that he couldn’t tip over. Anyway, try it at home, add some interesting toys/objects to the water that baby can push around and experience the feel and sound of the water. Oh, and at least LL had fun playing with the metal tray, tipping it up and bashing on it with some of his other sensory play objects after his water emptying handiwork was done. He was able experiment with making some nice sounds with the tray – so we got some sensory play after all, just of a different nature to what was planned! Here’s some pictures of him having fun (below).
Safety first! As always, always supervise activities and be careful with with water around your baby. Never leave baby unattended.

 

woosh Water Sensory Play idea with baby | Baby-Brain.co.uk psychology resource, perspective & blog on motherhood

Woosh went the water! As he tipped up the tray

let's make stuff from baby-brain.co.uk - baby water sensory play idea - | Baby-Brain.co.uk psychology resource, perspective & blog on motherhood

Playing with the now emptied of water tray

 

See more stuff the Little Lovely and I made and did together: ⇒back to Let’s Make Stuff!

 

Thank you for reading: Baby Water Sensory Play: baby-brain.co.uk, psychology resource, perspective & blog

How to play with a newborn baby (0-3 months) – what and why – psychology and research


What, how and why to play with your newborn. Really interesting psychology behind newborn play and what's important
As I approach the 5th month with the new baby (already!) I was looking back and thinking of the ways that we “played”. There’s a lot of time in the day so how can you play with baby and what can you do all day long? Well, apart from nappy changes, sleeps, screams, baths and other practical “stuff”, here’s some ways we played together and some of the psychology/research behind activity ideas:

 

SOUND – COMMUNE

Talking:

Face to Face time is a GREAT way to play. This means simply being face to face with baby and having a chat. You can talk about anything; something that you did that day or just make certain sounds with some over the top mouth-moving to show how you’re making it, like B-B-B-B-B-B, OOoooo.

 

→ → → Talk in a funny voice!

Talking is important but it’s a case of Quality, not Quantity

Talking in “parentese” – that baby talk that we do, characterised by higher pitch, slowed down and exaggerated intonation (6) – might irritate some but apparently it has it’s benefits; slowing speech down and exaggerating sounds, also introducing that “sing song” element to the voice is something babies like. It works well with very young babies according to this article who report that prevalence of baby talk with children (in one to one conversations rather than in groups) was linked to better language development,

The more parents exaggerated vowels – for example “How are youuuuu?” – and raised the pitch of their voices, the more the 1-year olds babbled, which is a forerunner of word production.

 

When the babies were 2 years old, parents filled out a questionnaire measuring how many words their children knew. Infants who had heard more baby talk knew more words

Singing:

Again, communication is paramount so singing counts too. Apparently, from day one babies have an ability (innate) to discriminate rhythmic patterns. See this interesting article from Psychology Today for more but in sum, you can start in utero – around 25 weeks of pregnancy the baby starts to process auditory signals – which is why newborns may prefer their mother’s voice, because it is quite familiar to them!

 

Reading:

Reading from birth is a great thing to practice, and has benefits. See my reading page for more in-depth information on the psychology of reading with babies and small children. In brief, baby will recognise their mother’s voice from the womb (1) and hearing it from day one may be familiar and comforting to them, reassuring them of your presence (2).
When we read we usually read with different expression and voices than when we talk and books/reading materials contain different vocabularies, words, expressions than what we might use in every day talk around our children. This is useful because it exposes the child to more varied language and sounds.
Reading to babies from the early months has been found (3) to be related to increased reading with babies at 8 months old (creating a reading habit), which in turn, related to language abilities at 12 and 16 months, particularly with expressive language (being able to put thoughts into words and sentences).
Interaction when reading has also been highlighted as an important element in relation to language development (4) with older babies (12 months).

 

TOUCH

The importance of touch: how what and why to play with newborn 0-3 months

Touching feet

Touching hands, touching feet – we did a lot of this in month one, mainly because his little feet were so cute. The baby and I are due to take part in a research study soon at a Baby Lab about whether infants in the early months can distinguish between a social touch and other touch. This will involve monitoring activity and touching baby’s arm with a toothbrush and then touching by hand.
Skin to skin is recommended and touch is going to be important! Research has reported increased touch to facilitate growth and development (cited in 5). Research on benefits of touch with premature babies has also influenced procedures in some hospitals such as use of “kangaroo care” where the baby receives skin to skin contact being held upright against the bare chest of the carrier (5). There is a huge wealth of literature out there about importance of touch and skin to skin with babies and infants which I encourage you to read further if this is an area of interest to you.

 

Sensory play

We also did lots of sensory play such as touching soft toys, a range of textured material and letting him touch/kick his little feet on some crunchy sounding tissue paper.Sensory play idea for newborn and 0-3 months - kicking tissue paper. The psychology of newborn play

 

SIGHT

  • Mirroring, including mirroring noises and chatting, having a conversation

  • Face time

  • Tongue talk

  • Copy Cats

How, what and why play with your newborn: stick your tongue out at them! Baby-Brain.co.uk

Nurrr

We spent a lot of time sticking our tongues out at each other! Given baby’s limited communication channels, this was something he was able to do and I sat there and “Mirrored” him, i.e. copying what he was doing and sticking my tongue out in response to him. This then turned into a kind of “conversation” where we would take it it turns. I then threw a few more facial expressions in and tongue clicks which seemed to interest him. This early study (6) writes that babies between 12-21 days old are able to imitate facial gestures, so you can try it from the first few weeks! Also loving the pictures in that article of the baby imitating “mouth opening” and especially the “lip protrusion”.

 

High contrast:

High contrast black & white images with baby - what how why play with newborns and 0-3 months

In terms of visual aspects and development, the visual system is not yet fully developed at birth (a). Baby has difficulty distinguishing between similar colours such as orange and red and so prefer high contrast colours such as black against white. We used several “high contrast” images and resources such as a black and white book and flash cards.

 

 

Let’s Face It

Face time your baby! The importance of talking with newborns and psychology of interaction

Who’s there?

Babies love looking at faces; even in the days after birth a baby will prefer to look at images of a face compared to other images. YOU are their favourite play thing and baby will be very interested in staring at you whilst you sing/talk/coocheecoo at them.

YOU are your baby’s favourite play thing!

Mirroring and attachment:

Here’s a good video about “marked mirroring” with your baby. The page has described it nicely so I’ll just quote here:

Facial expressions that help a baby to know his feelings are understood are known as ‘mirroring’. Mirroring is said to be ‘marked’ when the parent mirrors the emotion then quickly ‘marks’ the interaction with a reassuring expression. Mirroring shows the baby that he is understood and reflects the feeling he is experiencing.

 

The’marking’ helps the baby know the feeling belongs to him and that the parent understands but is not overwhelmed and is therefore able to help him or her to manage such feelings.

(Warwick Medical School, 2014, http://www.your-baby.org.uk/early-interactions/marked-mirroring-showing-they-understand-their-babys-emotions).

 

Home activities: Tummy Time, Mirror Play, Play Gym

Mirror play with baby: What why and how to play with newborn and 0-3 months

Who’s looking at you, kid?

Tummy Time, play in the mirror and play gym were some fun and easy activities we tried at home. See links for more information on these activities. Play gyms for example have some great cognitive, visual perception, grasping and reaching skills, gross motor skills, self-awareness and sensory stimulation benefits as summarized in this nice article here by Mama OT. Personally, I could really see the baby developing in terms of gross motor skills, coordination and crossing his midline to reach out and grasp at toys.

 

Getting out and about

At first I remember it seeming very daunting and difficult on a practical level to get out of the house. Add two kids to the mix and there seemed like even more obstacles and things “to do” before we could get out the front door. However, there are many benefits and aspects for parent and child including social and mental health elements. Here’s a page about choosing activities and benefits of them for maternal mental health.

 

Lastly: Enjoy this time with baby!

Kicking tissue paper fun! Sensory activity with newborn baby and 0-3 months. Baby-Brain.co.uk

Wheee!

 

 

References:

  1. Decasper AJ, Fifer WP. Of human bonding: newborns prefer their mothers’ voice. Science. 1980;208:1174 –1176.
  2. Lariviere & Rennick (2011). Parent picture-book reading to infants in the neonatal intensive care unit as an intervention supporting parent-infant interaction and later book reading. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 32 (2),  pp 146-152.
  3. Karras, J. & Braungart-Rieker, J. (2005). Effects of shared parent-infant book reading on early language acquisition. Applied Developmental Psychology, 26, 133-148.
  4. Julie Gros-Louis, Meredith J. West, Andrew P. King. The Influence of Interactive Context on Prelinguistic Vocalizations and Maternal Responses. Language Learning and Development, 2016; DOI:10.1080/15475441.2015.1053563
  5. Ardiel, E. L., & Rankin, C. H. (2010). The importance of touch in development. Paediatr Child Health. 2010 Mar; 15(3): 153–156.
  6. Ramírez-Esparza, N., García-Sierra, A., & Kuhl, P. K. (2014). Look who’s talking: speech style and social context in language input to infants are linked to concurrent and future speech development. Developmental Science, 17 (6): 880–891

a) Brémond-Gignac D., Copin H., Lapillonne A., Milazzo S. (2011). Visual development in infants: physiological and pathological mechanismsCurr. Opin. Ophthalmol. 22, S1–S8.

 

First day looking after the newborn baby and toddler by myself!

Mum's first day alone with the newborn baby and toddler: what it was like and our schedule for the daySo my significant other went back to work today, meaning that I was all by myself looking after the newborn (less than 3 weeks old) and toddler (21 months).

 

I was unsure how it would go. If you’d asked me a few weeks ago what the day would look like I would have had no idea and probably thought I wouldn’t be able to do it at all. Fortunately it all went ok. There were a few “it never rains but it pours”… “you wait for a bus and then two come along at once” etc moments. Including, waiting in for the midwife to visit (who can come any time between 9-5) and another medical visit and then having them both turn up within a few minutes of each other. The midwife also brought a student midwife with her just to add to the party. I had the toddler (LL) in his highchair in the kitchen attempting to eat his lunch (which he refused to eat) and the baby resting in his chair so fortunately it all looked under control when the first visitor arrived. The house was a complete mess though and I was embarrassed; there was what looked like a pompom explosion in the living room from where LL was “playing” earlier (by playing I mean he threw pompoms everywhere). There was dirty laundry sitting on the floor outside the washing machine cupboard. There was washing drying in the bathroom. I had just managed to get dressed about half an hour before this so at least I wasn’t still in pyjamas but still looked a bit of a state (no makeup, brushed hair, brushed teeth etc of course). The midwife told me that I was doing well because sometimes people don’t managed to get dressed the first day they’re left alone with the baby.

 

Mum's first day alone with the newborn baby and toddler: Toddler enjoys colouring & crayons activity

Toddler drawing and crayons activity

I had started to pencil out a schedule and was hoping to be all structured with planned toddler activities but hadn’t managed to get much of this in place. However, I did have a look through the toys and picked out some activities including colouring, reading and playing with cars. The final daily/weekly structure is yet to come. I’ve been going through Pinterest pins and relevant sites for toddler activities though and making notes and lists. I’ve ordered some bits and pieces from amazon and ebay including sticky backed velcro and contact paper (sticky back plastic) for certain activity ideas and printed off some free printable sheets including colour matching activities.

 

Anyways, here’s what we got up to today
  • 7:45am – wake-up and breakfast
  • feed the baby while toddler watches TV (*gasp* – yes we watched TV, especially useful when I need some time with the baby)
  • colouring books with toddler
  • playing with toy cars
  • mummy finally gets dressed, plan to make lunch for toddler
  • 12ish – health visitors all decide to turn up at once. Place is a state. I can’t find the baby’s health book that they need. I all of a sudden have 3 health professionals in my small living room, a toddler who won’t eat his lunch and a newborn that’s being poked at by at least one of the health professionals (and doesn’t appreciate it).
  • toddler is offered alternative lunch that he doesn’t really eat much of
  • nap time for toddler (post-lunch) which he resists for a long time but finally falls asleep following story books and a song
  • mummy eats her lunch and sorts out baby
  • Mum's first day alone with the newborn baby and toddler: Out for a sensory nature walk with toddler & baby

    Out for a walk all together

    get us all ready to go out the house
  • 4pm – finally get out of the house using combination travel method of baby sling, pram and reins for toddler
  • plan to go to the park but toddler spends about 30 minutes picking up small stones and twigs on the walk there and enjoys tossing them off a small bridge into a stream below and refuses to stop doing this. I give in and just stand around waiting. Let’s call this a sensory nature walk!!
  • no time to go to park so walk back home, slowly, with toddler picking up multiple sticks, stones, conkers, etc
  • dinner time for toddler. Refuses his dinner. Baby crying for food. Try to satisfy both children at the same time. Toddler only wants to eat cream cheese for dinner. Tell him this is not acceptable
  • bath for toddler and bed – but significant other is now home and does this. Baby crying significantly. Has gas
  • toddler in bed. Parents eat dinner. Apple crumble and custard for pudding. Yum
My first day alone with the baby and toddler

I’m a Tourist Baby – Baby Friendly London & Kensington Palace

Baby Friendly London - Kensington Palace - places to go with baby and children in London. Reviewed and accessible! baby-brain.co.uk

Baby Friendly London, and tourist adventures! This is also relevant to the wellbeing and mental health page where I discuss various activity ideas for fun times but also to reduce cabin fever and increase mood. Be a tourist in your own town, or actually go somewhere and be a tourist, with or without baby.

Anyway – here’s some things the Little Lovely got up as a Tourist, Baby.

 

 

Kensington Palace, London, England, UK – Website here

 

Age when visited: 7 months, 1 week

 

Baby Friendly London - Kensington Palace - places to go with baby and children in London. Reviewed and accessible! baby-brain.co.uk

What is there to do?

Well, in honour of Price George of Cambridge’s first birthday (2014) we went to the Palace (Kate and Wills have an apartment here)! Well actually, it wasn’t in honour of his birthday, we were just going anyway but when we got there we saw some birthday banners and balloons up for him, as you can see in the pictures above of the Little Lovely outside the Palace gates.
  • Princess Diana’s Dresses: Look back at fashion as worn by HM The Queen, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales.
  • Playing with Victorian style toys at Kensington Palace. Baby Friendly London - places to go with baby. Reviewed by baby-brain.co.uk

    Interactive: Baby playing with Victorian era toys at Kensington Palace

    Queen Victoria: Learn about her life and see what kind of toys they had in the nursery! We played with some of them (not the originals, I assume – see picture). I got told off for sitting on the carpet with no shoes on, though. So keep your shoes on. I’ll assume the baby was fine to go shoeless.
  • Other: Explore the gardens and Orangery – Works of art – the Queen’s State Apartments and King’s State Apartments. There is also a shop.

 

The pictures below are of the main entrance room, with LL posing under a picture of Princess Diana, then in the royal nursery playing with some toys, in another room in the palace, and then spark out and tired at the end of a busy day as a tourist, baby.

tourist baby - activity ideas with baby - Kensington Palace London UK. baby-brain.co.ukEating:

There is a cafe in the Orangery and Palace. I went to the Palace cafe and there are highchairs and kid’s meals available, such as children’s sandwich bags. If you want to bring your own food or do a picnic in the park the nearest shops are a bit of a walk away, and the cafe has tourist cafe prices, so stop off at the shops on the way if you prefer this cheaper option!

Baby and Toddler facilities:

There are changing facilities available. I don’t think there were any specific feeding or breastfeeding areas but a friend and I fed in the entrance area on some comfy seats and no one cared.

Accessibility for prams and those less able to use stairs:

There are lifts to most areas. Staff were very helpful and led me through a step-free route to view the fashion and Princess Diana’s dresses with my pram. I don’t know if this was a temporary arrangement or if this route is usually accessible without staff assistance. But either way, the staff were helpful and you could always ask if unsure. The website also writes that:
There is level access from Kensington Gardens to the palace, a lift to all floors and wheelchairs and portable seating to borrow during your visit. We also offer Describer Tours for blind and partially sighted visitors as well as facilitating British Sign Language tours.

In all, a reasonably baby friendly day out, and there’s the gardens/park to explore as well!

 

Simple Bottle Shaker Sensory Activity for Babies & Toddlers

Simple Bottle Shaker!

We made this simple sensory DIY toy when my Little Lovely was about 8.5 months old, inspired by the home-made sensory bottles I often came across at baby classes:

 

DIY Simple Bottle Shaker Toy: a great sensory activity for baby! Baby-brain.co.uk

Simple Bottle Shaker Toy for Baby

This was a quick, simple and cheap way to provide baby with something novel and stimulating!

  1. Wash and dry a used drink bottle

  2. Fill with something that will make a noise when shaken – we used tapioca and dried lentils

  3. I fitted the lid back on tightly. You can’t see that well from the picture but the lid is quite big and so hopefully is not a swallowing risk.

 

age: LL was about 8.5 months when we did this but we have also used a bottle shaker when he was a bit younger and i’m sure it will amuse him in the future.

Here’s the Little Lovely enjoying his new toy. He enjoyed shaking and bashing it about, and was quite curious about it, as he usually is with new things!

 

DIY Simple Bottle Shaker Toy: a great sensory activity for baby! Baby-brain.co.uk

Bottle Shake Baby

 

 

A few safety issues: This activity was supervised. The lid is fitted on very tightly so LL will not be able to get it off, chew on it, spill or eat the contents of the bottle, please be careful and decide what, if any, fillings and bottles will be appropriate and safe for your child. Always supervise baby with any activities posted on this blog.

 

 

 

Monster “feed me” bottle lids slot game, for baby and toddler

Monster Feeder slot game - fine motor skill development - fun DIY baby/toddler activity, from baby-brain.co.uk

This is a Monster “feed me” slot game, using bottle tops and an old plastic food pot

Another DIY, “junk” toy we made and had fun with!

 

  • Great for imagination

  • Curiosity

  • Developing fine motor skills with baby and toddlers

 

Monster "feed me" lids game - fine motor skill development - fun baby/toddler activity! from baby-brain.co.uk

Take one old plastic container…

What I used:

  • An old plastic container with a lid (old raisin pot)

  • Masking tape

  • Colour pens and stickers for decoration

  • Lids from old milk jugs and other plastic bottles

 

1) Take plastic container

 

2) Cut a slot in the top

 

3) I covered the edges of the slot with masking tape to ensure any sharp edges were covered up. The tape also made it easier to draw a mouth on

 

4) I cut up some old stickers to use as eyes (or use any baby-safe decoration/feature you like)

Monster "feed me" lids game - fine motor skill development - fun baby/toddler activity! from baby-brain.co.uk

Using stickers to add details

 

5) No picture for this but I coloured in some details on the eyes and drew teeth around the slot. I was going to do scary eyes and sharp pointy teeth but then decided maybe that was a bit too scary so toned it down a bit

 

6) Et voilà! He is done – a “monster” lid eater. I decided not to decorate the rest of the pot but I might put some coloured card around the edge, draw some hands on, stick feet on etc in the future

Monster "feed me" lids game - fine motor skill development - fun baby/toddler activity! from baby-brain.co.uk

Food to feed your Monster with - lids game - motor skill development - fun baby/toddler activity!

Food stickers – to feed your little monster with

 

Food to feed your Monster with - lids game - motor skill development - fun baby/toddler activity!

Food to feed your Monster with – lids game – motor skill development – fun baby/toddler activity!

What to feed your Monster with:

We later added some food stickers to the bottle lids. We stuck them on together (aged 20 months when we did this) and talked about the foods. I used different coloured tops and mostly matched these to the food colours. Here’s some pictures of the “food” we fed the monster with.  Some of the stickers had to be updated after the toddler decided one day peel most of them off!

 

Monster feeder in action!

Here’s some pictures of my Little Lovely playing with the Monster Pot. He was 17 months here but he’s enjoyed slotting and sorting things for several months now and has had the motor skills to do it, so this activity might be suitable for babies and toddlers younger and older than this. We don’t know colours yet (we’re starting to learn) but we could extend the game in the future by asking baby to post certain colour lids.

 

Monster Feeder slot game for babies toddlers - great for fine motor skill development, imagination, arts & crafts, and fun! From baby-brain.co.uk

Practising that slotting!

 

 

Monster Feeder slot game for babies toddlers - great for fine motor skill development, imagination, arts & crafts, and fun! From baby-brain.co.uk

More fun with the game

 

Experimenting with what else he can do with the pot: what’s inside, what does it taste like and, can I wear it as a hat?

 

Monster Feeder slot game for babies toddlers - great for fine motor skill development, imagination, arts & crafts, and fun! From baby-brain.co.uk

Exploring the game further – what’s inside, tasting and hat wearing

 

 

Safety first: This activity was supervised. Please be mindful of sharp edges, choking risks with small parts and materials used to decorate the pot. Please decide based on your own baby and stage of development as to what might be appropriate for them.

 

 

Baby Friendly London – The London Aquarium

Baby Friendly London. The London Aquarium. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities and days out reviewed! from Baby-Brain.co.uk

Sightseeing in London with baby, toddler, kids in tow, or just looking for a fun family day out?

 

The London Aquarium is a reasonably baby-friendly place to visit

 

Baby Friendly London. The London Aquarium. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities, from Baby-Brain.co.uk

View of the London Aquarium from across Westminster bridge (river Thames)

The London Aquarium (website)

County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7PB

  • **Children under 3 years old go FREE*** (according to their website at the time of writing this – but check before you go for updated information)
  • Nearest stations: London Waterloo and Westminster tube (**step free access at Westminster station** – meaning you can use the lifts to get your buggy up from the train to street level, no need to take steps or escalators).
  • Nearby attractions: London SouthbankThe London Eye (next door), The London Dungeon (next door), the river Thames (opposite), Westminster, The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey (where WIlls and Kate got married)… and more (you are basically in the centre of a lot of interesting London sights).

 

Baby Friendly London. The London Aquarium. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities, from Baby-Brain.co.uk

See the penguins!

What is there to do?

See a range of sea life including the walk-through tunnel with sea life swimming over your head, the large shark tank, stingrays, turtles, jungle themed tanks including a crocodile, and the “Antarctic Ice Adventure” (this includes penguins but I personally wouldn’t call it a giant “adventure” – it’s ice themed and then there is one penguin area, behind glass, which is cool but the space is limited and when we visited there were quite a few people trying to get a look at the penguins).
There is a small area with an assistant where you can look at and touch some non-threatening sea-life. Otherwise, you’re asked not to touch the fish or use flash photography.
There is also a lot about sea life conservation and protecting the seas.

 

 

Baby Friendly London. The London Aquarium. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities, from Baby-Brain.co.uk

What to eat?

Food

We visited as part of a group nursery trip so we were able to use a small group dining room that including little chairs and tables for the children. I don’t know if this is freely available. There were a few snack machines as we went around the aquarium.
  • Outside the acquarium there are many food options. Just next door as you exit the gift shop, without having to go outside the building, there is a McDonalds.
  • If you just pop outside there is a fish and chips place inside “county hall” which I think houses other eating options including – for more information on eating options see this page from trip advisor on local cafes and restaurants.
  • There are also food and drink kiosks outside near the London Eye and by the river Thames with some seating, so you could get a drink and snack and look out at the sights.
I personally went round the corner and had a nice hot chocolate from the Starbucks whilst my Little Lovely slept after his day of running around the aquarium shouting FISH all the time (aged 16 months).

 

Baby and Toddler facilities

Baby Friendly London. The London Aquarium. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities, from Baby-Brain.co.uk

Watching fish

There are changing facilities and toilets dotted around the route inside the aquarium. I didn’t see any specific bottle warming equipment or breastfeeding areas but there are areas you can sit, for example by some of the large display tanks, if you wanted to feed there.

 

Baby Friendly London. The London Aquarium. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities, from Baby-Brain.co.uk

Fish!

Accessibility for prams and those less able to use stairs

There were no steps at the main entrance. If you enter from Waterloo bridge there are steps down to the aquarium, London Eye and general riverside walkway area, but there is a step free entrance if you walk around back and come out facing the London Eye. Walk to the left past the Eye and you will be at the aquarium.
There are lifts to all areas inside the aquarium.  I didn’t have to take any stairs with my pram. Most of it seemed to be on one level but I remember at least one lift that replaces one short flight of stairs, and then a lift at the end up to the gift shop.
There were about 3 small steps as I left the building (going past McDonalds), but maybe there is a step free exit point if you ask staff. I bumped the buggy down the 3 or so steps.

 

Baby Friendly London. The London Eye, River Thames. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities and days out reviewed! from Baby-Brain.co.uk

The London Eye is just “next door” to the Aquarium

 

 

Baby Friendly London – Foyles Bookstore


Baby Friendly London. Places and spaces for baby/toddler to feed, change, stretch, crawl & walk. Our reviews & insightsPlaces to stop off in central London that are baby/toddler friendly!

  • Out and about? Need a place to feed and change?

  • Need a place for baby or toddler to get out of the pram and stretch their legs, run around, have a play?

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Foyles – Bookstore (website)

107 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0DT

  • Nearest stations: Tottenham Court Road, Leicester Square tube
  • Nearby: Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Soho

 

What’s so good about it?

If you need somewhere to stop off, get a coffee, let baby or your toddler toddle about, then this shop has many options. You can look at the books and toys in the children’s section and entertain them for a while, make use of the high chairs in the cafe while you have a refreshing cuppa, and then let them stretch their legs upstairs. Here’s some pictures and further details:

 

  • Good selection of children’s books and book related toys. Children’s area has some bean bags, small tables and chairs to read at

Baby Friendly London. Children's books & toys. Space for baby/toddler to stretch, crawl & walk. Foyles

 

Baby Friendly London. Foyles Bookshop, Children's Books. London & Baby from Baby-Brain.co.uk

Lots of Children’s Books

  • Cafe with highchairs, reasonable selection of food and drinks – Baby and toddler changing facilities on same floor
Baby Friendly London. Foyles Cafe. London & Baby from Baby-Brain.co.uk

Foyles Cafe – lots of tasty food and drinks

  • A good open space up on floor 6.
  • We went up here to let our 13 month old get out of the buggy after a long nap to crawl and toddle around. They use this space for events but events are not a regular occurrence so the space was empty. There is plenty of space up there.
  • As you can see below, especially in the middle picture below, there is a large glass window into the space which overlooks the cafe. Another picture of the fuller space on floor 6 is below
Baby Friendly London. Space for baby/toddler to stretch, crawl & walk. Foyles
The space up on floor 6

upstairs space

  • **update** April 2015 – they now have additional seating for the cafe on this floor. I don’t know if it is temporary or not but there was still space up there to walk/crawl around and look out of the window onto the cafe or out onto the road outside. It was also nice and quiet up there with plenty of table space if you have a few people that need to sit around a table.

 

Baby Friendly London. Foyles Cafe. London & Baby from Baby-Brain.co.uk

Additional table space

  • And how do you get around the shop with a buggy? Why by one of their many, fast, lifts of course

Baby Friendly London. Space for baby/toddler to stretch, crawl & walk. Foyles

 

Safety first: this is obviously a shop and not a children’s play area/provider. Check with staff if you have any safety concerns and always supervise activities closely.

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