Sweaty Mommy Survival Guide Tip #17: Use Sensory Play for a Busy Baby During Your Workout
We all want to get our workout in. Sometimes we use those precious nap time hours (eerrr…ummm…minutes) to get it in. But sometimes, the babe wakes up early, and sometimes, we’re too focused on basic things like eating, sleeping, showering, and folding never-ending piles of laundry to do anything resembling a workout.
But we still want to workout. And the babe is awake.
So what do you do? Push it off until tomorrow? No way, that #mombod ain’t going to build itself.
First things first, give yourself grace, a workout with a baby is going to be different. You will most likely get interrupted at some point. There is a good chance a baby will end up on top of you. And an even greater chance you may end up using said baby for your “weights.” And that’s OK because a ten-minute workout is better than no workout at all.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t at least try and distract the baby to get a full workout in.
Here are a few fun sensory play ideas I use to try and distract my 17 month-old while getting in a workout.
If the baby is happy, the mama is happy.
Distraction #1 Two-ingredient Edible Sand
This will take you 2 minutes to prep!
All you need is 4 cups flour (I used whole wheat to give it more of a “sandy” look but you can use any flour) and 1/2 cup melted coconut oil. Get your hands in there and mix mix mix it up.
That’s literally all you have to do. Is that simple or what?
I put our sand into these large tubs with some measuring cups and toy trucks. This is great for their fine motor skills as they learn to scoop up the sand and pour it into a bucket or truck.
Distraction #2 Shaving Cream on the window
Yep. That’s it. Shaving cream + window.
Workout in a room where there is a window for your little one to play on. Give them a paint brush or just let them use their hands. It may seem messy but the clean up is pretty easy, and I promise your windows will actually end up much cleaner in the end.
Distraction #3 Water Play
Water play is probably the easiest thing to put together, and yet it’s always my baby’s favorite thing to play with. This can be as simple as just grabbing a bucket or tray of water and letting them splash around in it, or you can add bubbles, floating toys, colors, cups, etc. The options are endless.
Sensory play supports coordination, dexterity, and muscle strength. By providing a variety of baby-friendly, open-ended activities through various every-day materials, they have the opportunity to discover how their senses work through imagination-based play and new experiences. Head on over to RunLikeKale for more play ideas.
Someday this may work for 30 minutes, and some days it will only work for two. I try and have multiple things out for my baby while I workout to keep him entertained, but in the end I have to learn to be flexible and patient. I’ll take half a workout over no workout any day. I still count that as a mom win.
Angela Smith is a new mom trying to navigate this crazy, fun, scary, hilarious, uncharted territory while keeping a tiny human alive and maybe enjoying a cup of coffee that hasn’t had to be reheated 10 times…maybe. Once upon a time, her blog RunLikeKale used to be all about fantastic nutritious adult recipes and her rigorous running life, back when there was time for all that. Now you'll find her blogging about baby food and incorporating your baby into your workout. Oh, how the times have changed. Come hang out with her on Instagram @RunLikeKale.