By the time your little one hits the sixth month mark, you will probably be sitting him or her in the high chair for some first tastes of baby foods or table foods. While this can be fun in and of itself, the high chair is great for trying new activities as well! As your baby gets older, the range of activity options increases, and this can also be a great way to keep him or her entertained (and contained!) while you clean up the kitchen or prep a meal.
20 Easy High Chair Activities
Coloring may seem like a no-brainer high chair activity, but there are plenty of options within this option! You could use coloring books, print off coloring pages of your child’s current favorite characters or toys, or keep it simple and use blank sheets of paper. For a mess-free option try a coloring book like this one.
Tape can keep little ones entertained for a surprising amount of time! Place a few pieces of tape on the edge of the high chair or right on your child’s fingers for them to interact with. You could also tape down a few small toys (or spoons!) to the tray for your child to peel off!
While young toddlers aren’t necessarily able to use stencils properly, that doesn’t mean they won’t be entertained by them! This can be a fun one to use in conjunction with coloring.
Glue sticks may require a little extra supervision, but even children as young as 18 months can understand and apply the basic idea of gluing cardboard or paper cutouts to another piece of paper.
Kids love stickers, and the high chair is the perfect place to use them so you don’t end up with new decor on your walls and cabinets! Oftentimes stickers can be a challenge to peel off the sheet, but one way to make it a little easier is to remove the outlining sticky piece.
If finger painting sounds like too much of a mess, try “water” painting! Provide your child with some pieces of colored construction paper, a paint brush, and a small dish of water. They will be delighted at the way the paper changes shades as they paint!
Pom-poms are always a win with toddlers and the options are endless. They can sort them by color or size, soak them in water, transfer them with a spoon from one container to another, or glue them to a piece of paper to name a few.
Play-doh is a classic high chair activity that is always sure to entertain. For extra fun, let your little one use cookie cutters to make shapes or get some fun tools like these.
Your child will be delighted trying to squish frozen peas (or corn) between their little fingers or rolling them around on a high-chair tray!
Best left uncooked, rice can be great fun for little ones to explore. You can try this alongside toys, small bowls, or just on its own!
Uncooked pasta can be used similarly to rice, or, for an older toddler, you can show them how to string macaroni noodles on string for some fine-motor skill development.
Crushed or cubed, ice can be a great sensory experience for the high-chair.
While actual spices are not a very child-friendly option, spice containers can be quite entertaining! If you have plastic spice bottles, let your child play with them in the high chair, shaking them or stacking them.
Add a little bit of food coloring to a container of whipped cream for taste-safe finger paint!
Muffin Tin Sorting
Place a muffin tin on your toddler‘s high chair tray and provide them with a variety of objects to sort. This could be anything from different types of cereal, two different colors of pom-poms or whatever else you have on hand.
Colored Paper Sorting
Pick three or four different colors, and cut out squares of colored paper to place on your child’s high-chair. Put some toys or food items in the same colors on the tray, and show your little-one how to sort them onto the matching paper.
Provide your child with a pot and a wooden spoon to use as a drum and drumsticks. For extra fun, play some music in the background.
Gather a variety of child-safe household items that are magnetic (binder clips, washers, keys, bolts, etc.) along with some magnets (the stronger the better!) and let your child discover the fun of magnetic attraction.
For a super quick high-chair activity, get out some kitchen utensils that your child is less familiar with and let them play!
As with all activities, make sure to pick materials that are appropriate for your child’s age and developmental level, remembering that even the safest of activities still require supervision!
Keeping Toys on High Chair
Keeping toys on the highchair can be quite a challenge! This is especially true when your little one figures out the classic game of “drop it and cry.” Try one of these tools to make high chair time go smoother for everyone.
Edible sand is the perfect crowd-pleasing high chair activity for all ages! There are a couple of different ways to set up this high-chair activity.
- One-ingredient edible sand – For the quickest, safest batch of edible sand, all you need is some crackers, cookies, sugar, or nuts! Use a rolling pin or food processor to turn your food of choice into crumbs, and this activity is ready for your little one to enjoy!
- Two-ingredient edible sand – Mix flour with oil at a ratio of 8:1 (e.g., 4 cups flour, ½ cup water). This option is less taste friendly, but the texture adds the ability to mold the “sand” into shapes.
Regardless of the recipe you choose, this is a great activity to use with small bowls and spoons for scooping or toy cars to drive through the sand.
Water Play Tips
The high-chair is a great place to allow water play without creating too much of a mess. Whether you simply add a thin layer of water to the high-chair tray or provide your child with containers of water, they will be highly entertained!
- Add food coloring! Add a drop or two of food coloring to dish(es) of water for extra excitement.
- Put a towel underneath the high-chair for less mess or try a splash mat for a super easy clean up.
- Play outside! On a warm day, this can be the perfect way to get some fresh air without getting too warm.
- Break out the bath toys! Even if your child plays with his or her bath toys on a daily basis, playing with them in a different location will create a sense of novelty.
- If it’s warm enough, let your child play in just a diaper. This way you don’t create any extra laundry!
Non-Toxic Messy Play
Many high-chair activities naturally lend themselves to being non-toxic, using food or water as the primary sources of fun. However, for messy craft-type activities, here are a few great, non-toxic options!
eco-kids Dough – Safe, USA-made playdough
Green Toys Dough – Organic flour playdough
Honeysticks – Natural beeswax crayons
Gelatin Sensory Bin
To create the perfect gelatin sensory bin for you little one, all you need are a few small toys, a box of gelatin mix, and a plastic bin that will easily fit on your child’s high chair tray.
- Following the instructions on the box to prepare the gelatin.
- Pour the gelatin into the plastic bin.
- Scatter a few of your child’s favorite toys throughout the plastic bin.
- If you anticipate your child eating the gelatin, you may want to wash the toys beforehand!
- If you don’t have any toys appropriate for this activity, you could always use dry pasta or another food item.
- Refrigerate the bin until the gelatin has set.
- Buckle your child in and get ready to have fun!
Sensory bag options are nearly endless and fairly simple to set up! The only supplies you need are a large plastic bag and water or hair gel. To set the bag up, fill the plastic bag with a thin layer of water or hair gel. From here, the options are endless. You can add food coloring, sprinkles, glitter, googly eyes, buttons, rice, stickers, or whatever else you have on hand! If you are concerned about your child tearing the bag, you may want to secure the edges with masking or packing tape, or tape the bag down to the high-chair tray.
While your child might not be thrilled with all the activities you try, the good news is there are plenty more to choose from. The best part is that most activities can be implemented with household supplies or modified to use what you have on hand! High chair activity options are endless and can provide your little one with a fun way to explore and learn through experience!
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