Family Games

5 Ways to Inspire Curiosity Using a Highchair

By: Shama Davis
A baby in a highchair waiting to play games.
Ages 0-2
Critical Thinking
Fine Motor Skills

Looking for ways to keep your baby engaged just before mealtime? Try these 5 low-prep ideas to boost learning.

Measuring Cup “Scoop and Splash” 

Give your cutie a plastic measuring cup and two small plastic bowls or containers, one partially filled with water. Your child will love scooping the H2O and moving it from one container to the other. (Ignore the mess for now—you can clean up later.) 

Variation: Use yogurt, rice or uncooked oatmeal instead of water. Let your baby try scooping with kitchen spoons for a bigger challenge.

Pot and Pan Symphony

Hand over a few pieces of unbreakable cookware and a couple of spoons for your baby to bang or drum noisily. Plastic containers half-filled with dry cereal make merry maracas (don’t forget to tape lids shut). Encourage your tiny musician to perform a capella or flip on soft background music for an orchestral experience.

Looking for ways to keep your baby engaged just before mealtime? Try these 5 low-prep ideas to boost learning.

Ice Block Skating Rink

Fill a small plastic deli container with water, freeze it and then ease it out of the container. Place the ice on a highchair tray and help your baby turn their tabletop into a slip-and-slide surface. (Small pieces of ice can be a choking hazard.) 

Variation: Add food coloring to the pools of water as the ice melts or use two-parts water with three-parts cornstarch to make a goo your baby can squish.

Baby Kitchen Duty 

Give your budding scientist a fresh sponge dipped in a little water. Demonstrate how to squeeze and squish the sponge and how to “wash” the highchair tray. Add a drop of baby bath soap to the sponge (and a bit more water) for some bubbly fun, if your little one is past the mouthing phase.

Edible “Mix and Sort”

Spill a handful of different foods onto the tray for baby to sort or group together. Super-soft canned beans, boiled pasta, room-temperature steamed veggies and tiny pieces of cooked or mushy fruit have interesting colors and textures. Name the foods and describe differences or challenge an older baby to sort by shape or color.

Enjoy meaningful time together and introduce babies and toddlers to their world. It’s never too early!

Shama Davis
By: Shama Davis

Shama Davis is a freelance writer. She has one daughter.