How to Engage Babies in Play
Babies’ malleable brains learn about their world at a fast pace, and it’s up to parents and nannies to encourage this learning through developmentally appropriate games. But what games are appropriate for babies? Read on for some ideas:
For Babies Under Three Months:
- Play copycat. Babies love to watch faces, and it’s by doing so that they will learn how to make facial expressions of their own. Hold your baby close and make a face, such as sticking out your tongue or opening your mouth wide. Do this every 15 or 20 seconds, and it’s only a matter of time before the baby begins to mimic you.
- Play ball. You may think babies under three months old can’t play with a ball, but think again. When your baby is able to lie on her stomach and raise her head for a few seconds, roll a colorful ball gently towards her. She’ll concentrate on watching the ball, and may even try to stretch towards it. This will encourage motor skills and help strengthen the neck.
For Babies Under Six Months:
- Play catch. Tie a string around a small stuffed animal and wave it in front of your baby, which will encourage him to try to touch or grab it. This game helps with hand eye coordination.
- Have a conversation. At this age, your baby may be babbling up a storm. Encourage their chattering by repeating the sounds they make, then encourage her to mimic you too. Mix and match sounds your baby makes to see if she will repeat you. This game encourages language skills.
For Babies Under Nine Months:
- Fill it up. Fill a large plastic container with small toys, blocks, balls, plastic cups, etc. Then, let your baby dump it out on the floor and place the items back in the container together. This will help the baby begin to develop concepts about sizes, shapes and weights.
- Create a baby obstacle course. Place pillows on the floor and encourage your baby to crawl over them towards you. Not only will she enjoy the activity, but it will build strength, balance and coordination.
For more fun games to play with your baby, check out this article on Parents.com.
Photo Credit: _Dinkel_/flickr