Thursday, July 3, 2008

Playing with Your Baby

I wrote a post on this awhile back. While that post focused on birth to 6 months, this one will focus some games to play with your child from birth to 12 months. Just a few ideas for when it seems like you can't possibly think of anything new to do with your little one.

Birth to 3 months:
  • Dance with your baby- the movement is soothing and the changing view will exercise their eyes and depth perception
  • Introductions- carry baby around the house and point out new and interesting items. Talk about how things work, what they look like, and how and why you use them.
  • Vocab builders- with baby's hand, touch objects around the room, explaining, the teddy is soft, the ice is cold, the blanket is smooth.
3 months to 6 months:
  • Mockingbird- sit face to face with your child, making new and interesting sounds. Take turns teach and learning from your child. Make sounds back to your child when they repeat as well.
  • Mirror- lay face to face with your child while he is on his tummy. Continue the interaction from mockingbird. Sing or talk to your child. Demonstrate how to push up the upper body from the floor. Advance to demonstrate pulling your knees under your body.
  • Finger play- sing various songs with your child such as: the wheels on the bus, itsy-bitsy spider, 3 little monkeys, patty cake, etc, moving his hands to the song.

6 months to 9 months:
  • Packing and unpacking- seat your child on the floor with a suitcase in front of them. Together fill it with interesting objects: balls of different sizes, sensory blocks, stuffed animals, books, etc. Allow your child to figure out how to pick things up and place them, packing and unpacking as he discovers new things to explore. You can also use a bucket, basket, or Tupperware drawer for this activity.
  • Activity boards- sit with your child, exploring the different activities that a board can provide. For tips on how to make one for older ages, see A Place of Our Own.
9 months to 12 months:

  • Hide 'n' seek- play hide 'n' seek with your child, either by playfully hiding somewhere in the room and watching or by hiding a favorite toy in the room for your child to find.
  • Object permanence- place an object under a small blanket. Pull the blanket back to reveal the object, cheerfully saying "Peekaboo." Repeat as long as baby is interested, asking "Where did it go?" and exclaiming, "There it is!"
  • Feeding- Pour a handful of Cheerios onto the high chair tray and make shapes and designs with your child. Talk about shapes, texture, and even sound as you "munch" away.
  • My Body- cover your eyes while your child watches, saying "Mommy's eyes." Then reach over to cover your child's eyes, saying "Big Boy's eyes." Repeat with ears, mouth, nose, arm, toes, etc.
And just a few things to keep in mind:
  • It's never too early to start reading to your child. They will love spending the snuggle time with you and hearing the flow of language is great for their development.
  • Exersaucers, johnny jumpers, walkers, etc are great tools, just be use that your child is physically ready for them first and you've taken the necessary safety precautions, particularly with walkers.
  • Be sure to get outside and talk about your neighborhood with your child as well. Talk about colors, sounds, textures and sights as you take walks, get groceries, or head to the park.

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