Babies learn about the world through sight, sound, touch and other senses. Playing games with your baby is a fun and rewarding way to offer stimulation and, of course, to bond. It also helps them develop various skills.
The library has a variety of resources to give you ideas for playing with your child. Here is a sampling of games you might enjoy. All of them are taken from the books listed below.
For birth to three months:
Stick your tongue out and make noises. Watch as your baby tries to imitate you. Move your tongue in different ways to encourage more imitation.
Place a toy in the baby’s hand and help him close his fingers around it. When he drops it, place it in the other hand and offer praise. Keep repeating this to help him learn to grasp on his own.
When your baby can hold her head up on her own, try gently lifting her into the air, moving her up and down and talking or singing to her. “Flying games” like this help with balance.
For three to six months:
Help your baby clap his hands together while you recite a clapping rhyme such as “Pease Porridge Hot”. This game builds coordination between both sides of the body. In time, he will be able to clap on his own.
Lay your baby on her belly and place toys in front of her. Once she has grabbed some, move the next toy just out of reach to encourage movement. You can move her toward it if she’s having trouble. Practicing this will help with coordination.
Put fun socks or even puppets on her feet. She will grab her own feet more easily this way, and she’ll love it. With the socks off, you can play games like “This Little Piggie.”
Place a stimulating toy on each side of your baby while he is lying on his back. Gently roll him to one side, let him touch and respond to the toy, then roll him to the other side. This encourages him to try rolling on his own.
For six to nine months:
Place wooden blocks or a similar item in your baby’s hands. Sing a song and hold her hands, showing her how to bang along to the music. This helps with coordination and rhythm.
Put soft obstacles on the floor like pillows and toys. Help your baby crawl or scoot through them and over them to develop motor skills.
Let your baby touch various textures; talk about how they feel (soft, rough, etc.). You can also place textured objects in a box that your baby can reach into. This is a good vocabulary building game.
For nine months to one year:
Allow your baby to “finger paint” using pudding on wax paper. Show her how to spread the pudding around, and demonstrate that you can eat it. This is a safe and yummy way to get artistic.
Make a tunnel out of boxes and peek through at your baby. Call to him and encourage him to crawl through to you (you can demonstrate by going through first). This game will build perception skills.
Give your baby ladles and containers in the bath. Show him how to scoop and pour water. You can add floating toys for some extra fun as he explores and tries to catch them. This is good practice for hand-eye coordination.
For more ideas and information, check out any of these books: Games Babies Play by Vicki Lansky. Baby Smarts by Jackie Silberg. Games to Play with Babies by Jackie Silberg. You can also join us for baby and toddler storytime events, where you will learn new songs and rhymes, meet other families and snuggle up with your little one in a fun environment.
Megan is a Children’s Library Assistant at CLP – East Liberty. When she isn’t reading fantasy, magical realism and/or pretty much any children’s book, she enjoys gaming, watching movies and writing fiction, some of which has been published.