How to Play with Your Baby: Games to Play with Babies
Seeing delight in your baby’s eyes and hearing him laugh are reasons enough to enjoy playing with him. However, there is an even better reason to enjoy playing with him, it also helps his development.
By just three years of age, 85% of your baby’s brain is formed. Experiences that are repetitive, consistent, predictable and nurturing can promote the healthy development of your little one’s brain, but new and different experiences, like the ones had during play, are also important in shaping your baby’s development.
As you play with your baby, engage all of his senses: eyes, ears, nose, hands and mouth. These are the tools that he uses to explore and learn about the world.
To engage all his senses try some of the following games.
A baby learns to talk by imitating the sounds we make. Studies show that infants who are spoken with have larger vocabularies by age 2, and the number of words your little one hears by the age of 3 is linked to his future academic success.
Encourage your baby to engage with you by cooing and talking with him. When doing this, praise him when he copies you. When reading him a story, show him that pushing a button makes a noise, like a duck quacking or how to turn the pages of a book.
When you are dressing or diapering your baby play peek-a-boo. At first he will show his delight by paying close attention. As he develops, he may smile, make sounds, and kick his legs. At around 9 months, he will begin to find you and pull away the diaper or clothing.
Song and Dance
If you have a favorite song that your mother sang to you continue the tradition and sing it to your baby. Don’t self-conscience about your voice. Your baby loves to hear you. Dance around when singing to keep him engaged. Listen to different types of music and find out what your baby likes best.
A ball is a great toy to help your baby explore with all his senses. If you can, offer your baby a ball with different colors and textures. Encourage him to play with the ball and roll it back and forth. Let him discover what he can do with the ball. Go outside and bounce it against a wall or pavement.
As your baby gets older and grows, he learns to use his body to explore the world. He will also start to reach and grasp for items, allowing him to interact with his toys in different ways.
At the age of 9 months, your baby will understand cause and effect. So, he will understand that if he pushes a button in his book that a duck will quack. In addition, he will comprehend that things he can’t see still exist. You are still behind his t-shirt even though he can’t see you.
By his first birthday, he will be communicating with you using his gestures, facial expressions, sounds and perhaps even some words.