How to Play with a Baby
Babies go through many developmental stages in the first year. There are different ways to play with these babies at all of these various stages. Baby toys are fun for both parents and babies, but you don’t always need toys to play with your baby. Here is how to play with your baby at almost any age without the assistance of toys or games.
Making Baby Faces
At her earliest stages, your baby needs to learn faces and facial expressions. So prop her on your knees or lie over her on your bed or a blanket. Then just make faces at her. Smile, make a big O with your mouth, stick out your tongue, etc… Not only will she be amused and fascinated, you might also be rewarded with a returned smile.
Object permanence is another major developmental milestone for babies. Fortunately, there is a great way to play that helps baby learn it and enjoy it. Peek-a-boo! Hold a blanket, washcloth or burp cloth in front of your face. Then, say something along the lines of, “Where’s Mommy?” Pull the blanket away, smile at your baby and say, “Peek-a-boo!” This is a game that young babies enjoy as well as toddlers.
Babies of all ages like to look at things and take tours. Very young babies can be fascinated by taking a guided tour of the backyard or looking at all the pictures on the walls. Older babies love to look at nature and interesting objects, and who better to guide them through their discoveries than you! Take your baby new places, hold her up to see, and explain to her what everything is. She might not be able to talk yet, but she is storing up the words and closeness.
Talking and Singing
Most babies simply love the sound of their parents’ voices. So one of their favorite games is simply talking and singing. Talking to your newborn or infant is stimulating. Older babies enjoy songs with hand motions and funny rhymes or activities. The more you talk and sing to your baby, the better exposure she is getting to language skills. And of course, she is interacting with you in a fun way, which she loves.
Older babies love to play airplane. Lay on your back with your knees in the air like a dying bug. Place your baby tummy down on your legs so that her head is by your knees and she is looking at your face. Grab her sides or her arms (depending on age), raise your legs up to a level position and let her “fly.” Move your legs gently to simulate flight, but be sure to hold on tight as your baby can jerk suddenly and fall.