Wondering how to "play" with your baby?
Check out these ideas...
- Engage with a newborn baby by talking about and interacting with the stuffed animal or other object they may be looking at the changing table; moving their legs when they are taking a bath, which causes new sensations; or encouraging them to grab your finger as they are feeding or being held. For example, when your baby is being changed, tell them what you are doing, “I’m gonna take this dirty diaper off, and throw it away! Doesn’t that feel better, cutie?” and “Nice and clean now, aren’t you a little wiggler when you’re happy!?”
- Tummy time is another great moment when you can play with your baby, when he’s several weeks old and beginning to hold up his head on his own. Here you can help them stretch out their muscles and work on their gross motor skills, as they try to reach for items in front of them. This is where the baby will practice his tolerance of healthy stress, as you will be by his side encouraging him to reach for the toys.
- Babies who are between 4 and 7 months old are beginning to sit up and crawl. You can play with them using blocks, mirrors, rattles, keys, and by playing peek-a-boo.
- Once your baby becomes a year old you will notice that you are able to incorporate larger toys and simple cause and effect toys, such as ball machines. Reading also is helpful throughout the child’s lifespan and promotes recognition of words and symbols – even at a very young age. Cuddle together for quiet times with a book — whether it’s bedtime or you’re waiting for an appointment.
- After the first year, your baby will want to exercise her legs and walk more, which means exploring more. You can engage in play that will encourage her to use her new skills of walking, pointing, and picking things up. Toys with buttons or containers with different shapes are fun and engaging at this age. Just be careful of choking hazards.Lastly, when your child is reaching his second year, you can begin to draw with him, as this will assist him with his fine motor skills. Get your toddler to tell his own stories based on the ones you read together, and this, too, will help him develop his creativity and confidence.
Worried your baby isn't responding to your efforts to play? There are local organizations that can help. Fir a free child development assessment, call 211's Help Me Grow program or call Home Safe at 561-383-9871. You can also reach out to a BRIDGES site near you.