You’ve fed her, changed her, dressed her, and even read her a picture book…now what? Days with an infant can be a challenge, especially before baby is mobile and really able to do much. As a stay-at-home mom with three young children, I’ve often asked myself about what I can do with my baby next. Traditional baby games don’t get much press, but in fact, they’re often the perfect way to pass the time with an infant. In addition, they offer invaluable learning opportunities for you and your child.
Peek-a-boo helps baby learn about object permanence, and there’s no end to the delight it can provide for a baby! Instead of merely covering your or baby’s eyes and surprising them, consider playing peek-a-boo with objects, too. Place an item in a box, and say peek-a-boo when you take the item out. Or, hide something behind a blanket and when you pull the blanket off, smile and say peek-a-boo at the revealed toy or object.
Infants absolutely love mirrors and taking time to examine the baby staring back at them. If you have a plastic mirror, consider laying it on the floor for baby to look at. Alternately, hold baby in front of the bathroom mirror. Ask questions like, “Where’s the baby? Do you see the baby?” to entertain and engage your infant. “Sesame Street”has a cute song called “Who’s That Baby Looking in the Mirror?” that my children have always loved and we sing it while looking in the mirror together.
Hand games like pat-a-cake help baby develop their hand/eye coordination. In addition, because it’s sung, pat-a-cake is the perfect choice to catch baby’s attention. Many people end pat-a-cake by clapping their hands, which is a great skill for young babies to work on as well. Sing and play this hand game with your infant on a daily basis and you’ll get plenty of smiles and giggles from the familiar tune.
Color and Counting Games
Even from a young age, parents are teaching their children at every turn. When you are playing with your baby, you can turn anything into a game by focusing on one basic skill. Color and counting games are perfect because you can play them while interacting with baby’s toys as you would on a daily basis. These are perfect from the point that baby is sitting up unassisted. Ask baby questions about finding an item of a certain color, and then pick it up and say, “There it is, there’s the blue block!” Then give item to your son or daughter. Do the same with counting-“Let’s find one block. Here it is! We found one block.” It might not seem like a game to you, but your child will love it and begin learning about counting or colors at the same time.
How big is baby?
Get baby active by playing this classic game, found in Pat the Bunny. Ask the question and then raise baby’s arms up over her head when you respond for her, “So big!” Though you might not realize it, you’re also working on introducing baby to her name, which she should be able to identify and turn towards between 6-9 months old. Plus, she’ll love playing (or watching you play).
My children have always loved making music, even as infants. We often turned our music into games, simply by taking turns and playing together. You don’t need to pull out real instruments-give baby a rattle or a spoon and a cup and show her how to bang the objects together (a great skill for about 6 months old). Play music together while singing a song. Your infant will love this fun, musical opportunity that gives her the opportunity to be loud and laugh with mommy and daddy!
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