Infants need play time too!
You are your baby’s first toy!
Play time is important for infants too! Infants play by moving, by looking (especially you and that funny face), by exploring with hands, feet, and mouth, and by interacting physically (a little tickle), emotionally, and verbally. The time your baby spends playing with you is invaluable. You don’t have to “teach” as you play, your baby is learning by just interacting with you! You are your baby’s favorite toy!
Let your baby look at you!
Your baby is completely enthralled with YOU! Look at your baby and make silly faces. You will be amazed by your sweet baby trying to imitate some of your silly faces! Smile, coo, stick your tongue out…your baby will love it! If your baby keeps looking away, then he or she may have had enough of your silly face for a while, be careful not to over stimulate. This little game stimulates your baby’s social, visual, and emotional development. This teaches your baby ways to seek and receive your attention and affection. Who knew that you could be entertained by just looking at your baby! You and Dad have a new evening entertainment!
Play with touch!
Who doesn’t want to touch that soft baby skin? Touch your little one with different textures. Tissues, a blanket, the tip of your finger, a cotton ball…explore different touches across your baby’s tummy or cheeks. Talking makes this even more fun for your baby. “Doesn’t that tickle? OOOh feel good?” Watch your baby and you will be able to tell what his favorite is. Soon your little one will start to kick and get excited when you just start to touch his little belly. Touch teaches sensory awareness, verbal interaction and body awareness.
Give your baby something to look at.
A mobile is a great first toy for your child. It can be colorful or black and white with some accents of red, but your baby will love watching it! Be sure to take the mobile down once your child can reach it or is starting to try to sit up. The mobile provides visual stimulation and spatial awareness for your baby.
Try a little singing.
No, you can’t tell if your baby has a singing voice yet, 🙂 but your little one loves the sound of your voice. He or she has heard your voice even before birth! Put your baby in the center of the room and walk around the room singing and talking or making funny noises. Your baby will begin to look for where you are! Combine a little “Peekaboo” with it! Your baby will love it. This will help your baby develop listening skills and it helps develop a sense of trust in you as you disappear and come back!
Take your child on a tour.
Your home and backyard may be familiar to you, but your baby will love the change in scenery. Carry your baby around the house and you will find all kinds of neat things. Talk about what you see and what things do. Light switches are amazing! Head outside and discover the grass, the leaves, brush a flower across your little one’s cheek, introduce your child to the world! New sights, sounds and textures are exciting for your baby, and talking about them builds language skills too! Introducing your baby to the world may just help you appreciate the little things again too!
The oldies but goodies…all the finger plays you used to know.
Games like Peek-a-boo, So Big, Patty Cake, This Little Piggy, Itsy Bitsy Spider are fun for you and your baby. These finger plays and songs teach socialization skills, fine motor skills, object permanence, and are just plain fun. If you don’t remember these oldies but goodies, look them up online or check out a book at the library.
Make an obstacle course.
Your new little crawler will love to crawl over and under things. Get those pillows and cushions off the couch and start encouraging your baby to climb up and over, crawl, and tumble. This is fun and helps build gross motor skills and coordination. It might get your little one good and tired for a great nap too!
Try the fill and dump game.
Once your baby is sitting up and is developing some hand coordination, filling and dumping will be a favorite activity. Stacking cups, measuring cups, plastic containers all work well to fill up with water in the bathtub, sand, blocks, raw rice or any item that can be scooped up and dumped. Your baby will work on fine motor control, hand-eye coordination, and words like “full” “pour” “all gone” “empty” and others.
Stacking and knocking over.
Stacking will soon become the next fun activity. Those same stacking cups can be used to build a tower and knock it down. Blocks, stacking rings, plastic cups, books…anything can be used to stack and knock over. This helps with fine motor development and cause and effect.
These are just a few examples of the type of play your infant will love the first 12 months of life. Don’t rush out and buy lots of expensive toys, you will be your child’s favorite toy these first few months. There is no rush to “get ahead”; your child will learn all that he or she needs to learn with simple play. The pressure to get ahead often takes away the most valuable tool for learning…play. Be a kid again and fill your child’s day with play! Have fun!
What is your favorite activity with your infant? Post some of your ideas!
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Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.
- Posted in: Becoming a parent ♦ Education ♦ Enjoying parenting ♦ Fun activities for kids ♦ Growth and Development ♦ Language development ♦ Parent/child communication
- Tagged: educational toys, enjoying parenting, free play, growth and development milestones, importance of play, infant, infant play, infant stimulation, language development, language deveopment, play, toddler, toys