As a new parent, you have the difficult task of figuring out how to entertain your baby. Finding fun and engaging ways to play is essential for your baby’s development and growth. Playtime not only helps a baby build and strengthen relationships with their parents, but also contributes to their physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development. Here are ten fun and engaging ways to play with your baby that provide numerous benefits, as well as the importance of play for babies and how to incorporate it into your routine.
What are the benefits of play for babies?
Playing with your baby helps them learn about the world around them, develop mental and physical skills, and explore emotions. It helps build confidence and encourages creativity. As infants learn through exploration, playing games with them helps them build motor skills, develop language skills, and later on, helps them work on problem-solving skills, among many other cognitive benefits.
Playing with your baby also helps strengthen the bond between parent and child. During playtime, parents can give babies the time and attention they need, reinforcing the belief that the world is a safe and friendly place. You can also introduce a vocabulary of words to your baby through play, helping foster language development. Additionally, encouraging social skills like sharing and taking turns during playtime will help your baby learn how to cooperate with others.
10 Fun and Engaging Ways to Play With Your Baby
This is an age-old classic game. Peek-A-Boo is a fun way to help babies understand object permanence, which refers to their ability to understand that objects still exist even when out of sight. While covering your face with a blanket, scarf, or your hands, surprise your baby by saying “Peek-A-Boo!” and then revealing your face. And get ready to play this game over and over and over again.
Another classic baby game, hide-and-seek is great for babies six months and up. Hide your toys in small boxes, under a blanket, or beside a pillow and then let your baby go on a mission to find them. This game is just as fun as it is beneficial. Not only will your baby be developing their gross motor skills as they move around to look for the toys, but they’ll also get a chance to use their memory and problem-solving skills by recalling the locations of hidden objects.
Singing is a great way to engage your baby’s senses. Whether it’s a lullaby to help soothe them, or a silly tune to get them giggling, singing to your baby involves rhythm, which helps them develop auditory skills. You can also use hand and arm motions while you’re singing, helping them explore and strengthen their coordination skills.
4. Bubble Play
Tiny bubbles are a great sensory experience for babies. Choose a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors to draw your baby’s attention to the bubbles and use them as toys. Babies will love reaching for the bubbles and watching them pop, helping them build hand-eye coordination as well as recognizing shapes.
5. Imaginary Play
Imaginary play isn’t just for older children. Babies can start to develop their own imaginations from a young age. Make up stories with different characters, or use everyday objects like a set of keys or a spoon as props to act out different scenarios. This type of playing helps a baby’s brain development, as they learn to think flexibly and creatively.
6. Read Aloud
Reading helps a baby’s language development and literacy skills. Choose books with a lot of pictures, pointing out and describing the different images for your baby to help them associate the words with the objects. As your baby grows, continue with this game and ask questions that require simple answers to help their language and thinking skills.
7. Follow the Leader
Having your baby imitate you is a great way to help them develop their small motor skills as they start to gain control of their movements. Put your hands together and do a clapping motion and have your baby do the same, or show them what different facial expressions you can make and see if they can imitate you.
8. Baby Yoga
Baby yoga is gaining attention as a great way to bond with your baby through a gentle form of exercise. Poses such as the Forward Stretch and the Plank help toddlers build their strength, while tummy time helps them strengthen their core. Some poses may need to be adjusted based on their age and stage.
This game involves having your baby follow simple verbal commands. Point to different body parts and have them name and point to them. You can also ask them to do more complex moves like jumping or twirling and have them copy you.
10. Water Play
Babies are incredibly curious about water. Fill up a shallow basin and provide fun toys, like floating ducks or beach balls, and let them explore. This can also become a fun bath-time activity before actual bathtime. Don’t forget to keep an eye on your baby’s safety.
Playtime not only helps a baby develop physically, but it also helps them grow emotionally, socially, and cognitively. As a new parent, finding ways to engage and entertain your baby can be overwhelming. However, by following the ten fun and engaging ways to play with your baby mentioned above, you can provide your baby with the time and attention they need to develop their skills and explore the wonders of the world.