Did you know that the simple business of playing with your baby can help promote bonding and boost development, as well as being a great way for you to relax and enjoy each other's company? Even as a newborn, your baby will respond to opportunities to 'play' with you - so it's never too early to start! We have same great ideas for baby games you can play to get your baby interacting and having fun at the same time.
Playtime with your 0-3 month-old
- Make eye contact with your baby. Smile and pull faces, poke out your tongue and a blow a raspberry. If she's in the right mood, she'll find it hugely amusing and will try to copy you. This is known as baby mirroring.
- Newborns love to be touched, so include tickling, massage, and toe-counting in your playtimes!
- Don't forget that talking and singing to your baby are vital ways of boosting her language and communication skills. So it's never too early for rhymes and action games, such as 'This little piggy'.
- Find the right time to play with your baby. Wait until a moment when she's relaxed but alert, and isn't tired, hungry, overstimulated or irritable.
- In the first month or two, your baby won't appreciate toys that much (however many she may have been showered with as gifts at birth). But she might enjoy looking at the shapes and colors of a mobile or cot bumper, especially if they're in bold colors or in black and white designs as these are easier for babies to see. Baby gyms and textured play mats are also great idea, and will usually buy you a few valuable moments to get the odd job done as well as providing interest and stimulation for you baby. Be wary though - once she starts to roll over you'll need to keep a careful eye out.
Playtime with your 3-6 month-old
- Now that her grabbing and grasping skills are coming on, your baby will start to make the most of some of those toys she's got. She'll love to explore anything that's brightly colored, noisy, or highly textured, and anything with a mirror is likely to be popular as she'll love to see her own reflection.
- Your baby may become attached to a special soft toy or doll now - a favored toy like this can become a comfort object, and a useful aid to settling her at night. (The flipside is that if she wakes and it's out of her reach you might have to get up to help her find it. Worse still, it could get lost altogether!)
- Place toys just out of her reach and you'll encourage her to roll over, later, crawl.
- Bath time is a great opportunity to play! Give her a selection of appropriate toys, or just make your own fun with pouring, splashing and singing games. Try blowing bubbles - your baby will be mesmerized and it's likely to begin an interest in this simple childhood pleasure that will last a long time. Don't forget to make sure she's always firmly supported in the bath and never leave her unsupervised for even a second.