Play is an important part of your baby’s day! It helps children learn naturally about ways to express themselves and about how the world works. For babies, play is not just about toys, it’s about back-and-forth interactions between a child and their caregiver. These interactions help adults and babies feel more connected to each other. They are also good for introducing babies to early literacy skills that will benefit them in the future when they’re ready to learn to read.
You can start play with even the smallest of babies and the best time to play is when baby is alert and awake. Start with simple activities, such as “Peek-a-Boo” or “Pattycake” and introduce more complicated fingerplays, songs and action rhymes as babies get older.
Other things you can do with your baby:
- Let young babies explore objects that are safe, such as board and cloth books, age approved rattles, and fabric scarves. Older babies will have fun with measuring cups, empty boxes, and soft toys. Since babies put everything in their mouths, make it’s clean.
- Place your baby so that they can kick or hit at a mobile or rattle. Not only is making noise really fun, the baby is making a connection in their brain that striking the object makes a sound (cause-and-effect).
- Sit with your baby in front of a mirror and make funny faces. Talk to your baby as you look into the mirror and remember to laugh and have fun!
- Babies that are sitting up love to play in the water while you watch. Put a small tub outside, add some water and water-proof toys and let them splash and play in their own private pool.
“How to Play with Babies” (Zero to three.org)
“Stages of Play from Birth to 6 Months: A Full-Body Experience! (Zero to three.org) Learn how infants and toddlers develop play skills from birth to 3, and what toys and activities are appropriate for their age.