Some people think that playing with babies can be difficult because they don’t seem to do much. In actuality, it’s really easy and so important for them!
For the really little ones:
- Give them space to figure things out. Babies will learn to roll, sit, and walk without being taught…it’s just something they figure out on their own. However, they need space to figure it out! Give them lots of un-harnessed floor time during the day. Take them out of the car seat, bouncy seat, or swing. Lay out a blanket and watch what they do. It’s so much fun to see a baby figure out their little body and how they interact with their world.
- Talk to them. Studies have shown that newborns already prefer their native language to other languages after just two days after birth! It’s also been proven that the key to how children learn to talk, and whether they have a large vocabulary, is talking with them! Don’t just make baby sounds…actually talk to them.
- Make faces at them! A baby’s favorite thing to do is look at their parents. Minutes after they are born babies start scanning and memorizing their parent’s faces. They are great a mimicking facial expressions, so smile or stick out your tongue at your baby. You will notice that they will try to mimic you. This task is great for socialization, and their visual and emotional development. Plus, it’s wonderful for attachment.
Over 3 months old:
Babies really start interacting more around 3 months old. Now is the time to start giving them toys to play with. You don’t have to buy a bunch of toys. Objects like wooden spoons and cups can provide loads of learning experiences and hours of fun.
J 9 months old with a Nestle Tollhouse Bag. He played with this bag for MONTHS!
Here are some activities you can provide for your infant.
11 Month old in a pool full of tinsel from Play at Home Mom
J at 8 months old in a ball pit
7 Month old painting with yogurt from Play at Home Mom
Baby’s first sensory tub from No Time for Flashcards
(She has some wonderful activities for infants…check it out)
Sensory experiences with babies (and all children) is so important because it teaches them about objects in their world and how to manipulate them. It is also great for self-esteem, cognitive development, fine motor and large motor skill. We’ll get more into sensory play later on in the month.
Activity #3: Yogurt Painting for ALL Ages!
This activity is wonderful for every age, so try it today! If you don’t have yogurt, you can use, whipped cream, pureed foods, or regular finger paint…here’s a recipe to make it at home. I’m sure there’s a ton of other gooey stuff you can use…any ideas?
If you’re afraid of the mess here are some pointers.
- Strip your child down to his diaper
- Put the yogurt in a cookie sheet to protect the table
- Cover the floors with plastic (Iike a cheap plastic table cloth)
- Do it in the bathtub so you can clean the child and rinse away the mess away!
Hope you have a blast!
Stay Tuned for Tomorrow: Pre-Toddler (12-18months) Play
So much good info here! I think we often underestimate what a baby can do, so it’s good to have these great ideas at hand.
I know my 2 year old would just love the yogurt activity. she still puts everything in her mouth.
I am loving the play ideas, and so are my kiddos! For ooey gooey play we used applesauce and peanut butter, and I gave them spoons …. they LOVED that! Kira