Fun Games to Play with Babies

Playtime is quite an essential aspect of your baby's life. It aids your child's development and learning abilities that include thinking creatively and interacting socially. Along with physical development, it also helps build emotional skills in your child. Playtime has also been known to ward off stress. To dive deep into how playing benefits your child and what type of games should your child play to improve his skills, keep reading.

How Does Playing Help Babies?

Although playing games with babies has several benefits, here are some major ones:

Cognitive benefits of playing:

  • Helps enhance healthy development and critical thinking skills

  • Helps strengthen memory

  • Helps in realising the cause and effect

  • Helps in the use of senses

  • Helps in encouraging curiosity and exploration

  • Helps motivate to pretend, imagine, and create

  • Helps to conceptualise and brainstorm

Physical benefits of playing:

  • Helps develop motor skills

  • Helps in encouraging movement and understanding of spatial relations

  • Helps improve motor planning skills

  • Helps improve balance and dexterity

Social benefits of playing:

  • Helps in interaction with others

  • Helps in understanding social expectations and rules

  • Helps in sharing thoughts and ideas

  • Helps in listening and compromising

Emotional benefits of playing:

  • Helps in understanding the emotions

  • Helps in processing new concepts easily

  • Helps in building confidence

  • Helps develop identity and self-esteem

Fun Games to Play with Babies

Children play different games depending on their age and interests. Here are some age-wise game ideas for you to play with your baby:

0-3 months

Your baby finds comfort in your smiling face and feels secure when you cuddle and rock her. As your little one turns two months old, she becomes more alert and aware. Her eyes can follow moving objects and people as she enjoys gazing at surroundings. Now, you may wonder what games you can play with your newborn baby who can't sit, crawl, walk, stand, or talk.

You can play peek-a-boo with her – it'll teach her about object permanence. You can also shake rattles or crumble a paper – she'll love listening to the sound and even enjoy hitting various pots and pans. Use colourful and textured objects that'll hold her attention. Try talking to her and let her respond through her coos and smiles. Try the imitation game, where you make an O with your mouth and let her copy you. If she does it, then stick out your tongue and see whether she does that too.

3-6 months

Your baby's vision will have improved by now. You might notice him kicking his legs, bouncing in his seat, batting his arms, or swatting at a hanging toy. Now is a good time to let him enjoy some tummy time. Gently place him on a play mat on his tummy while you're supervising him. Let him play with plush stuffed toys and a teething ring. You can also give him safe roly-poly toys that move back and forth as he knocks them from side to side.

When you lay your baby on his back, gently stretch his arms over his head and make conversations like "How big are you? So big!" He will enjoy watching you repeat the words while moving his arms. Let him see his reflection in the mirror as babies love watching babyfaces. He'll enjoy watching the baby in the mirror moving as he moves. Imitate your baby by repeating the sounds he makes, like cooing. It will help you two bond well.

6-9 months

Your little one has started understanding object permanence a little better. She knows that an object or a person exists even when they leave her sight. You will notice her moving her neck when an object or a toy falls from her hand to the ground. Pick up the toy and hand it to her and watch her throw it back to the ground again.

As your baby's memory is becoming stronger day by day, what made her laugh yesterday can still make her chuckle after days when she sees or hears it again. Try playing peek-a-boo or hide her favourite toy under a blanket while asking, "Where did it go?" and watch her reaction. A modified game of aeroplane can be fun too. Lay her on her back and place her on your shins with her knees bent. Fly her back and forth as you make whooshing sounds. Give her games that have a button which when pushed, has a toy popping up.

9-12 months

Your little one is now aware that he can do most of the playing and eating by himself. You might notice him sitting up on his own, maybe even crawling or trying to stand up. Encourage his independence with enough praises as he will love the attention. Hold your baby in your arms, sing a song or recite a poem as you turn in circles or rock him side to side. You can also create obstacles of pillows or cushions on the floor and teach him how to climb or crawl through them.

12-18 months

As your child grows, her game options increase as well. You will notice your toddler exploring everything that intrigues him, right from the inside of a toy box to the leaves and flowers in the garden. You may also watch him imitating you by placing his play phone near the ear and pretending to chat.

Your child will love bright coloured objects like a soccer ball, cars, blocks, etc. You can give him puzzles or basic artistic supplies to let him explore his creativity. Reading to your toddler regularly and encouraging him to draw or colour will help develop his understanding, cognition, and fine motor skills.

Older children

For pre-schoolers and school-going children, magnetic tiles, puzzles, LEGO sets, or building blocks make for an educational yet fun play. Take your child on trips to the playground to encourage him to run, skip, or cycle. You can also plan a game night with your family and let your kid be a part of it (but in moderation), as playing virtual family games with babies help in development and bonding too. Other great options for play include Simon says, tags, red light-green light, etc.

The Bottomline

Playtime is precious for children, and its benefits can't be ignored. So, run, dance, sing, and play along with your child and have lots of fun!

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