Activities to Do with Your Baby
October 8, 2021When your new bundle of joy arrives home, there will no doubt be tons of family and friends goo-goo-ing and ga-ga-ing to help keep your baby occupied. But what happens when your guests leave, and you have hours to fill? We’ve compiled a list of how to play with a new baby, including developmentally stimulating activities in their first year.
Why Playtime is So Important
Newborns are eager to experience the new world around them, and play is the first step in learning about their surroundings. Playing with your baby is important for their overall development and well-being, and most importantly, it’s an opportunity to bond. When you play together, your little one will quickly come to recognize you as a source of comfort, protection, and calm.
Make Funny Faces and Sounds
The first type of play for newborns starts with facial expressions, sounds, and touch. Spend time smiling at your baby, laughing, rolling your eyes, sticking out your tongue, blowing raspberries, and making goofy faces. Your baby will love watching your face.
Singing and chatting are other great forms of interactive play. Contrary to popular belief, baby talk is a good thing! The exaggerated pitch and melody are higher and more animated than normal talk, which grabs baby’s attention.
Reading is another opportunity for bonding and learning. It’s never too early to start reading to your baby. Nursery rhymes with their sing-song language patterns help babies hear and learn the sounds and syllables in words.
Touch has an important role in playtime as well. Tickle and count baby’s little toes, stroke their face or tummy, or move their tiny hands in circular motions. All of these activities increase their alertness and aid in early development of physical and communication skills.
Introduce Age-Appropriate Toys
To help baby build important skills, introduce some simple, safe toys that they can hold on to or pass from hand to hand. Start with age-appropriate toys that appeal to the senses, such as:
- Learning cubes
- Textured toys
- Musical toys or toys that make sounds
- Peekaboo mirror
Interactive Cards and Games
An array of toy manufacturers and nonprofit organizations work with child development experts, pediatric physical and occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists to design interactive games and activities that nurture babies’ intellectual, emotional, and physical development. For some ideas, check out Curious Baby. It offers activity card decks that include more than 40 developmentally stimulating activities. Each card contains an activity (like baby situps), a why-it-matters section, clear activity instructions, and helpful illustrations. Pathways.org provides free games and resources to maximize all children’s motor, sensory, and communication development. It offers weekly milestone activities delivered right to your inbox.
Playtime doesn’t have to last hours on end. When you set aside a little time each day to interact with your little one, not only are you encouraging their development, you’re having fun too!
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