If you have a baby in tow, you are well familiar with their daily routine which is basically – eat, sleep and repeat. After all, infants require longer sleep hours than grown-ups do. So, you must be wondering how can it be possible to do any fun activity with your munchkin. However, in spite of their busy sleeping schedule, if you do manage to squeeze in a few simple fun activities, it would be something amazing to start with. We’ve all heard of the saying, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Even babies need to be engaged to do away with the dullness and monotony. And what’s great is that this will allow you to have some nice playtime with your little one well in advance.
Incorporating play into your newborn’s daily routine isn’t just fun; it is also necessary. When you play with your child, you are engaging all of their senses. This, in turn, can help with their overall development (1). So, without further ado, let’s get started on a few ways in which you can play with your little bundle of joy:
1. Turn Up The Music
Listening to music isn’t just a great pastime; it can contribute to your child’s emotional, intellectual, and physical development! Newborns are extremely sensitive to the sounds around them, so you can get their attention by playing catchy music that they will love. You can also carry them and gently sway them along to the beats and rhythm when you play music. Babies often find the voice of their mothers soothing and comforting, so sing to your child. You could also get musical toys or simple musical instruments such as shakers and chimes. The whole idea is to have fun with your baby, so go ahead and introduce your little one to the beautiful world of music!(2).
This one never gets old! Babies love them because they find it quite amusing how their mommy or daddy disappears behind their hands! In case you’re wondering what peek-a-boo is, it is a classic hide-and-seek game, the baby edition! You can either cover your face with your hands and pretend as if you have disappeared or hide under the cradle and pop up again. The easiest option, though, is to stay where you are and cover your baby’s eyes with your hands and give them the impression that you have disappeared. No matter how you choose to play the game, your baby will enjoy it, and so will you!
3. Give Them Different Items To Hold And Play
Your baby has been cooped up in your tummy for nine months — they aren’t exactly exposed to many views or objects in there. However, when they step out into the world, there are so many things for them to explore! Introduce them to different colors and textures. Let them feel the various surfaces and textures of each piece of fabric. Give them objects of different shapes and sizes, and show them all the vibrant colors that exist. You can also introduce them to different sounds by getting them toys that make noise or by using a few safe objects around the house. Playing with different things can also help develop your child’s fine motor skills and cognitive development (3), (4).
4. Don’t Forget Tummy-Time
Babies spend so much time sleeping on their backs; they don’t get to see the world from any other angle, at least until they have learned to turn around on their own. You can play with your baby as they lie on your tummy, facing towards you. The best thing about tummy time is that it can help develop and strengthen your baby’s neck, shoulders, and back. It can also help maintain the shape of your baby’s head. What’s more, your baby will also learn to crawl better when you introduce them to tummy time. However, make sure you do tummy time with your baby when they have an empty stomach or at least not when they have just eaten. If you do this soon after they’ve eaten, you may have to deal with a puke storm all over your face.
5. Read Them Stories And Rhymes
Phonemic awareness is the ability of an individual to differentiate, identify, and manipulate sounds or phonemes when words are being spoken — reading to babies can help with this. We’ve mentioned before that babies love listening to their mothers. Pick a good book, one that has stories for babies, and read them to your child in an animated voice. You could also spend time with your baby by reading them rhymes and short poems. Such activities aren’t just fun; they can help your baby in so many ways too. For example, it can help improve your child’s listening skills and develop phonemic awareness (5) (6). Though they may not understand the story fully, they will get curious about the various sounds and develop a keen ear for narration
6. Face-Time For Babies!
When we say “facetime”, we aren’t exactly asking you to get on a video call with your child. What we mean is that you should spend some time each day showing your child different facial expressions. You could laugh, make goofy faces, or make funny sounds and change your facial expressions accordingly. Chances are, that your little one will find some of these expressions hilarious and start laughing in excitement. Children are always fascinated by facial expressions, so they will enjoy playing with you.
Spending time with your baby and playing with them can be one of the most precious things to do. Your baby won’t remember much of it, but when you look back at these moments after several years, it will truly bring a smile to your face. And you can always record some of these moments on your phone camera and keep them safe to watch now and then. What are some ways in which you play with your baby? Share them with us in the comments below!
- The Power of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young Children
- Musical intervention enhances infants neural processing of temporal structure in music and speech
- The Relation Between Infants Activity with Objects and Attention to Object Appearance
- Not Just Playing Around: Infants’ Object Behaviors Reflect Ability Constraints and Object Properties
- Early storybook reading and childhood development: A cross-sectional study in Iran
- Phonological Awareness as the Foundation of Reading Acquisition in Students Reading in Transparent Orthography