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GAMES FOR BABIES

GAMES FOR BABIES
AGED 0-6 MONTHS:

Babies grow up in the blink of an eye but those first 6 months are a particularly amazing time for their development. Although they’re only little, you can continue to support them on all levels: physical, intellectual, and psychological. This is the phase where they gain consciousness of their own bodies, through movement and play and it doesn’t take much to keep them stimulated. All you need are objects that are readily available at home.

What can be done in the first 6 months?

  • Gently rub your baby's body and arms with different fabrics and have them smell different scents. You can aid their sensory development by caressing their skin with silk, wool, cotton, and fluffy fabrics. Introduce them to different scents like orange, vanilla, and lavender.
  • When your baby is able to make sounds, record them and play them back to him/her. Observe how they react to their own sounds. If it stimulates them, record different sounds around the house, like the ringtone of a phone, or music. This exercise will help them distinguish sounds, which will enable them to differentiate different words later on. When the same sounds and word patterns are repeated for babies, they memorize them. The next time they hear the sounds, it will be familiar.
  • Place a toy in front of your baby and then hide it. After hiding it, ask "I wonder where it's gone?" and ask "Is it over here, over there?" as you search for it. Watch your baby's reactions. Watch their development every time you play this game. Will their eyes dart over to the place you hid the toy, or will they try to scoot over there?
  • When your baby is able to lift their head whilst lying on their stomach, you can roll a brightly coloured ball past their field of vision or place their favourite toy just within their reach. While they're lying on their stomach, reaching out to try to touch the ball or toy will strengthen both their arm muscles and neck muscles, as well as being beneficial for sensory development.
  • While your baby is lying on their stomach, take two wooden spoons and tap them together to lure your baby to scoot towards you. Increase the sound as they get nearer. In their fifth and sixth months, as your baby is sitting you can give them the wooden spoons to make noise with. Make sure you supervise their play. Hearing different rhythms and tones will help your baby to recognise and learn new sounds as they grow.

.... And don’t forget, wash your and their hands as recommended by your local health authorities, before and after playing. Avoid touching your face and your baby’s face as much as you can.  

GAMES FOR BABIES AGED 6-12 MONTHS:

  • Musical toys always grab their attention. Put the toy in different parts of the room and turn up the sound. Then ask where the music is coming from. Will they try to find it? If they scoot towards it, change its position to different spots in the room and ask again. If they're able to crawl, then place it somewhere they can reach. These kinds of activities are great for developing cause-effect relationships and increasing their spatial awareness. Make sure you supervise their play.
  • You can start playing with puppets during these months. When you hide them behind your back, do they look for them? Now hide it on top of your baby's head, behind them, or under a pillow, take it out again and talk with it. Then put it in your baby's hands and see what they do. Repeat this game from time to time until they try to imitate you. It's a great game to encourage movement.
  • To improve your baby's climbing ability, create a small, soft climbing area by gradually putting large pillows on top of one another (first 1 then 2 etc.) Put a toy on top of the “ultimate peak” for them to climb and try to reach it. Be sure to carefully supervise your child at all times while climbing. It's a game that helps the development of basic motor skills, facilitating walking later on.
  • 9-10 months is the time to start developing their understanding of inside and outside. Put a toy in a bucket or bag. Then help them take it out. Say the words "in" and "out." You can repeat this game as many times as you like.
  • Get a bunch of different age-appropriate rings or hoops of different sizes and, if possible, different colours. Arrange them in order from smallest to largest and then vice versa. As you arrange them according to size and colour, explain what you're doing. Let your baby hold them and throw them, then retrieve them. This is important for conceptual development.
  • When confined at home, help your baby familiarize him/herself with their environment. As you enter a room together, stop to name the room and explain its function.  The next time, stop at a piece of furniture and explain its features, introduce sounds. Encourage your baby to repeat the sounds you introduce if they can. After they're 10 months old, memory related connections can be established, and these kinds of activities can be very useful.

.... And don’t forget, wash your and their hands as recommended by your local health authorities, before and after playing. Avoid touching your face and your baby’s face as much as you can.