Games

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Got nothing after "This Little Piggy"? Ramp up your repertoire with these games that are sure khổng lồ delight your baby (and you!).

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In the early weeks, enjoying your newborn consists mostly of gazing at her while she sleeps or nurses (since that’s what she spends almost all of her time doing!). But before long, she becomes more wakeful và interested in the world around her—and you’ve got some entertaining lớn do. “Babies need a variety of experiences,” explains Jan Blaxall, an early years specialist và trainer in London, Ont. “And the key ingredient in their play is one-on-one attention from you.” Here are some fun ideas to lớn get you started with baby games.

1. Splish, splash

Water has such a joyful, relaxing effect on children — feel miễn phí to take advantage any time of the day. Your baby can go right in the tub (with you, if you’d like!) as you use your hands, sponges và funnels khổng lồ splash water on different parts of his body. When your baby can sit up, spread a vinyl tablecloth on the floor & set out a shallow pan of water with lots of cups, sponges, spoons và maybe his own baby khổng lồ wash. (Even with small amounts of water, never leave your child unattended during water play—not even for a second.)

2. Shake, rattle and roll

Fill empty water bottles with interesting things — rice, buttons, Jell-O, water mixed with liquid soap, food colouring or oil. (Be sure lids are tightly secured with packing tape and that your child can’t chew through the bottle.) Crawlers will love chasing after a two-litre pop bottle half-filled with coloured water, as it rolls along the floor.

3. Outdoor adventures

Some days it may seem like a lot of effort just lớn get outside, but don’t underestimate the positive effect a little fresh air has on your baby—and you. “When you get out of the house, you stop thinking about all the jobs that need to lớn be done, and become more attuned lớn your baby,” Blaxall says. Lift your baby out of the stroller, pull a leaf off a tree and let him feel it. Put his hand on the tree trunk. If the area is clean, put him on the grass và let him feel around. Doing this gives babies a sense of what their world is made of, instead of just what they see, Blaxall explains. Provide narration for your days, naming the things you see và hear (“Oh look, there’s a car. Vroom, vroom!”) so your baby starts to lớn pick up words & connect them khổng lồ objects.

4. Rock và roll

Your big exercise ball doesn’t have lớn collect dust until you get back into workout mode. Use the ball for all your baby’s stages — it’s a soft, bouncy place for you to lớn sit while holding her (you get a little light ab work at the same time). Or use the ball for your baby’s tummy time. Hold her securely on top of the ball with both your hands và roll her very slightly in different directions. Once your baby’s on the move, she’ll love pushing this huge ball around on the floor và chasing after it.

5. Peekaboo 2.0

Covering your face with your hands, then letting go with an enthusiastic “Peekaboo!” will entertain baby well into her toddler years. Babies love to be surprised as they learn that things they can’t see still exist, so shake up your baby games by ducking down và reappearing with a hat on, or a funny face. Cover a toy with a blanket & ask your baby, “Where’d it go?” Crawlers will adore early games of hide-and-seek, with you popping out from unexpected places as they explore hallways and bedrooms.

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6. High (chair) art

Once your baby can sit comfortably in her high chair, try placing safe, edible play materials on her tray (not that she should eat them, but if some gets in her mouth, it’s OK!). Let her explore homemade fingerpaint, or playdough made with ingredients from your cupboard, or simply put blobs of thick pudding or Jell-O on the tray so she can slide her hands around in mess-making bliss.

7. Tuesday a.m. Dance party

Who says that babies only need lullabies and Mozart? Shake up your musical menu và have a little dance buổi tiệc nhỏ à deux. “Different beats, different jargon, different flavours of music all stimulate different parts of the brain,” as well as helping your baby develop language and social skills, Blaxall explains. Besides, it’s fun! & whether it’s a rattle or a margarine tub-turned-drum, have instruments on hand so you can both take active roles in the fun.

8. Under cover

Fort fun starts young! Put a big blanket over a table và sit underneath with your young baby on your lap & a few special toys for a new perspective on the world. Roll a ball out of your fort, and then find out where it went. “Even young babies can’t just sit all the time,” Blaxall says. “Change up their position — on their tummy, upright in your arms, on your lap, over your shoulder, facing outward.” As your child grows, let him crawl up on piles of pillows, & create paths & tunnels with big boxes and couch cushions.

To make the fun even more meaningful for your little one:

Show her you’re impressed

Your baby reaches for the toy you’re holding slightly above her. She swings her fist, grabs for it & — hurray! — she makes contact. Naturally, you lavish her with praise. Và new research shows that your enthusiasm is doing more than just bringing a smile to her face. “Babies need that social cheering section, people noticing và getting excited about what they’re doing. It’s wiring the brain for both relationships và learning,” Blaxall says.

Take turns

Whether it’s shaking a rattle (try doing it fast one time, slow the next) or talking about your day, give your child time lớn respond or imitate the kích hoạt back to lớn you. By doing so, you’re creating the sense of a meaningful partnership, according lớn Blaxall, where the child gets to be the leader & the follower.

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Mix it up

“The best baby activities are multidimensional,” explains Blaxall. “Engage lots of senses — play music & have interesting things khổng lồ touch & explore, và combine that with movement và with language.”

When to take a break

You want to lớn excite babies enough with baby games to rev their engines, but not overwhelm them — so it’s important to recognize the cues that they’re not keen on your trò chơi of choice, or have had enough. “Babies who are overstimulated either shut their eyes or look away,” says Blaxall. Your baby will resort khổng lồ crying if you miss that important sign. The key is to be fully engaged in the play, making lots of eye liên hệ so you’re aware of your baby’s changing reactions.