Play is crucial for your little bundle’s physical, emotional and mental development. It's never too early to play with your baby. In fact you can even play in utero! Babies are born to learn from our sensitive, loving care – this means, you are the best teacher. Plus, playing with your baby is a great way for you and baby to bond! Here are some ideas on how to play with your baby from birth to 3 months.
Face to Face
Babies love face time (I mean, the original face time) and they respond more favorably to happy faces. So, engage your baby by looking in his eyes, smiling or making some funny faces. Remember that newborns only see inches away, so you’ll have to get nice and close if you have a new little love.
This game will be your friend for a long time, so you might as well get to practicing now. Hide behind a wash cloth, receiving blanket or your hands and call your baby’s name. Then… “peek-a-boo”! As your baby grows you will notice that she will become more responsive with smiles and eventually laughs.
Reach Out and Touch Something
Many baby items come with mobiles or hanging toys of some sort and for good reason! Reaching out will help baby develop hand eye coordination (also many of these items help baby learn things like colors, shapes, etc.). Use one of these toys to play a game of reaching out. Talk to your baby as you touch the items. What color are they? What shape is it?
Babies love music! It’s soothing to them and it may even enhance their mental development. You can play all types of music for your little one. Sing and you can dance, too – baby will love the closeness!
Reading is great for language development and can be done as early as pregnancy!
Balloon Kick (1 month or older)
I found this on Pinterest when my son was a newborn and decided to give it a try after somehow acquiring a helium balloon (I think he was around 2 or 3 months). Tie balloons to your baby’s ankles, allowing him to kick and watch the balloons move. This is a really fun activity for baby, however, it should only be done under strict supervision and is not recommended for babies that can roll.
Your little one learns through all of the senses. Use sensory play to help your baby learn. The type of play will evolve as baby gets older but even from birth you can engage your baby in touching and feeling the world around her. When my son was a baby, I made several different sensory bottles which he kept and played with for well over a year.
Put socks on your baby with rattles and let him kick away!
Now, I didn’t want to insult you by putting tummy time but, of course, this is a great (and doctor recommended) way to play with your little one from birth.