Games to Play with Babies

image001 Many caregivers and parents are intimidated by the idea of playing with babies. What games to play with babies can be a concern. It can be difficult to know what you can safely do with babies and how to go about interacting with them and engaging them in games. In reality, however, it is straightforward and easy to play with babies as long as you are prepared. There are many activities and games to play with babies which won’t even require you to put in much effort.

Keep in mind that your baby will grow up and develop quickly during her first year. At some points, it will seem as if she got new skills in just one night and before you know it, she will go from a helpless and wriggling baby to a small child rolling over, sitting, crawling, standing, and even walking. The following games can help you interact with your baby and teach her to discover and use her new abilities, all while having fun.

How to Tell If My Baby Wants to Play with Me

It is important to choose proper and suitable games to play with babies. Complicated games aren’t necessary when looking for ways to increase your baby’s development and skills. In reality, the games should be simple and in many cases, the actions you tend to do naturally will be the best games to help teach your child about her world.

In order to make playtime worthwhile and get the most out of it, pay attention to signs your baby is sending that she wants to play. Important signals include smiling, reaching for you, or watching you (or others) with a great deal of interest.

You don’t want your baby to get bored, however, so also keep in mind the following signs that she is done with playing games and simply wants a break. She may look away, spit up, or start crying. Playing games can help you bond with your baby and teach her about the world around her while you two have fun.

What Games to Play with Babies

This table provides some suggestions of games to play with your baby based on what she will like at given ages. Although some will stay the same at different ages, you can start adding in new activities as your baby gets older. Keep in mind that babies are never too young to start playing, even if it is as simple as smiling at her and holding her in your arms.

Timeline

What Your Baby Likes and Why

Games TO Play with BabIES

Birth to 3 months

At this age, your baby will like seeing you smile, and sensory stimulation. She will smile when she feels safe. At about two months old, she’ll start to get interested in patterns and colors.

When your baby is still young, just keep her close, smile at her and sing songs to her. Try to look at her directly and talk to her. At around two months, add a mobile above her crib and try playing with imitation games.

3 to 6 months

At this point in her life, your baby likes to be silly with her parents, batting her arms, kicking, and seeing different views of her world. She likes being able to see farther away and starts to get more interested in her environment.

A bit of silliness is still key in the games at this age and it will help your baby smile. Also try to repeat back sounds your baby makes at you to encourage her. You can also put your baby in new positions so that she can see more of her environment. Introduce her to a mirror or give her new toys or objects to play with. Try toys that wobble, so your baby can interact with them.

6 to 9 months

Your baby likes seeing familiar faces and toys that involve cause and effect, and interactive games. She will start understanding objects that disappear still exist (object permanence).

To help with object permanence, play peak-a-boo with your baby. Have her “help” you find a hidden toy. She will also enjoy interactive games such as airplanes or playing with toys that let her press a button and then have an object pop up. She can even “help” you cook dinner by using the pots and pans as drums.

9 to 12 months

Your baby is starting to notice that she can do things by herself such as putting things in her mouth, crawling, or standing. She likes performing in front of others and playing by her parents.

Try to play games that encourage your baby’s independence. An example would be praising her when she plays with a musical toy or eats with a spoon by herself. She will still enjoy physical games such as being held and having you sing to her or bounce her up and down. You can even teach your baby to crawl over couch cushions on the floor.

12 to 18 months

At this age, your baby likes acting like a “big” person, playing pretend and exploring. She will explore all of her toys (and your home) and imitate your actions.

It is important to give your baby safe play spots and places to explore. Try blowing bubbles to let her pop or giving her some toy musical instruments. To encourage playing pretend, encourage games such as “house” but with the roles reversed. You can also let her “play” by “helping” you with chores such as dusting.

Want to see how a mom plays with her baby? Check out the video below: