So you’ve waited nine long months to finally meet your precious little bundle. Now that you have your baby home, what do you do? Babies spend many hours sleeping, but how do you fill the time while your baby is alert? Yes, you like most parents have a million chores to do, but you need to set some time aside to spend good, quality time with your new baby.
Not only is quality interaction with others good for the baby’s social, emotional and cognitive development, it’s a good time for busy parents to sit down, relax and have some good old fashioned fun. There are a lot more games for baby to play than you might think.
Before the games begin, you should make sure that your baby is ready for some fun. A few of their basic needs should be met, otherwise they just might not be interested in playing.
- Your baby should be well rested – It’s probably not the best time to initiate play if your baby is due for a nap in the near future.
- Your baby shouldn’t be hungry – Hungry babies equal grumpy babies. They will not want to play while visions of milk float through their heads.
- Nice and clean – Your baby probably won’t be comfortable playing while they are wiggling around on a wet/dirty diaper. A clean baby makes a happy baby.
Great Ways To Have Fun With Your Baby
So now that you have made sure that your baby is clean, well fed and wide awake, what games should you play? Obviously, the younger they are, the more simple they will be. Once your baby has mastered some milestones, you can make the games a little bit more challenging to meet their growing needs.
- Singing – Babies love the sound of voices. They don’t care how bad your voice or the song is, so let loose and sing away. You can turn any mundane task, like diaper changing into song time. Singing, like talking, teaches them things like voice inflection, sounds and rhythm
- Dancing – Since babies were used to movement inside your belly, most love to feel that rocking motion. Turn on some music and dance your worries away. When your baby learns to stand, hold their hands while you dance and have them build those leg muscles for walking.
- Peek a boo – This is a winning game with pretty much all babies. Who can resist those giggles you get from a happy baby while playing “peek a boo”? This also teaches them object permanence, that just because you can’t see, hear or touch an object any longer (like your face), it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. This can also be done with hiding an object in your hand and then putting it behind your back. Once they understand, they will search for the object.
- Tummy time – Babies need special time devoted to being on their bellies. It helps build their neck and upper back muscles which are much needed for other physical developments. Try placing toys within their reach or hold them up in the air to encourage them to look up. Get down on the floor with them and make silly faces or sing a song.
- Bath time & bedtime fun – You can use bath time to play and teach them some body parts. Sing a song such as “This is the way we wash our knees (head, nose, etc)…”. Be creative and add your own words. You can also use it to teach them bath time routines “This is the way we brush our teeth (brush our hair, dry ourselves, put on pajamas…)
- What is this sound? – Babies love to hear different sounds, from rattles to banging pots and pans. When they are real young, make some sound in front of the baby’s eyes and slowly move it around, allowing them to track it with their eyes. Once they are older, give them some safe “toys” to experiment with sound. You might need some ear plugs, but they will love it!
- “I’m gonna get you” – Babies love the anticipation when you say this. They will squeal in delight as you reach them and give them a big tickle. As they get older, this will of course turn into a game of chase.
- Play Ball! – What baby doesn’t like a game of ball. Once they are old enough to sit, try rolling a ball back and forth to each other. As they get older, this will lead to catching and throwing. You might just have a little sports star in the making!
- Bubbles – This will pretty much make a baby at any age squeal with delight. Young babies can track the bubbles with their eyes and older ones can try catching them. It’s so much fun to watch them pop the bubbles, look into their hands and wonder where the bubbles went.
There are so many other games that you can play with your baby. Your baby will let you know by his/her reactions, what their interests are and you can use that to come up with all sorts of fun activities. The most important thing, is that you are spending time with your baby and developing a special bond with each other.