As a parent, especially a first-time one, helping your baby play can be kind of a daunting task. The days can seem long, and finding ways to occupy a baby who now has interests outside of eating and sleeping can be tough. However, play is a really wonderful way to bond with your baby and help their mind flourish. Here are some simple activities for babies and 1 year olds, and enter to win a gift card to buy baby games!
Why Babies Need to Play Too
Play is essential to the cognitive, emotional, and social development of a baby. Through the active exploration of the world around them, babies are learning cause and effect, problem-solving and motor skills. Young babies will love to watch as a ball rolls across the floor from the hands of a parent or older sibling or play a simple game of peek-a-boo. As the baby grows, so does the ability to engage in imaginative and pretend play.
In addition to all of the learning that occurs through play, it provides wonderful bonding opportunities for parent and baby. When considering baby play, think past a toy that sings and dances, and think about the interaction between toy, baby, and you. Play is about more than your baby batting at a toy hanging above his hear. It is about watching the expression in your eyes as the car rolls toward him, or hearing the change in your tone of voice as you sing about the color of the ball you are throwing. Don’t be afraid to get down on the ground, or put baby on your lap, and play with your baby.
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Baby Games That are Sure to Please
Here are a few simple activities to try with your baby:
- roll a ball across the floor in different direction, giving your baby time to track the ball
- hide a toy under a blanket and ask baby where the toy is, surprise baby by lifting the blanket and squealing with delight
- cover your eyes with your hands and play a game of peek-a-boo
- sing simple nursery rhymes while dancing baby’s arms and legs
- stack a few soft toys and let baby knock them over, or knock them over yourself and let baby watch
- crinkle a toy or shake a rattle in front of baby, use descriptive words to boost language development
- give baby some pots and pans to bang on as they get older
- make expressive sounds (oohs and aahs) at baby and allow time to imitate
- put on some music and have a dance party
- make a sensory board with different textures of fabric, or a sensory basket with different textures toys