Peek-a-boo or kicking the ball – games that parents play with their baby can go a long way to develop their motor skills and give important lessons in interaction. Here are some to get you started
By Team ParentCircle
Games are an important form of relaxation and help both children and adults reduce stress and learn something interesting. Games are not only meant for enjoyment, they are a great way to develop and build skills which will come in handy at all times. Playing a game with your baby can have the same effect. You may think that your bundle of joy is rather tiny for games, but you must realise that your child is developing at a great pace and picking up skills by the day. Getting them active and interested from an early age will help their brains develop faster. Here are some games which are best suited for babies who are under one year old.
Under 3 months old
Music has a soothing effect on babies. You can sing songs to them that give them a feeling of security, as this is very important for babies at this age. Babies can be exposed to different types of music and you could make up songs as well to keep them amused. This will also help them build their vocabulary at a later stage as they listen to the lyrics of the song. But remember to keep the songs simple and repetitive and avoid playing high-pitched or Jarring music.
Even at this young age babies are able to mimic facial expressions. Hold your baby close and smile at her repeatedly and chances are that she will smile back at you soon enough. Sticking your tongue out at her and opening your mouth wide will also earn you a similar result. This game will help your child's visual skills.
Babies are quickly developing a sense for colour at this age. You can engage their eyes and stretch their muscles by playing with them using a colourful, textured ball. A bright ball of woollen thread works just fine. Gently roll the ball towards them. Initially they might just watch the ball coming towards them but soon enough they will try reaching for it. You can also have their crib fitted with colourful moving bits and bobs which will keep them engaged in a similar fashion.
Under 6 months old
Your baby is at a stage where he will be able to display way more movement than before. Place a mirror in front of your baby. This will amuse your baby to a large extent. He might not be able to recognise that it's him in the mirror, but he will be able to follow his own movements and keep mirroring them. This will improve his motor skills.
Get a bunch of fabrics which have different textures. It can range from silks to cottons to velvets. Babies find different textures intriguing and you can buy them toys made out of different fabrics or pick up board books that have varied materials stuck on them for the baby to feel. This is an interesting game on many levels as it keeps the baby occupied and they discover textures. It will help them focus and also build his muscle coordination skills.
Everyone loves playing with bubbles. So it does not come as a surprise that babies will adore them as well. You can try getting your baby to catch the bubble and pop it. It is a timeless game which will help her sense of vision when she sees the bubbles floating around her and her coordination skills will improve immensely as she tries to catch and pop them. Remember to wash your baby's hands after play time is over though as you don't want the soapy water getting into your little one's eyes and mouth.
Under 9 months old
Playing this game with your child will keep him endlessly fascinated. This game is a baby's version of hide and seek where you can hide your face behind your hands and say “peek-a-boo” when you emerge from behind them. The whole appearing and disappearing act will keep your child enthralled. Once he gets a hang of what is going on, he will try reaching for you which will help his coordination skills.
Your baby will have increased motor skills by this point in time. Put this to good use by doing a small jig with her every now and then. Put on some light dance music and gently move with her. This will instantly put her in a good place mentally. You can also change the music according to your baby's moods. It is a delightful way to engage and create a lasting bond with your child.
Under 12 months old
Your baby will be a little more independent at this stage as she could have learnt to crawl by now. Place obstacles such as cushions in her path and encourage her to crawl over them and come to you. This is a great activity which will be thoroughly engaging for you and your baby.
You can help your baby kick a ball by swinging her foot towards it. It is a fun activity to do with small children and also a great way to strengthen her leg and stomach muscles. Giving her different bright and colourful balls makes it even more fun and teaches her about colour.
While games are an important part of growing up, you need to understand your child's moods before engaging them in these playful activities. You can't expect to have a child who is showing visible signs of crankiness to engage in playtime. So choose a time when your child is happy and have fun with your baby.
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