Games to Play to Boost Baby’s Development

Age: Birth to 3 months

At this stage, there isn’t much your baby can do to entertain himself. But as you know, that little guy loves attention and sometimes he just seems bored! What can you do that will keep him happy and stimulated between naps, feeding, and diaper changes?

Baby Center suggests that your best chance of doing this is to engage your baby’s senses: touch, sight (remember, your baby is still very nearsighted), smell, and hearing. If your newborn doesn’t seem to respond much, be patient. Keep trying, or wait until he seems more alert and responsive.

Here are some fun games to try!

Mother with Laughing Baby

Shall we Dance?
Close the curtains so the neighbors won’t see! Then put on some music, grab the baby (or put him in a sling) and start dancing! For a newborn you may want to start off with some gentle swaying and gliding, but as he gets bigger he’ll get a kick out of bouncing around and being swung through the air. (Just don’t shake the baby!) If your arms get tired, put baby down we he can see you and keep dancing!

Baby Center Tip: Silly exaggerated movements like jazz hands or shaking your butt are particularly funny to babies.

What does THAT do?

Gather up some interesting objects and take a seat next to your baby. Show them what it is, how it feels, what it does, what sounds it makes, etc. You can show them books too, but at this age they’re not really going to “get it.”

Baby Center Tip: Any object in the house that won’t poison, electrocute, or otherwise hurt him is fair game. Babies love egg beaters, spoons, wire whisks, spatulas, books and magazines with pictures, bottles of shampoo or conditioner (don’t leave your baby alone with these!), record albums, colorful fabrics or clothes, fruits and vegetables, and so on.

Empty the Closet
The time will come when it’s the baby emptying your closet, but for now, you decide what comes out for show-and-tell!  Your baby will enjoy seeing and feeling all the bright, slinky, soft, or fuzzy clothing.  Run silky fabrics over his face and hands, or lay something  woolly down on the floor and put him on top of it to explore.

Baby Center Tip: In a few months, your baby will want to run his hands over anything beaded, embroidered, or otherwise embellished. But for now, he may just be content to gaze in wonder.

Oooh, look at That!
The simplest stuff around your house can keep your baby happy for hours. Here are three ideas to start you off:

  • Make a mobile by tying ribbons, fabric, or other interesting streamers onto a hanger and dangle them gently in front of your baby’s face.
  • Take a floaty scarf and fling it into the air, letting it settle on your baby’s head.
  • Take an elastic string and tie a toy to the end of it. Bound it up and down saying “Boing, boing!”

Baby Center Tip: Remember, never leave your baby alone with strings or ribbons that could encircle his neck or that he could get into his mouth.

The Diva Within
Baby’s love to hear their mommy’s (or daddy’s) voice. Even as a newborn, you may see your baby calm down when you speak, sing, or coo. Your baby may like anything you sing, but there are some classics you should get to know, like “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” and songs with hand movements — “The Wheels on the Bus,” “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes,” and “Patty-Cake,” to name a few.  Songs with silly sounds or animal noises in them are fun too, like “Old McDoanld Had a Farm,” “Witch Doctor,” or “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?” (If you don’t remember the words to these song, try an Internet search. )

Try singing a song in different voices and pitches, use a hand puppet, anything that seems to amuse your baby. You can eve make up your own songs!

Baby Center Tip: You may have a terrible voice — but your kid doesn’t know it! Now’s the time to sing at volume 10, so set free that opera voice inside you.

Have fun!

feature image from She Knows

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