Silly noises and faces might not seem that educational to you, but your little one learns a lot from playing simple baby games.
The most important baby games are basic, everyday ones that allow you to share a moment of joy, discovery or connection. Discover your inner child and become your baby’s favourite plaything…
Best baby games to boost development:
1) Throw and float
Lie your baby on his back, crumple some brightly coloured fabric into a ball, throw it into the air and let it float onto him. This game helps your baby’s visual tracking. Tell your baby what you are doing, too – that way, your baby is using his hearing, seeing and touching senses.
2) Pass the parcel
Try a basic version of the popular party game with your partner or mum. As your baby gets older, try pausing the music every so often. Your baby will get plenty of benefits from this old-school game.
‘Using both hands together helps cross-brain communication, which can improve writing, reading and problem-solving skills,’ says play and parenting expert Dr Amanda Gummer.
Stopping and starting the music also develops his listening skills, physical coordination and sense of self-control.
Hide your face, wait for a few seconds, then reappear saying, ‘peek-a-boo!’ It’s a great game for newborns upwards. And will make you feel like a comic genius. This game helps your baby understand that when something (or someone) isn’t visible, it still exists – a concept called object permanence.
‘Children don’t fully grasp this concept until they’re at least 18 months, but peek-a-boo helps babies understand that although you might disappear, you’ll come back, which helps them become less clingy,’ says Dr Gummer.
It also helps to improve attention and concentration skills, as your baby has to wait for you to reappear.
4) The mirror game
Put a play mirror on the floor that you and your baby can look into while lying on your stomachs. Stick your tongue out and make faces in the mirror so your baby can see you.
Try this once your baby has the strength to lift his head and shoulders up when lying on his tummy – usually around three months. Not all babies enjoy ‘tummy time’, so playing with a mirror will distract him from the fact he’s on his front.
5) Making music
Shake an instrument or clap your hands in time to some music. Vary the game to work for any age. Eventually, your baby will be old enough to play with the instrument himself.
As well as setting your baby on the road to being a music virtuoso, there are plenty of other benefits to this game. Learning to find a rhythm is great for language development and even maths.
‘The combination of seeing the object and hearing the sound also teaches your baby cause and effect,’ says Gill Thomas, founder of baby music classes Jo Jingles.
Whether your baby’s already been given ‘his team’s’ shirt or not, he’ll love this first go at football. Play it when he’s learning to walk and you’re holding his hands as he walks into/kicks the ball.
Once he’s steady on his feet, he’ll develop the balance to kick, throw and chase too. The benefits include improved bone and cardiovascular health, and better coordination.
‘Ball games help your toddler’s coordination and gross motor skills – the first big movements he needs to learn before he can progress to more complex physical activities,’ says Dr Gummer.
He’ll be playing for Man Utd in no time.
What baby games does your little one love? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!
Have approx 60 seconds to spare? Why not join thousands of mums-to-be and start your very own Amazon baby wish list! They're absolutely free to create and perfect to send to the friends, aunties and your mum to make sure you're getting the baby products you really need...Click here!
Pregnancy is an exciting time as you count down the months, weeks and days to the arrival of your little one. But it can also be a time of little worries, niggles and gripes - one of them being heartburn.
Weleda Natural Baby Care products have been specially formulated to protect and support the development of healthy skin and are safe for even the most sensitive skin of babies and children. The products are developed with the assistance of physicians and midwives and are dermatologically tested to give gentle, natural protection right from the start.
Every new parent is undoubtedly on a mission to get more zzz’s, so it surely makes sense to research the best mattress for your little one and find out what really goes on under the surface they are lying on for over 8 hours every day.
In the hot seat this month and straight from Mother&Baby's Editor' shopping basket, Maria Martin shares what she's got her eye on to prepare you for some fun times in the garden, in the park or perhaps at the local lido with your babies and toddlers this summer.
As a parent, you probably take multiple photos of your little one every day – there are so many amazing milestones to cross off your list as you watch your baby grow, capturing and sharing these milestones and memories is a joy.