- Family and Parenting
Best Baby Games for 0-6 months
Baby Games for 0-3 month olds
As a new grandmother, I watch my grandson when his parents are at work. I have gotten comfortable with feeding, burping, changing and putting the baby to sleep. What I wasn't so sure about was coming up with things to do with the baby when he was awake. I knew playing with a baby was important for development but what was appropriate for a newborn?
According to bestselling child development book, The Wonder Weeks, by Frans X. Plooij and van de Rijt Hetty, babies are interested in the world around them from the moment they are born. They have excellent memories and are quick to recognize voices, people and even some colorful toys. Most babies prefer to look at people rather than toys. "The object that babies follow best is a simple pattern with the basic characteristics of a human face-two large dots at the top and one below for the mouth.... Newborn babies also turn their heads toward sound"
The Wonder Weeks suggests the following ways to keep the baby from birth to 5 weeks entertained:
- Explore the house with her. Explain what she is seeing . No matter what it is, she will listen to your voice.
- Have a quiet chat. Talk to your baby but if you have a radio playing in the background, it will be difficult for the baby to distinguish sounds.
- Place interesting objects for your baby to look at when she is awake. At this age she won't be able to search for them herself, so its" out of sight, out of mind"
- Experiment with music. Try to discover favorite music and play it for her.
Nursery Rhymes and Songs for Babies
Once the baby was old enough to keep his head up, my first inclination was to fall back on the nursery rhymes and songs I used with my kids. Pat-a-Cake', 'This Little Piggy Went to Market', and 'Inky Dinky Spider' are great standbys. When the baby is too young to sit up, these are great games to play with the baby on his back. When I first started singing these silly songs, my grandson looked at me blankly but as he got older and I kept repeating them, he would get a big smile on his face when we started to play. I learned repetition was the key to any of these games. The baby has no idea what to expect with any of these games and only learns to enjoy them with time.
From about 8 weeks on, the baby will start to discover his hands and feet. If it was warm enough out, I would put the baby on his back on a large towel without any clothes on. He learned to watch his hands and was really fascinated when he caught sight of his feet. He also loved any toys that were dangled over his head within reach.
An activity mat is a great toy to get. It lasts a long time, first with the baby on his back and later when he can roll over.
Singing and Dancing with the Baby
I have always wanted to be able to sing and dance but I can't carry a tune and I have two left feet. Fortunately, my grandson didn't know or care. I sing and dance around the house with him all the time and he thinks it is hysterically funny. I get to sing all my old favorites from the 60s and 70s. 'All Together Now" by the Beatles and 'Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bob Marley are great favorites. You might want to shut the curtains before this activity so the neighbors don't think you are nuts.
The Dreaded Tummy Time
When my kids were little, we put babies to sleep on their stomach and they were used to that position. Today, that is a definite no-no. Experts have found that it is dangerous to have babies sleep on their stomachs because of the danger of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). As a result, newborns are put to sleep on their back, swaddled like burritos.
Babies need to spend time on their stomachs when they are awake so they learn to lift their head and strengthen the muscles in their neck and core. Experts say that babies that don't do this have delays in motor development. The problem is this is unfamiliar and uncomfortable for the baby and as a result, he is not a happy camper. As a grandmother, if the baby is unhappy, I am too.
Ways to Make Tummy Time easier
The first thing that was important was to make sure the baby was awake and alert for tummy time. Also, be careful not to try this right after the baby has eaten or you could get a mouthful of baby spit up if you put him close to your face.
I found that if I lay on the floor next to my grandson when he was on his stomach, it helped. I also found that putting the baby on my stomach was a much softer landing pad for the baby and having my face close to his seemed to help. Putting him on the bed and sitting on the floor next to him was also helpful. Balancing the baby on an exercise ball and gently rocking him back and forth worked pretty well. Try to find what works for your grandchild. One of my grandmom friends told me that her granddaughter was perfectly fine with tummy time- as long as she had no clothes on!
Baby Games for 4-6 Month Olds
Baby games become even more fun now because the baby is much more active. At this age, my grandson loves games where I bounce him on my knees. Bouncing up and down and from side to side are a great way for the baby to learn to balance himself when he is sitting up. “This is the way the Lady Rides” is a good rhyme for this.
More baby games for 4-6 month olds
- Baby Games for 4-6 month olds - Grandmom Says
Once the baby is out of the newborn stage, baby games become even more fun because the baby is much more physical. He is rolling over and even sitting up.
Peek-a-Boo in the Mirror
My grandson loves to look at me holding him in the mirror. He gets a huge smile on his face as he looks from me to his reflection. Combining this with putting a cloth over my face or his and pulling it away and saying peekaboo is absolutely hysterical. We can play this for a long time. Of course, peekaboo without the mirror is a great favorite as well.
This is the Way the Ladies Ride
Toys that make noise and are easy to hold are great fun now. I like the ones with quiet songs. My grandson was never big on stuffed animals but lots of babies are. He preferred small rattles that he could hold and that made noise when he shook them.
According to Wonder Weeks, top toys for this stage are:
- Activity center
- Ball with gripping notches with a bell inside
- Plastic rattle
- Crackly paper
- Photographs or pictures of objects or animals he recognizes by name
- CD with children's songs
- Wheels that really turn, such as those on a toy car
Bond With Your Grandchild
Whatever age your grandchild is, baby games are a great way to bond with the baby and they are actually great fun. Don't be afraid to get down and play with your grandchild. They are little for such a short time!