Games To Play With Babies
Babies like to be held, rocked and cuddled, they enjoy movement, music and songs. Research of the human brain and its development show that early childhood experiences profoundly shape the infant brain and the child’s capacity to learn and thrive. There is now evidence that due to the way the human brain is constructed, stimulation in the first year of the child’s life will lay the most important foundation for opening neuron path ways, which scientists believe will determent which synapses (hard wired path ways) will be formed in the brain. The peak production of synapses is from birth to 10 year old, however the first 3 years, known as the pre language stage, are the most important as this is the time when the brain absorbs information and stores it permanently. Through repetition brain connection become permanent. The best way to develop a baby’s brain is to provide the baby with safe, attentive care in an environment full of stimuli’s for physical, emotional and intellectual requirements. Some games to play from Birth to 9 months: • Music: Newborns respond naturally to sound and music. Playing different music, from soft and soothing to more ‘bouncy’ rhythms while rocking baby, or dancing with them in your arms will stimulate the vestibular system, and will contribute to bonding process. Humming and singing to your child also helps calm them down and give them a sense of security. • Emotional bonding games: The following suggestions are good for concept development, listening emotional development and visual tracking. - Cuddle and rock baby while saying words like: “Snug snuggle mommy (I) love your… (Nose, cheeks, forehead, little hand etc.) And kiss that body part. - Hold your baby in the air facing you, say “nose nose touching nose- bring him down and gently rub your noses together. Repeat this few times. Do this with other parts of the face like- chin chin touching chins… etc. - Look at baby and say “does mommy (daddy etc) love you?” Nod you head and smile and say “yes I do… I love you” “Do you like to be cuddled?” (Cuddle child) “Yes you do” “Does mommy likes to kiss you?” “Yes I do” (kiss child) and so on. - Sit baby facing you (can also lay next to baby facing each other) touch baby’s mouth and say “this is you month” then take baby’s hand bring it to your mouth and say “mommy’s mouth” repeat with other face parts, keeping an eye contact with baby. • Sensory stimulation games: Visual: Slowly move colourful toys back and forth in front of your baby; make sure to keep the distance comfortable for baby’s eyes - not too close or too far. This is also the time when babies discover their hands - watching them appear and disappear. - Take baby’s hands and gently clap them in front of baby’s faced, use different poems like: “Clap, clap, clap your hands together Put your hands on… (Mommy’s face, on your head, on your tummy etc) Clap, clap, clap your hands together” - Hold baby’s fingers and gently lift arms as you say “Going up, up, up this hill (lifting arms above baby’s head) Coming down, down, down and now we still” (bring arms down to baby’s sides) Mirror Games: looking into mirror gives babies another perspective on who they are. - Rock baby back and forth in front of mirror - Shake different body parts while naming them - Make faces with silly sounds - Blow kiss loudly - Point to and name different body parts. (E.g. Dad’s nose, Ann’s nose). Touch Games: Touch helps babies to understand and explore their environment. Tactile stimulation helps the child to make sense of the world and feel secure when experiencing new textures for example new foods textures. - Let baby feel different fabric textures ‘describe’ each using words such: fluffy, rough, bumpy, soft etc. - Let baby touch different foods before eating them E.g. ‘Mooshy peas’ ‘cold yogurt’ - Let baby feel different temperatures warm, cold this can be done during bath time.