Kids—even the littlest ones—naturally love to play. The question is: what games are appropriate for their age? Getting infants to play age-appropriate games is crucial to their development. If done properly, these games can aid in learning and play a role in developing important skills such as cognitive, physical, and even problem-solving.
Check out these games that can help you create a fun and educational environment for your baby.
For 0-3 months old
This is the time when your little one is still very dependent on you, letting you take the lead. Games he will love involve motor and sensory skills, and some props and physical items to keep him entertained.
- Finger Puppets. Create little puppets that you can hold up using your fingers. This is a great opportunity to familiarise your child with different sounds by using a visual cue that will keep him focused. You can also use it as a storytelling tool.
- Fly and Hide. You can do this by laying on your back and securely placing your baby on top of your tummy. Then raise him over your head and make various expressions. It’s not only fun for your child but it also helps in promoting bond between you two.
- Find the Noise. Help your child learn various sounds by making different noises: ring a bell, play a small drum, or play audio from different voices. Move the source of sounds to different sides of your baby’s body and let him find it.
For 4-6 months old
This is the time when your child has more energy to play, has become more curious about the world around him, and is more likely to follow your lead. Games he will love include interacting with things and people, and imitating actions.
- Read my Lips. Make him utter some sounds or even syllables by following what you do. Make him watch your lips as you make a movement and a sound. When he makes a sound, respond to it as well.
- Sensory Bag Fun. Use a ziplock bag, packing tape, and the items you want to add that are safe enough for your baby to hold such as squishy toys and pom poms. Put them all inside the ziplock bag and secure using the tape. This can be best used during tummy time.
- Ball Pit Fun. Ball pits would require some investment but can go a long way if you decide to purchase. Your baby will surely love toying in it, like a baby swimming pool with no water. Just ensure the baby is never left alone in the ball pit.
For 7-9 months old
Your baby has become more independent and aware of his surroundings. He’s probably also gotten more mobile and adventurous.
- Bubble Play. By using bubbles safe for babies, you can blow up some onto the air and see your little one’s eyes brighten with wonder. Chances are he might even try to catch and pop some as his body moves towards where the bubbles are.
- Mini-Basketball. Since your baby is now more able to grasp and hold things, he can play a simple basketball game. Simply prepare a basket and some balls and items he can throw in and let him have fun.
- Puzzles and Blocks. Now is the time to start acquainting your child with three-dimensional toys like puzzles and blocks. Let him play, form shapes and structures, and use his imagination while figuring out how to put things together.
For 10-12 months old
As your child turns one year old, you might feel like time is slowly slipping from your hands because he’s already starting to utter some words and recognise activities and things. At this time, check out games that will make him explore more.
- Switch-a-Roo. Pick a small item you can hide using your fist and make your child guess where the item is: left or right fist. This game improves his attention and focus while still having fun.
- Stacking Games. Teach your child how to build something using stacking cups and blocks. This is one way to further develop his hand-eye coordination and familiarise him with shapes and sizes.
- Obstacle Course. Take advantage of your baby’s energy—build an obstacle course inside your house using boxes, books, and even pillows. Just make sure the play space is safe and steadily set up to avoid hurting your child. This will allow him to move more and follow directions.