We all know that children love to play, and when your baby is tiny you will look forward to the day you can really enjoy a game together. However, your child is learning to play from the beginning and you can encourage their sense of fun by playing early games with them.
Your newborn baby might not appreciate the fun of games when they are tiny and can barely see what you are up to, but they can hear you and they are already tuned in to the way your voice changes. So if you play peekaboo with a newborn, they aren?t going to ?get? the game, but they will enjoy the change in the tone of your voice or watching as your face comes back into view. For the same reasons, it is never too early to read to your baby, to sing and share rhymes. As your baby gets older, they start to appreciate the fun of games like peekaboo where you hide behind your hands or a toy and then peek around. They will anticipate the surprise and enjoy the excitement of wondering where you have gone and seeing you pop back. Stories and rhymes become more active at this stage so include actions and repetitive phrases to help baby understand and enjoy these little games.
When baby can grasp objects, toys are the order of the day, and games are much easier for them to understand. Baby is likely to enjoy repeating games such as throwing a ball or toy and having it handed back. In fact, many of them like this one so much that they play it with everything, making it very hard for you to convince them to hold onto anything! These types of games help your little on with learning about the consequences of their actions and aid their grasping of the idea that objects don?t necessarily disappear forever when they are out of sight. The surprise that a toy has reappeared after they have thrown it away will soon be replaced by an expectation that it will return, and soon your little one will be looking for things he has thrown away.
Games for Explorers
When your baby can sit up unaided, fun and games step up yet another gear. At this stage, their co-ordination is developing at a rapid speed and you can help this along with games that require hand-eye co-ordination, pincher grip and balance. So try sitting opposite your little one and rolling a ball, encourage them to roll it back. Not only is this a fun game that is simple for baby to learn and enjoyable for you both, but it also encourages pre-verbal skills as the ?back and forth? mimics the turn-taking that makes a conversation possible. Other ideas for older babies include stacking cups, boxes or blocks on top of one another to form a tower. Whether your baby loves to carefully stack the objects so they won?t topple over or piles them up just so he can knock them over with a flourish is one of those precious insights into your child’s blossoming personality!
As your baby grows, they will find their own little games. It could be something as simple as filling a cup with pasta shapes, emptying it and refilling it. While perhaps not your idea of a thrilling afternoon, games like this are stimulating and educational for your little one and by showing interest and helping turn everyday things into a game, you can help your child to view learning as an opportunity for fun, helping to set them up for a very happy childhood.