10 Fun Ways To Play With A Baby & Help In Their Development

10 Fun Ways To Play With A Baby & Help In Their Development

Playing is a serious matter. It's how your baby prepares for all the milestones you've been waiting to document in your baby book: rolling over, sitting up, and more. So, parents play with babies to provide them with the required skills to make cognitive leaps. "When babies explore the world around them, they learn how things work. This experiential learning is the foundation for the development of language and understanding math and science," says speech-language pathologist Rebecca Landa, Ph.D., director of the Kennedy Krieger Institute Center for Autism and Related Disorders in Baltimore.

When newborns fail to reach their developmental milestones on time, physical or occupational therapists utilize early-intervention activities to help them catch up. These small activities can also benefit a child without any developmental difficulties. "Babies that participate in playful and social activities with caregivers have more advanced motor, communication, and social abilities," Dr. Landa explains.

Here are some tips to consider when you are playing with your baby and the difference they make in their developmental milestones.


Tip #1. Learning to grab things


Dangle toys of various shapes in front of children while they lay on their backs and see whether they can grab them and bring them to their mouths. They will probably swat them at first. Move a toy up, down, and to the side. "Offer your kid a range of items so that they learn how to approach them with hands in the proper position," Dr. Landa advises. 

Lying and staring at a rattle, judging its shape, and figuring out how to wrap their fingers around it, grab it, and bring it toward their mouths may seem like a simple task. Still, it's a massive accomplishment for a newborn. They will eventually utilize these similar abilities to remove books off a shelf. 


Tip #2. Playing during tummy time


According to Dr. Landa, babies fuss about their tummies because of their weak belly muscles. When the babies are on their bellies, try to grab their attention with playful sounds helping them hold their heads up, get up on their elbows, and balance on one elbow while they try to grab something to play with. 


Tip #3. Learning to stretch out


You can put the baby on their back at three months old. Softly grasp from ankles in your hands, bend the knees, and slowly extend the legs toward you to develop flexibility. It will help them understand the position of their legs and body in space.

Ensure that you make it an enjoyable and playful activity by singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" and caressing the feet of the toddler. As the babies gain strength, they will be able to thrust their legs out and try to stand on their own.


Tip #4. Playball


If you can hold the baby safely by their hips, they can now sit on an inflatable exercise ball by six months. Slowly tilt the ball so the baby has time to recognize what's going on and how to change their weight accordingly. 

It will assist in the development of their muscles and enhance balance. You may move the ball faster once the baby is accustomed to this kind of play. Tilt it farther as the baby grows more assertive. Make it more enjoyable by gently bouncing the baby and singing rhymes. "If you do it consistently with the same words, your kid will start to understand them," Dr. Landa adds. The rhythm of the music aids newborns' memory of words.


Tip #5. Get new toys


Hand your baby toys of varying weights and shapes while sitting up so that the baby can learn to utilize the hand muscles to grasp them. The capacity of the baby to pick up toys, examine them, put them in his mouth, pass them from hand to hand, and spin them to help develop a fresh perspective. It helps them learn enough about items to ultimately link them with words in the later stages of their development.


Tip #6. Play stacking up blocks with your baby


According to studies by pediatrician Dimitri Christakis, M.D., (Center for Child Health, Behavior, and Development, Seattle), babies who play with blocks have more fantastic fine motor abilities and more sophisticated language. According to Dr. Christakis, playing with the blocks isn't as significant as conversations between you and your child when they are trying to sort and stack and you're making things together and explaining what they are. 


Tip #7 Play crawl games


Encourage your infant to crawl on the tummy. Some newborns skip this phase and begin crawling on their hands and knees with their bellies off the ground. It helps a baby develop strength in their hips and trunk, which is required for standing. 

According to Gay L. Girolami, Ph.D. (Clinical associate professor of physical therapy at the University of Illinois at Chicago), place toys in front of your baby once they can get on their hands and knees; then move the toys to 11, 10, and finally 9 o'clock. Do the same on the other side. "As your baby reaches in different directions, they will learn to transfer the weight of their body more on the shoulders and legs and strengthen them."


Tip #8 Set an obstacle course


Dr. Girolami recommends obstructing your child's way with a pillow. Let them crawl around it at first, then arrange a row of cushions so that the baby can climb over them. In this playful activity, you are teaching the baby to climb.  


Tip #9. Play hide and seek with boxes


For example, once the infant is ready to stand, place a small box on a sofa approximately eight inches out of their reach. Place a toy in the box so they must kneel to take it up. "This will help them progress from moving sideways down a sofa to walking forward," Dr. Girolami explains.


Tip #10. Push off games


When your child can squat, stand, and cruise, they are probably ready to push one of those tiny toy shopping carts and practice walking independently. Dr. Girolami suggests weighing it down with a five-pound bag of flour to slow it down.


Coping with Delays


Specialists are particularly concerned about children who have several delays when it comes to motor milestones. Missing a single motor milestone may indicate that a child lacks a particular ability. Motor deficits are common in newborns with a family history of autism or another cerebral injury. "Other developmental delays, such as communication and social difficulties, may emerge later," adds Dr. Landa. These playful activities also help to improve the intellectual abilities of an autistic child. There is a huge possibility to overcome the learning disability challenges when you start playing with your baby.


Toys that educate


According to Dr. Landa, toys with flashing lights and amusing sounds appear to have the most to give newborns and are fun ways to play with a baby. When a baby places blocks in a container, it makes the 'clunk' sound, and for a newborn, that's fantastic; something a newborn has not experienced before! Whereas, in the case of a toddler, the sounds can be distracting; they are more concerned with the cause and effect than with learning to play with the item.

Jenn Berman, Psy.D., author of "Superbaby: 12 Ways to Give Your Child a Head Start in First 3 Years", states that you don't stress over expensive toys in the first three years of your child's development. For example, take any bubble games; bubbles are affordable and excellent for teaching eye tracking and coordination. 

At six months, it's time to spoil your kids with crinkle toys, plush trucks, and softballs. At nine months, indulge in blocks, Lego Bricks, toys that bounce, cars, etc. For twelve months crawling baby, encourage them to play with puppets, paints, crayons, kitchen toys, and dolls. 



The early years are critical because children's experiences and connections with significant individuals at this stage in their life physically impact the formation of their brain. And that early foundation influences all subsequent learning, behavior, and physical and mental health over a lifetime. The importance of the early years cannot be overstated.

Playing with a baby is an essential thing you can do as a parent to assist growth, particularly brain development. As a result, ParentalMastery.com provides advice from recognized international experts and physicians so that you may help your baby's growth throughout these critical years.

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