When my daughter was first born, I was terrified of “breaking” her.
Babies are so delicate, and the last thing I was thinking about was how I could play with her. But, there are lots of ways to engage your infant and baby; you just have to get a little creative.
While they may not be able to take a toy car or doll and imagine some intricate scenario in their mind, babies need a certain amount of physical and cognitive play every day. Before you know it, you’ll become a pro at keeping them busy from a very young age, and they’ll be wowing you with the way they start to master all of their major milestones.
Here are 6 tips that will help encourage play time with your baby.
Most moms (especially new moms) don’t want to put their baby down. But, babies need tummy time. It helps them take in the world around them, it exposes them to various colors, textures, and sounds, and it also helps strengthen their necks, arms, and legs.
Once your baby isn’t so small, fragile, and immobile, they will be ready for a jumper. Jumpers can be safely and securely hung from doorways in your home. It is a great place to make your baby laugh and excited, since they will focus their happy energy on jumping away.
What a great way to not only strengthen their legs, but bond with your baby by making them laugh and have fun. In fact, your baby will have so much fun bouncing, they’ll be content in this seat while you cook dinner, run to the rest room, or fold some clothes!
When your baby is enjoying tummy time, throw some objects into the mix. One thing babies love is to watch and try to grasp rolling balls. Select a soft, medium sized, colorful ball. You can even use a ball that has jingle bells inside of it to get your baby’s attention.
Infants and babies (and toddlers!) are absolutely fascinated with themselves. Place a non-breakable mirror in front of them to allow them to take everything in and explore their facial features.
This helps them make facial gestures and experiment with the concept of far away and close up, as you move the mirror toward them and away from them.
A baby bouncer is also for babies who start to show the ability to sit up on their own and control their head and neck. Babies can sit in the bouncer seat, which rotates and swivels. They can rock and bounce, and grasp and pull.
There are lots of items that are generally placed around the bouncer that stimulates your child in a variety of ways. You can sit on the ground and play with them, building up their language skills by calling out colors and pointing/naming objects.
You can also encourage creative play by playing out loud with attached animals or shapes. Much like the jumper, it’s a safe place for your baby to play and explore if you need to step out of the room for a moment.
Sit to Stand
Many toy companies boast sit to stand toys. These toys are usually activity centers that encourage creative play. Most make sounds, speak fun phrases, have numbers and letters located on them, as well as play phones attached.
Once your baby begins to walk, you can adjust the toy to their height level and attach wheels and a handle to encourage supported steps!
There are lots of things you can do to promote play with your infant, baby, and toddler. Consider the six tips above and start having fun today.