~ 6 to 12 months
true that play is baby's work. Playtime is everyday, all day, everywhere,
and anywhere! Your baby is ready, full of energy, and acquiring new
skills all the time. Play helps him learn about the world and make
sense of what's going on around him. At the same time, your baby is
developing his motor and language skills.
Your baby can now play on his own with you close by. Place a few toys
he enjoys within easy reach and watch him go! Your presence and encouragement
will go a long way!
Your baby also needs you to play with him to show him how things work,
to describe what is happening, and to deepen his involvement with
the activity. When you play together with your baby, he will get more
involved and play longer. So join in the fun!
Your baby's eagerness to play can be a part of your everyday care
of him. Be playful with him. Your repertoire of songs, nursery rhymes,
finger plays, silly faces and noises, as well as a few toys in your
diaper bag come in handy when he is upset and in need of distraction.
Your baby is fascinated that objects disappear and reappear. After
all, he is trying to figure out where you are when you are not with
him and whether or not you will be back! This is prime time for peek-a-boo
games of all sorts. Use your hands, a scarf, a stuffed toy. Cover
your face. Cover your baby's face if he's comfortable. You'll have
a great time playing peek-a-boo wherever you are!
Your baby needs toys that he can hold on his own, toys that demonstrate
cause and effect, and toys that he can begin to stack and manipulate.
Soft cuddly toys are wonderful to hold and play with as well.
A few toys at one time are all your baby needs. If he seems to lose
interest in a toy, put it in the closet, and let some time go by.
When you bring it out again, your baby may find it exciting to explore
with his new skills.
Look around you for wonderful everyday items for your baby to play
with. Pots, pans, plastic containers, wooden spoons, or an old pocketbook
make great playthings. Also check for rough or sharp edges. Show him
how to put things in the purse or bang on pots and he is on his way!
Keep a few different-sized, colorful balls in your toy collection.
Roll one to your baby and encourage him to "catch" it. At
first, this might be simply touching the ball. Eventually his hands
will find it. Before long he will even roll it back! Encourage your
crawling baby by rolling the ball slightly beyond him. He'll be on
the move to get it!
A large inflatable beach ball offers lots of fun. Roll it to your
baby, and he will reach out to its bright colors and appealing shape
and size. Use it as a drum to tap on. Toss it up and watch him crawl
to get it! Place your baby, tummy down, on the ball and roll him gently
back and forth. Be sure he enjoys this activity before you continue.
Your baby loves imitating you. Give him lots of opportunities when
you play together. Clap yor hands. Shake your head. Stamp your feet.
Bang two small blocks together. Stack two blocks on top of each other.
Take all the blocks out of a plastic container one by one. Show him
how and, eventually he will imitate your actions.
Older babies might enjoy crawling through a hula hoop or large carton.
Try creating a baby-sized "obstacle course" by adding a
large cushion to crawl over or around.
Bubbles are great fun for babies! They reach out to grab them and
crawl over to chase them. Keep a bottle of bubbles in your diaper
bag--they are wonderful to have when you need a little something special
Grab a few lightweight, bright scarves from your drawer. Toss them
in the air. Your baby will love watching them float to the floor.
He'll quickly crawl over to touch one!