The arrival of a little one sure brings a smile on your face, but the happiness doubles up when you see your baby giggling and laughing. The cherubic little face brightens you up instantly, making you forget all the worries and concerns. While your baby explores and discovers new things and people around it, you turn back the pages of your childhood and revive the memories that got wearied off with time. While most people say that just being beside a baby gives a sense of jubilation, the celebration can become twofold by indulging in an assortment of fun and amusing activities. Baby games and activities are an excellent way to enhance learning and create a bond with your bundle of joy. The best aspect about these activities is that they are not only thrilling, but also build the motor and sensory skills of the baby. Additionally, these engaging activities play a vital role in developing a sense of unconscious learning, stimulating sensory organs, and let your baby to take on its surroundings. Besides, they go a long way in building feelings of security, stimulating your child’s brain and help them to get in touch with their environment. Read through these activities that are brain-simulating, educative and enthralling.
Importance of Playtime
Playtime is vital for the child’s development and learning. It helps in building your child’s confidence; develop language, communication and social skills. It aids in developing physical skills of your baby and your child learns and understands about the environment. Children gain cognitive, physical and sensory experiences by playing. These experiences aid in building connections in their brain which help them grow and develop socially, physically, emotionally and cognitively.
Structured And Unstructured Play
Also known as free play, it largely depends on the mood and interest of your child. As the name suggests, unstructured play is not planned. It just happens. It is more important for infants, newborns or younger children as it lets them move and learn at their own pace. This may include musical and artistic games, creative play or role play alone or with others, imaginative games like stacking blocks, dressing up, exploring new places like playgrounds, backyards etc.
As the names suggests, these activities are planned and organized at a fixed set up and time guided by grown-ups. Older children are most likely to benefit and enjoy structured play. These may include plays like family board or card games, playing soccer, swimming lessons for older children, drama, dance or music classes etc.
Do Infants Need Physical Activity?
We all need to engage in physical activity as per our age. So yes, your infant needs to be physically active as this stimulates growth in babies. Physical activities help in building joints, muscles and bones, improves sleep, supports brain development, improves flexibility, coordination and balance.
When should I start having playtime with my baby?
In the early newborn phase the simple connections that you make with your baby count as ‘play.’ Your voice, the warmth of your skin, your face, eye contact etc are engaging the senses of your little one.
While in the first month the interests of your teeny-weeny is limited to sleeping, eating and popping, by the second month they might hold up their head when placed on their stomach. By the third month they might try to communicate with you as they might give you consistent smiles and turn up to familiar sounds. Your baby will give you signs when they are ready and interested in playtime each day.
What can I do with a newborn at home?
We do understand that much of your time is absorbed in feeding and changing diapers, but there is so much more you should do in order to bond with your newborn. You can sing, read or talk to the little one; of course do not expect a reply that soon! Wink. Cradling, infant massage, stroking, tummy-time etc can be great ways to connect with your newborn.
What activities are appropriate for infants? (Fun and Engaging Activities For Infants)
Babies love lullabies and easily associate them with different emotions. So, pick up one or two of them and sing them to your baby when it requires help in falling asleep. With time, it will get accustomed and relate those lullabies with naptime. Similarly, you can utilize other lullabies at other times, such as soothing a crying baby, while feeding or burping, calming down an overexcited baby and so on.
Babies tend to learn faster using their sensory systems. Therefore, whenever your baby responds to any particular object, help it learn more about that object by using its sensory system. Say, for example, if your baby loves flowers, make it smell the flower, feel the touch, and watch the different colors of the same flower. With this kind of learning, your baby will be able to respond more easily as sensory organs during infanthood are extremely strong, thereby contributing to a baby’s learning power.
Categorizing is another set of activities that helps infants swiftly develop their learning skills. Pick up different objects you can find in your home and categorize them on the basis of color, shapes, sound, texture, and form. Help your baby in visualizing different colors and touching different shapes of the categorized objects. This will enable it to differentiate between different objects in its surroundings. Furthermore, you can make different learning videos for your baby, with new words and new objects. This will help your baby to identify and recognize different voices easily and more effectively.
With some obstacles in the way, your baby can navigate the twists, turns, and bumps on the road. Set up some stuffed toys, books, and pillows on the floor in the form of a track. Hold your baby’s hands or crawl alongside it while guiding it to overcome those objects. If you wish, you can add a chair to teach it the art of moving under something. This will boost its motor skills, coordination, balance, and lower-body strength.
Stack ‘Em Up
Once babies master the technique of eye-hand coordination, they love building stuff and knocking the same down. Offer your little one different objects that can be easily stacked on each other, such as cardboard or wooden blocks, cereal boxes, board books, shoe boxes, and plastic cups. Although it may require your help in erecting the skyscraper, but it sure would love to bring it down all by itself, once the building is constructed. This activity of building and stacking helps in boosting an infant’s fine and gross motor skills, apart from improving eye-hand coordination. Besides, the baby will also be learning about spatial relationships and shapes.
Babies desire to explore everything they can get their hands on. Help your baby fulfil its wish by introducing it to every room of your house and every inch of your yard. The new sights and sounds will attract it and help it explore the world. Your yard will have a plethora of things to be discovered, like a blade of grass, the bark of a tree, a warm stone, or a wet leaf. Pick up things to allow your baby get a closer look and feel of the object. Brush a leaf against its cheek to feel the touch, hold a flower to its nose to identify the smell, or let it squeeze some dirt with its fist. Similarly, let it explore different fascinating things at your sweet home, such as light switches, water faucets, silky curtains, and smooth windowpanes. This would build its vocabulary, enabling it to be actively curious, and promoting visual and sensory development. Besides, the listening and hand-eye coordination will further be given a boost.
Baby Safe Mirror
A baby safe mirror is an easy visual activity. Let your baby see its reflection in the mirror, let them touch their reflection, ask questions like “Where is the baby?,” “Who is this,” etc.
Hide and Seek
An infant cannot play hide and seek with you that early, but you can surely hide a toy behind you or an object under her favourite blanket and let her determine how she can reach out to it.
You may take your little one for a walk in its stroller or baby carrier. Make sure that your teeny-weeny is dressed appropriately as per the weather and temperature. You may point out to different things while you take your baby for a stroll. We are sure that you and your baby will love this change.
On a pleasant day, you may take your baby out and blow some bubbles in the air and see her eyes beaming.
Note: Make sure that you blow the bubbles away from your baby so that the soapy water by any chance does not come in contact with your little one’s skin or eyes.
Though keeping an infant entertained might seem a daunting task but it is quite simple. That is because everything is new to them as their exposure is quite limited. Infants won’t want you to narrate stories or play complicated games; all they crave for is your attentions and presence. Just because they are infants, it doesn't mean they lack intelligence. The astuteness of infants, when well guided can help them become bright and smart youngsters. Let your baby absorb lots of information and knowledge as you see it growing. We do understand that interacting with a scrunched-up newborn is a unique challenge but for that let your creative juices flowing, all your baby needs is its favourite person - YOU. So it is not necessary for you to buy fancy equipments or toys, just play by the ear, patty-cake to peekaboo might look simple but they are sure to become playtime hits for your tiny tot. Have a fantabulous Playtime!
Sources - https://www.whattoexpect.com/playroom/playtime-tips/baby-games.aspx