by Dawn Arkin
As any parent can tell you, babies grow at a rapid pace. Their first year of life is spent discovering and learning about the world around them. They learn to do so much during this first year; from rolling over and sitting to crawling and walking. So many new and wonderful connections are made during the first year.
As they grow, their love of playing games will grow with them. While most of the games you played with your child when he was 6 months and younger are still favorites, it's time to add some more active games into the mix. Here are some games you can play with your little ones as they grow closer to becoming toddlers.
7 to 9 months
During these months, your baby will begin to sit up on his own, and might even start crawling. They are becoming more mobile, which means you as a parent need to be more alert to what they are doing and where they are.
Using their new found mobility to encourage your child to play and learn is crucial to their development. Make a big deal out of every accomplishment your child reaches. Clap and cheer to show them you are proud of what they've done.
So, what are some good games for your 7 to 9 month old to play?
By now, your child has figured out those things they can't see anymore having fallen off the face of the planet. So why not play a game of peek-a-boo with him. Take a towel and cover your head, saying "Where's Mommy". Then remove it quickly and say "boo". Do this until he's used to you coming back. Then try it with the towel on his head, saying "Where's Baby". Be aware, he might not like it the first few times, so make sure the towel doesn't stay on his head for very long, just a few seconds. If he doesn't like it, try holding the towel in front of his fast, without being on him. As your child learns this game, he may initiate playing it by putting his own blanket over his head.
Bang my Drum
Your baby's ability to hold items is improving and soon he will discover he not only can hold something but he can slam it on the table and make a wonderful noise. Try giving your baby a wooden spoon and watch him bang it on the table. Keep a sharp eye on him, so he doesn't hit himself in the head. Also, don't forget pots and pans as an excellent source of new sounds. A few pans and wooden spoons, and mom's help, and baby can make beautiful music.
10 to 12 months old
At this age, baby is almost a toddler. He has learned to stand, and probably is already walking. And most likely talking too. Now you need games that work on your child's fine motor and language skills.
Even if your child isn't walking just yet, it's almost a sure bet he's cruising. Crawling over to a stable object, pulling himself up, and walking along the object using it to stay stable. Cruising is important to learning to walk. A game you can play that will help build these skills is to take a favorite toy or stuffed animal and place it on a stable object, like a couch or coffee table. Then place your baby at the other end of the item. Encourage your child to "walk" to the toy. It might take a few tries to get your child to cruse on over, but eventually he'll see it as a game; can he reach his toy before you move it. Remember to let him "beat" you now and then.
Babies love to play in boxes. And they love putting things in and taking things out of boxes. Get an old shoebox, with lid, and fill it with a variety of small items; toys, little stuffed animals, plastic shapes, etc. be sure to have brightly colored and dull items. Put the box in front of your baby and show him out to take the lid off. Let him play with the box before dumping out the objects inside.
Remember to make learning fun for your child and you will instill in him a desire to discover and learn. And a desire to have fun.
Dawn Arkin is a stay-at-home Mom who writes in her spare time.
Copyright © Dawn Arkin. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.