Creative Play for Babies - Newborn to 6 Months

by Dawn Arkin

New parents are bombarded with information about raising children. What diapers to use, whether to breast feed, and how to make their babies smarter. Millions of dollars are spend every year on products designed to make their child smarter and more alert.

But nothing matches parental interaction for helping a child grow and learn. Talking, singing, and cuddling all play a vital role in your child's development. So does play time.

From the moment your child is born, he is curious about the world around him. Every experience is new, from the feel of her blanket to the sounds around her. And every new thing helps him make the connections that will help him grow and learn.

When my children were babies, they loved to play games and interact with me. Any game made them smile and laugh. They looked forward to play time with me. I did too.

Because newborns are still getting used to their environment, be sure to watch your child for signs of over stimulation. If you child begins to squirm or cries, change the activity to something more calm, like cuddling or rocking.

So, what kinds of games can you play with your newborn to help him make these connections? Be sure to choose activities that are age appropriate for your baby and it'll be as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Birth to 3 months old

At this age, most babies aren't mobile. They are totally dependent on you to take care of everything, from feeding to getting around. This is a great age to show your baby the world around them. Remember it might take your newborn a little while to respond to your games. It is normal and doesn't mean anything is wrong.

What is this?
Newborns are fascinated with touch. Soft, rough, furry, everything interests them. Now is the time to put that wardrobe you spent a lifetime accumulating to a wonderful new use. Find the items in your closet that have most diverse feels and colors. Silk, suede, velvet, fake furs and cashmere sweaters are excellent choices. Let baby experience each one as long as he wishes. While you are doing this, be sure to talk with you baby, tell him what he's feeling and seeing.

Dancing Baby

Music has charms to sooth the cranky baby. While not every baby loves music, the majority are calmed by it. So why not take advantage of that and try dancing with your baby. Find a music your baby likes, one that doesn't put him to sleep. Turn it on low and hold your baby, making sure you give his neck the support it needs. Then sway, move around, do dips, and just dance. It doesn't have to be perfect, as long as you hold your baby and interact with him. If your baby doesn't like dancing, maybe he'll like watching you dance. Exaggerated movements can hold your child's attention and entertain them for as long as you can dance.

Wow, look at that!
Babies love to feel new things. Their eyesight isn't perfect right now, so they need to see things up close and personal. They find things we take for granted interesting. You can use this interest to introduce your baby to the world around him. The kitchen is a wonderful place to find a diverse group of things your baby can look at and touch. Spoons, whisks, spatulas, fruits and vegetables are different kinds of things you can let your baby look at and touch to learn about his home.

4 to 6 months old

At this age, babies are more active. They are learning to roll over and to hold their head up. Near the sixth month, most babies are learning to sit up as well. Here are some games for their age group, in addition to the previous ones.

Bubble Blast
Now that your baby's eyesight is improving, it's time to take advantage of most children's love of bubbles. A great game to play when you are outside is bubble blast. A small bottle of bubbles and a wand are all you need to provide entertainment for your older baby. There are even little bottles of bubbles, complete with a wand, you can even keep in your diaper bag for those times you are outside for long periods of time and baby is cranky.