Playing with your baby can create and support attachment, communication and caring that will last you and your child's lifetime. The magic of rhymes, songs and play will enrich the world of any baby, toddler or preschooler. A little fun and attention will go a long way with your baby. Knowing what and how to play with a baby can be a new experience for many parents.
Baby's play has a purpose - it develops physical, intellectual, emotional and social skills. It is also an important factor in the formation of identity and personality.
From birth, babies are ready for some sort of play - as simple as it may seem initially. During the first few months, your baby will use his senses to play and learn, so by encouraging the development of your baby's senses, intellectual growth will also be stimulated. Babies will even stimulate themselves by playing with their hands and feet. Nothing can substitute for the human touch and attention a baby receives when engaged in play with others. Even the youngest baby is in need of such attention.
If you are wondering what to do with your baby, remember that babies:
- are more interested in the human face than any other object;
- love to be close to an adult, and love the sound of an adult's voice and the sight of an adult face - even if you are on the phone, your baby can be close by in a bassinet or baby seat, being stroked and touched;
- love to be carried around when awake - a sling will let you do simple tasks in the house as well as provide entertainment - the feeling of motion gives your baby a sense of movement and rhythm;
- like to lie on their backs looking at interesting things - it's a good idea to have a few such spots in different places for your baby to spend most of her day (remember to keep things within the viewing range of your baby);
- enjoy mobiles - mobiles are entertaining for your baby and provide a stimulating experience;
- will respond to singing at anytime during their waking hours - babies love the sound of a familiar voice and will find comfort in hearing this throughout their day; and
- will respond to a variety of sounds - they will be stimulated by rattles, squeaky toys, music boxes, musical mobiles and other similar toys - even household sounds such as splashing water, bells or a blender will stimulate a response from your baby. But, be aware of your baby becoming over stimulated.