Play Time! Newborns (Birth to 6 Months)
Try playing some of the little games to help simulate and teach your newborn. There are lot more games, print out these and many more for free at ExecutiveHomemaker.com.
How to play: Gently bounce a colorful rattle back and forth across your baby’s field of vision.
What it teaches: Tracking and visual acuity. Babies can focus on a moving object when they are only a few weeks old. By two months, they may follow it with their eyes. By three months, they’ll wave their fists to try to touch the item. And at the ripe old age of four months, they may be ready to grasp and shake the rattle all by themselves. This activity encourages all of these efforts. Note: If your little one averts her eyes during this game, she’s had enough stimulation for now. Try again later.
This Little Piggy
How to play: Not much has changed here, and most parents know the toe-tweaking and sing-song verse by heart: “This little piggy went to market, this The actual words are unimportant, so make up your own version if you prefer, as long as you are consistent. After several weeks of singing the rhyme, casually interrupt yourselfmidsentence and see what your infant does to try to finish the game.
What it teaches: Communication skills and cause and effect. “Before long, your child will be familiar with how the game is played, and he’ll want to do something to keep the game going,” says Paul Toddler, a researcher and associate professor of specialeducation at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Your baby might kick and babble until you continue, for instance.
Baby’s First Seesaw
How to play: Lie on your back with your knees raised and feet flexed; lay your infant (four months or older) down on your legs with her bottom near your ankles and her back resting on your shins. Grip her wrists between your thumb and forefinger and slowly raise your feet until she is almost horizontal, then lower your legs and repeat for as long as she seems amused. And by all means, make sound effects a part of the fun.
What it teaches: Balance and bracing for a fall. All infants have a built-in reflex that alerts them to any movement affecting the position of their head — that’s why they “startle” when bumped. This exercise helps babies get used to the sensation of falling just as they’re gaining the necessary strength and coordination to prevent themselves from doing so.