Your floppy, delicious-smelling baby is fed, rested, and alert. But what are you supposed to do with him? Here are some easy ideas for your baby’s first “playtimes."
1. Real-life cause and effect with balloons
- Take a Sharpie to a white balloon and make your own high contrast designs to capture your baby’s attention
- Try batting a balloon in front of your baby and watch her try to track it with her developing eyes.
- Tie balloons to her legs and see if she notices the movement when she kicks.
2. Hand discovery (8-12 weeks)
You can get black and white patterned mittens in the first Play Kit or make your own by putting a piece of cloth with a black and white design tied loosely around her palm.
- Lay your baby on a plain blanket without other stuff around to distract her.
- Place the black and white mittens on your baby’s hands while she’s lying on her back, side lying, or during tummy time.
- See if she starts to notice her hands!
3. Paper play
- Babies are so fascinated with paper! Tear a piece of paper in front of your baby’s view and watch her startle and fixate on the sound as the paper transforms.
- Slowly crumple up a piece of paper in front of your baby, showing her how it changes from a flat sheet to a crumpled ball
- Before your baby can coordinate grasping and getting objects to her mouth, and when she starts arm waving around 9 – 11 weeks, try giving her a large piece of tissue paper. See if her batting arms hit can hit the paper accidentally or put it by her feet and see if she notices the sound her feet make when she kicks the paper.
4. Sound tour
Understanding that objects and people can make sounds is an early lesson in real life cause and effect.
- Go on a sound tour of your house and see if you can get your baby to tune into the sounds of your daily life, like: 1. the sound of your fingers rapping on a window; 2. the doorbell ringing; 3. a hairdryer; 4. the beeps of the microwave... etc.
- Talk about what your baby is experiencing as you go.
5. Talking and reading
Talking with your baby is one of the very best things you can do to help build his developing brain. The more you talk with him, the more he understands, and the more he’ll eventually learn to say by himself.
Here are some tips for talking:
- Stick with it: your baby is processing what he’s hearing even if he doesn’t seem to be listening to you
- Speak to him directly when you can: face to face conversation is the most helpful kind
- Introduce him to a variety of words
- Speak to him in a high-pitched, sing-song voice that comes naturally when speaking to babies
- Use a book with high contrast images, like the Wooden Book in the first Play Kit from Lovevery.
- When he makes a sound, reinforce it by mimicking it back to him, and then pause and make the same sound again— this makes it feel like you two are having a conversation!
- Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to talk constantly—just 15 minutes per waking hour can make a big difference