Throughout the first year of your child’s life, playing educational learning games with your baby not only helps you bond, but can also help him reach those milestones most parents obsess about. From games for baby that tap into his five senses to chase learning games for your 1-year-old, discover eight developmental baby games that will help your little one develop his motor skills, crawling, senses and more.
Baby Games that foster learning
Birth to 3 months old
In this infant stage, you can best communicate with your bundle of joy through his five senses. Keep in mind that repetition is key with these baby games!
One of the classic games for baby, pat-a-cake does more than entertain baby when you substitute gentle rubs on your tike’s hands and fingers while singing.
“Developmental exercises are recommended beginning in infancy,” says Dr. Hannah Chow, pediatrician and assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. “Simple tummy time, where an infant learns to lift his head, will lead to pushing up on his stomach, rolling and crawling. Tummy time also allows eye to eye contact and visual exploration of an infant’s surroundings and caregivers.” Just remember to keep a watchful eye on your infant as he still struggles to hold up his neck and can suffocate.
4 months old to 6 months old
Babies are more open to educational learning, thanks to their increased ability to sit up, roll over and control hand and arm movements like a pro.
Baby games that encourage socialization can also build memory and anticipation, as well as his first exposure to object permanence.
Place your baby chest down on a bolster pillow on a carpeted surface to encourage him to push forward with his legs and back with his hands to get his muscles geared up for crawling.
7 months old to 9 months old
Games for baby that develop sitting, crawling, hand control abilities and object permanence are important to help your youngster reach these important baby milestones.
Whether babbling to his reflection in the mirror or popping your kiddo in and out of sight of his image, these baby games are fun for you both when you hop in and out of view with him.
Many babies at this age can empty the contents of your purse in 10 seconds flat, so giving him a box filled with his own toys to empty and refill will keep him well entertained — and exercise his cognitive abilities.
10 months old to 12 months old
Baby games that practice fine and gross motor skills are key for your kiddo as he’s striding toward his toddler years.
Place yourself a short distance away from your almost-toddler and play a game of chase — er, crawl — taking turns saying, “I’m going to get you!” or “Can you get me?” as you engage him in a learning game that ends in tickles, kisses and praises.
Pour and ponder
To boost educational learning when it comes to finding connections between objects, he’ll love to arrange and pour objects from one stacking cup or bowl to another, like sand or water, over another large container.
Learn more about baby milestones — when should baby sit up? Crawl? Walk? Talk? >>
“Developmentally, children go from non verbal to verbal, from needing constant care to independent feeding and dressing, and from merely observing their environment to becoming participants,” explains Dr. Chow.
However, do not to push your baby to play any of these eight developmental baby games. When faced with a reluctant little one, try introducing educational learning periodically throughout the day and you may find these learning games for baby will entice him to join in on the fun, even if he doesn’t realize he’s learning!
More on babies’ development
Your baby’s health and development: What is normal?
What can your toddler do?
Speech development in the infant and toddler