Baby playtime pointers for newborns

Jan 24, 2012 at 4:27 a.m. ET

After spending nine months in the womb, your baby has finally popped out, full of energy and playfulness. Spending quality time with your newborn is important, but it’s also crucial that your child learns to have fun. Here are a few playtime pointers you can use to get to know your new baby’s play personality.

Mom with newborn

Silly sounds

After just one month, your baby is able to respond to sounds. From the sound of your voice to the scary sounds of the outside world, your baby is learning what sounds are safe and which are to be feared. Therefore, the sillier the sound, the funnier the response. Get to know your baby's laugh by making different fun squeals that garner the best response.


At this stage in your newborn's life, she's still learning "object permanence," which is a fancy psychological term that means your child believes objects she cannot see are not there. This can last up to about 2 years old, according to JG Bremner's book, Infancy. Now is your time to take advantage of that. Peek-a-boo hides your face and incorporates our first play tip -- silly sounds. Make your baby laugh and teach her a little psychology lesson, even if she won't be able to absorb it until later in life.

Flashy toys

At this stage in your baby's development, his appreciation for subtlety is quite low. Shiny objects, whacky patterns and toys with a lot of action are riveting, even if he can't necessarily play with them the way a 9-month-old would. Your baby is trying to understand the planet. Expose him to mobiles and soft, bell-adorned plush animals in the crib. He'll try his hardest to figure them out.

Fun movement

You probably remember being tossed up into the air and caught in your parent's arms as a child. Obviously you need to be gentle with a newborn, but you can go beyond simple rocking in order to entertain your baby. Spin in slow circles, walk with your baby around your home or place her in the stroller for a walk. (As a general rule, your baby likes to see your face and know you're there, so back-facing strollers are better than front-facing ones, especially in the newborn stage.) Your baby loves to be with you, and she will find anything you do fun.

More on your baby's development

A mom's favorite toys for babies
Play developmental games with your baby
Sleep time to play time: Gear babies love