Movement and Play Ideas for Babies: A Parent's Guide
Updated: May 24
Making time for play with the baby everyday helps the baby’s learning and development and builds the relationship with the baby.
Babies love moving their arms and legs and to reach out to touch everything, such as toys, pets and siblings. Baby play involves the parent looking at the baby, gently touching, talking, singing and responding to the baby.
In this article, I will be sharing suggestions for plays for babies.
Babies (0 to 6 months)
Baby Play Suggestions:
In the first two months, the newborn baby has little control over movements. For example, when the parent stroke the baby’s cheek, the baby turns by reflex to that side to suckle.
As the baby starts to gain more control of movements, the baby might
Stretch and kick when changing diapers or clothes.
Lean on elbows and lift head while lying on tummy. This builds head, neck and upper body strength when the baby is older.
How to do tummy time?
Place safe objects and toys in front of the baby’s face. This encourages the baby’s eyes to see the object or the toy and to move, reach and grip the object or toy in the hands.
Let the baby know the parent is thereby talking, singing, touching the baby. As the baby gets stronger and starts moving more, clear away any dangerous things such as tables. This prevents the baby from hitting.
Suggestions for tummy time:
Start tummy time soon after birth, as part of the baby’s daily plan. In the first few weeks, try tummy time for 1 - 2 minutes, 2 - 3 times daily, at different times of the day. The baby can build up to 10 - 15 minutes a day.
If the baby doesn’t like tummy time on the floor, try tummy time on a blanket or the parent’s lap.
Planning where to bring your child for an outdoor play date with a friend's child? Here are some Outdoor Playgrounds in Singapore that you can consider.
Baby Play Suggestions:
Follow the parent’s face, a mirror reflection or a slowly moving toy with the baby’s eyes. For example, peekaboo and those listed below.
When the mother opens her mouth, the baby being to follow.
The baby sees the mirror.
The cute and lovely baby kisses the mirror.
The baby’s eyes follow a slow-moving toy.
Sing songs that are loud, soft, fast, slow, with or without movements.
Sing nursery rhymes with simple actions that the baby can copy.
Round and Round the Garden
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
Hanging an animal toy in front of the baby will encourage the baby to reach it.
The baby probably enjoys playing with the cute duck plush toy or the favourite cloth book.
Introduce toys like a jack-in-the-box when the baby is around 10 months old. This has an element of surprise. If this is being introduced earlier before 10 months old, the baby might get upset or scared.
Bath time can be very enjoyable for the baby. The baby can enjoy playing with water, toy boats and toy fish. The parent can use measuring cups or empty plastic containers to splash water at the baby. Let the baby feel the impact of the water from a water-filled balloon as shown below.
Watch the baby closely when the baby is playing in the bath.
Read to the baby.
Use books with bright illustrations and fun rhymes.
Give the baby different things to look at, such as colourful books or pictures, bubbles or moving objects. This develops the baby’s eyes strength and keeps the baby interested.
Babies (6 to 12 months)
Baby Play Suggestions:
Sit and support the baby upright on the floor and move a ball or toy in front of the baby. This encourages the baby to follow it with the eyes, reach for it and grasp it.
Put a ball in front of the baby.
Put a flashing LED wand in front of the baby.
Try riding on toys or push-and-pull toys such as carts.
Encourage the baby to crawl through tunnels.
Make sure the house is fully padded and safe for the baby to crawl, with no sharp objects around.
Playing with balls. The baby will enjoy rolling, catching and kicking a ball while growing up. The ball allows the baby to feel he is in control of something other than his own movements.
Get the baby to scoop and put ping pong balls from one small basket to another basket.
Choosing the right shape such as placing a ball into a circle opening on the lid of a cardboard box.
Put some cute sponges in front of the baby, let the baby touch the sponge and feel the sponge’s texture. This sensory play helps to stimulate the baby’s senses of touch, smell, sight and hearing.
Get the baby to throw balls into the mini basketball hoop. This helps to support brain development, build strong muscles, joints and bones.
If you are looking to take your child out for a “play” in the day without sun, do check out our article on Indoor Playgrounds in Singapore.
I hope all these suggestions will help you to play with your baby and have a fun time together.
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Genesis Childcare 1989, one of the best Tampines Preschool and a good childcare Tampines, advocates that every child is unique and precious who needs to be loved and cherished. In our Tampines childcare, we have developed a curriculum which provides a bilingual learning experience, helps the children to learn the necessary skills and knowledge needed to help them successfully transit to Primary School with ease.
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