0-3 Month Games

Motor Games and Activities

  • Place baby on their tummy to play for a few minutes at a time, a few times a day.
  • Lie down and place baby tummy down on your chest so you’re face-to-face.
  • Hold baby’s hands and clap them together while you play music and sing.
  • Nestle baby close to you while you gently rock and sway.
  • Change the direction that baby sleeps to encourage head turning and build strength.

Sensory Games and Activities

  • Hang a colorful mobile above baby’s crib to provide visual stimulation.
  • Gently touch and tickle baby to make them giggle.mom playing with baby
  • Play with baby in a variety of positions.
  • Provide plenty of skin-to-skin contact with a parent or caregiver.
  • Smile at baby, touch her hands, feet and forehead. See how she wiggles, reacts to touch and voices.
  • Play or sing songs with baby to help enhance baby’s listening skills.
  • When changing baby’s diaper touch different body parts and say “beep” baby may begin watching your hand and anticipating touch.
  • Hang a mirror on the wall. Tap the mirror and say baby’s name. Over time baby will begin to understand who the baby in the mirror is.
  • Show baby family photos or flip through a magazine. Point out the smiling faces to baby.

Communication Games and Activities

  • Speak in a high-pitched, sing-song voice to help get and keep baby’s attention while you talk
  • Describe your actions as you dress, feed, and bathe your child. Talk about where you’re going and what you’re doing.
  • Give baby frequent face-to-face time.mom and baby face to face
  • Shake a rattle up and down while singing to baby.
  • Show pictures of family and friends and point out smiling faces.
  • Hold up a doll or stuffed animal and point out the different body parts.

 Feeding Games and Activities

  • Collect a variety of scents (flowers, spices, cookies) and pass them under baby’s nose one at a time to see what kinds of smells they prefer.

4-6 Month Games

Motor Games and Activities

  • Place baby on their tummy to play in short spurts for up to an hour over the course of the day.
  • Place baby tummy down on a blanket and move the blanket slowly around the room.
  • Allow baby to explore age-appropriate toys with their mouth and tongue (make sure the toys are large enough so that baby does not risk choking).
  • Encourage baby to practice repeated rolling from back to tummy. Place toys around to encourage pivoting.

Sensory Games and Activities

  • Encourage baby to touch fabric with different textures such as wool, corduroy, and velvet.
  • Lift baby up and down and play in different positions to help develop their sense of movement and balance.
  • Find balls with different textures and colors. Teach baby how to roll, drop, and bounce them.

Communication Games and Activities

  • Play peek-a-boo.
  • Use a variety of facial expressions while you talk.
  • Read with baby. “Reading” can simply mean describing pictures without following the written words.
  • Encourage two-way communication. When baby coos or babbles, be sure to respond and take turns in “conversation”.
  • Play with rhymes and songs.
  • Encourage baby to play with toys that make sounds.

Feeding Games and Activities

  • Collect a variety of scents (flowers, spices, cookies) and pass them under baby’s nose one at a time to see what kinds of smells they prefer.

7-9 Month Games

Motor Games and Activities

  • Put a toy or book inside an empty cardboard box. Wrap it with colorful paper or newspaper comics. Clap your hands when baby yanks it open, then announce what is inside.
  • Encourage movement by placing toys around baby where they must move to reach them.
  • Encourage baby pushups during Tummy Time by raising and lowering a rattle over baby’s head.
  • Engage baby in activities like reading or playing with a ball while in sitting.
  • Gently push baby back and forth on a swing in the park, but make sure baby can sit up and hold head steady with no problem.
  • When baby is holding a toy in each hand, offer a third toy; watch as baby figures out how to grasp the new toy without letting go of the other two.Baby and Mom stacking wood blocks
  • Punch holes in lid of empty food container and fill with water to make a fun bath time toy.
  • Get an empty plastic bucket and have baby throw toys into it.
  • Use different household items, like squeeze toys or newspapers to make different noises for baby.

Sensory Games and Activities

  • Use your hands to make shadow puppets for baby.
  • Gently touch baby on the feet and tummy to make them giggle.
  • Play with a jack in the box or windup toy with baby to show motion.
  • Use animal sounds when playing with or reading to baby; point out an image of an animal, then associate the sound that animal makes with the picture.
  • Walk with baby in a carrier or baby backpack.
  • Play with baby in many different positions.
  • Take baby on a walk in a stroller or jogger.
  • Use slow, rocking motions for calming and more vigorous motions for play time.
  • Give baby space to explore environment, while staying close to supervise.
  • Introduce new textures while baby is eating, sleeping, dressing, or playing outdoors. Use a variety of sponges, soaps, and lotions during bath time.
  • Provide plenty of skin-to-skin contact with a parent or caregiver.
  • Encourage baby to play on the floor with toys of various colors, sizes, and shapes.
  • Allow baby to grab and explore items within reach.

Communication Games and Activities

  • Draw a picture of baby’s face and then point out the different parts.
  • Play with a pretend phone; talk into phone as you would a regular call, then offer it to baby to do the same.
  • Read short stories with baby.
  • Start using hand movements along with associated words to teach baby to communicate with gestures.
  • Describe your actions throughout the day as you dress, feed, and bathe baby. This gives baby an opportunity to listen to the sounds and rhythms of speech.
  • Respond to baby’s sounds and encourage two-way communication.
  • Play music throughout the day –lively, upbeat music during playtime, and quiet melodic music for naps and bedtime.
  • Read picture books together to help baby connect words and images.
  • Give baby frequent face time.
  • Point out objects while you walk and talk with baby.

Feeding Games and Activities

  • Try introducing pureed foods to baby. Puree a small amount of whatever you are having for dinner in a food processor, but be sure to avoid honey, cow’s milk, salt, and artificial sweeteners.
  • Introduce new foods gradually and watch for baby’s response.
  • Do not force food or show stress over a baby’s dislike for certain foods.
  • Change the texture of food if baby refuses food.
  • Provide baby with a healthy diet – avoid artificial ingredients, sugars, and preservatives.

10-12 Month Games

Motor Games and Activities

  • Get baby to stack toys such as blocks or rings and describe each toy as your baby picks it up.
  • Lie down on the floor and have baby crawl over you.
  • Practice new gestures with baby like blowing kisses, clapping hands, or giving a high five.
  • Use a toy to encourage baby to crawl when they are in a Tummy Time position.
  • Roll a soft ball across the floor and encourage baby to crawl after it.
  • Allow baby to play with toys they can push or pull across the floor.
  • Read with baby while they lie on their tummy.
  • Play with stackable blocks.
  • Let baby play with large objects like tunnels, pillows, or cushions while supervised.
  • If baby is already walking, let them try riding toys that they can sit on and scoot across the floor.
  • Provide push toys that allow baby to practice walking with some support.
  • Encourage baby to dance and sway to music.
  • Provide opportunities for baby to experience slow, rocking movements.

Sensory Games and Activities

  • Give a toy musical instrument to baby and show her how to use it. This is a great way to introduce rhythm and music during playtime. She will enjoy learning how to make different sounds. Try forming a family band and making music together.
  • Allow baby to experiment with textures and temperatures. Textured toys, like teething rings or a wet wash cloth you can freeze are fun for baby to experience.
  • Baby is developing taste and smell. Continually offer different types of foods to baby. If baby doesn’t appear to enjoy a food, try it again on a different day. It often takes multiple tries before learning to like a new food.
  • Just because you have to get some chores done doesn’t mean you have to stop interacting with baby. When doing chores around the house, point to objects and tell baby what you’re doing. Direct baby’s attention to interesting objects by helping him point his finger.
  • Begin teaching baby about the outdoors. Spread a soft blanket outside for you and baby to lie on. You can ask if she sees the trees or animals. Get her to hold and feel things found outside, but make sure baby does not place the items in her mouth.
  • Use a small dish towel or hand towel to play peek-a-boo with baby. Ask baby “Where’s mama?” and when mom appears, say “mama” to encourage baby to imitate. After a couple of times she will be able to pull the towel off by herself.
  • Hide objects under a blanket or behind a piece of furniture in the play space during playtime. You can also try hiding yourself and pop out from behind a piece of furniture to surprise baby.
  • Try to encourage baby to crawl over, under and through various objects in home. Take empty boxes, remove tops and bottoms, and tape them to make a long tunnel. Be sure to be at baby’s side so he doesn’t get hurt.

Communication Games and Activities

  • Practice waving bye-bye when a guest leaves your home.
  • Read daily from big, colorful books and let baby turn the pages.
  • Encourage baby to wave hello when meeting new people.
  • Ask baby to point to different body parts when you name them.
  • Ask baby questions and encourage response with words, baby sounds, cooing, or babbling. Record the conversation and play it back for baby to hear.
  • Direct baby’s attention to interesting objects by helping them point their finger.
  • Name textures, shapes, and sizes to help baby attach words to tactile experiences.
  • Describe your actions throughout the day as you dress, feed, and bathe baby.
  • Respond to baby’s sounds to encourage two-way communication.

Feeding Games and Activities

  • Offer baby an assortment of food to try.
  • Keep track of where baby is in their feeding development; well meaning friends and family may give baby food inappropriate for their age.

13-18 Month Games

Motor Games and Activities

  • Encourage baby to kick a ball on the ground. Gradually build up to rolling ball so baby can kick it while in motion.
  • Put on some silly songs with lyrics that give listeners instructions like “The Hokey Pokey”. Dance with baby while following song directions.
  • Let baby play with a musical instrument if you have access to one. For a drum, baby can use wooden spoon & cardboard box. Babies love hearing sounds they make by beating a drum or playing notes on a piano.
  • Roll a large bouncy ball back and forth between you and your toddler.
  • Use mini-traffic cones to create a zigzag path to walk through with your toddler.
  • As your toddler gets older, introduce songs like, “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” to help with coordination.

Sensory Games and Activities

boy popping bubbles

 

  • Blow bubbles for baby. Let baby touch them, watch them soar through sky and pop when they land.
  • Wrap a table in plastic and spray shaving cream on top. Encourage baby to explore the shaving cream with hands, brushes, spatulas or plastic spoons.
  • Fill up a bucket with blocks of different sizes, textures and colors. Ensure that none are small enough to be swallowed if baby decides to explore them with their mouth. Allow baby to explore the blocks with all of their senses.

Communication Games and Activities

  • Go through family photos with baby and encourage them to point out familiar family members.
  • Sing nursery rhymes with actions like, “Itsy-Bitsy-Spider” and “Patty Cake”.
  • Use a play telephone to practice different ways to say hello or goodbye, such as bye, bye-bye, goodbye, etc. mom chasing baby through garden
  • As you read to your toddler, encourage them to point out familiar objects in the illustrations.
  • Go on a nature walk in a park or even in your backyard and point out all of the animals and interesting plants you see.
  • This is a great age for encouraging baby to practice the meanings of “in” and “out”. Ask baby to put their toys in a bucket and take them out again.

19-24 Month Games

Motor Games and Activities

  • Blow bubbles to fall down in front of child while standing.  Encourage him to pop bubbles by clapping between hands or by poking with his finger.
  • Grab a toy that your toddler can sit on top of as you bring her around your house or on the sidewalk. Your toddler has to stay on by holding a handle and using her legs.
  • You can set up a mini obstacle course in your living room. Make pillow stacks to crawl over or lay a blanket over a table to make you toddler crawl under it.
  • Give your toddler their own drawer or box of “treasures.” These can be new toys from the dollar section or objects he would find interesting. Let them look through it and whatever they pull out you can use to play with.
  • Create a new living space underneath a dining room table. Add in some pillows and his favorite toys to make it like their own house.
  • Chase your toddler around the room saying, “I’m going to get you!” Let the anticipation of catching her build until you eventually catch her.
  • Set up empty water bottles to make bowling pins. Show your toddler how to roll the ball to knock down the pins.

Sensory Games and Activities

  • Balloons are fun when they’re inflated and decorate a room, but they’re even more fun when you let them fly around the room. Instead of tying the end of the balloon, let it go and see it whoosh around the room. Let your toddler get it and bring it back.
  • Tape some contact paper (sticky side out) to your wall or window. Give your toddler a few different objects like cotton balls that she can use to throw or place onto the contact paper and watch it stick.
  • Make a little slit in a box to make it your toddler’s personal mailbox. Then put in junk mail that you get and let him tear it open.
  • Get a small water bottle and fill it with different objects. Let your toddler shake it around and discover glitter, pebbles and other objects as she turns it in her hand. Make sure the bottle is securely sealed and filled with age-appropriate items.
  • Create a ramp. Let your toddler roll different objects down it to learn about how gravity works.youn girl playing with pink ball
  • Get some brightly colored objects, like bouncy balls, and place them around the living room. Then let your toddler walk around and try to find them. Don’t make them too hard to find though. Your toddler can count them out as she finds them too.
  • Get outside and put different sized balls on the ground. Set down a hula hoop and have your toddler gather the balls and put them inside the hoop.
  • Play chef and use measuring cups for your toddler to fill with cheerios. Then let him serve you the cheerios as a snack. He won’t understand the different measurements yet but scooping and dumping will be fun for him.

 Communication Games and Activities

  • Find a large cardboard box that baby can play in. Place baby in the box and pretend she is in a race car. Make engine noises and pretend to turn the “steering wheel.” The more noises you make and actions you do the better.
  • Play with your toddler by naming different body parts and pointing to them. Let him identify which body part is which. You can name the body part first and have your toddler point to it or you can point to a body part and have him name it. Either way, he is learning while having fun.
  • Have a dance party with your toddler. Put on some upbeat music and dance with him around the house or outside.
  • Bring new life to stories by making sound effects. Someone’s stamping their feet in the story? Pound your feet on the floor. A wolf is howling? Give it your best howl.