0-3 Month Games

Week 1

  • Tummy to Play: Always remember: back to sleep, tummy to play. Baby may not like being on their tummy at first because back and neck muscles are not very strong yet. Make Tummy Time part of baby’s daily routine starting with a few minutes at a time, a few times a day. Helps baby develop core strength.
  • Face-to-Face: Lie down propped up by a pillow and place baby tummy down on your chest so you’re face-to-face. Hold firmly so baby does not roll off. Helps baby strengthen core muscles and achieve developmental milestones.
  • Get to Know Baby: Take time to get to know baby in every way. Smile at them. Touch hands, feet and forehead. See how they wiggle and react to touch and voices. Helps you connect with your baby.

Week 2

  • Evolving Mobile: Every couple of weeks add or change the toys hanging from an overhead mobile or play mat to grab baby's attention. Wiggling the toys can also help baby look at the new toys. When baby is able to sit up, take down the mobile due to safety risks. Helps baby develop vision by providing interesting objects and colors to look at.
  • Sleeping Direction: Change the direction baby lies while sleeping. Place their head on the right side of the crib, then switch to the left side the next night. Repeat. Don't forget to always place baby on back to sleep. Helps baby build strength by turning different directions to see you.
  • Mobile Songs: If your baby’s mobile plays music, sing along with the songs. Hold their hand or rock them while you sing. Play similar music for him at other times of the day, all around the house. Helps baby improve listening skills.
  • Tummy Min: After diapering, lay baby on their tummy for a few minutes so Tummy Time becomes a part of their daily routine. Helps baby learn to lift up their head. 

Week 3

  • Beep Baby: Tap baby in different places and say the name of each body part. Then say “beep” or make another sound after each new body part you touch. They may start watching your hands and anticipating each touch. Helps baby develop their sense of touch and body awareness.
  • Raise to Sit: Place baby on their back facing you. Put your hands behind their shoulders and head for support and slowly raise them to a sitting position. Keep repeating this movement. Once baby can support their head, you can practice while holding their hands. Helps baby build strength.
  • Mirror on the Wall: Put up a child-safe activity mirror on baby’s crib where they can see it. Say a rhyme: “Mirror mirror on the wall, Who’s the coolest baby of all?” Tap the mirror so they will glance at it and eventually they will learn that it's them in the mirror! Helps baby develop vision. 
  • Gentle Strokes: Before feeding, gently stroke baby’s lips with nipple or bottle to encourage mouth to open for feeding. Be sure to present the nipple/bottle in the middle of mouth. Helps baby latch on for feeding.

Week 4

  • Head Lifts: Baby should be starting to lift head a little bit when doing Tummy Time. Get baby to move by dangling a toy to look up at. Helps baby improve neck and head control.
  • Keep a Diary: Track things like baby’s motor milestones, how often they eat, and how many ounces are eaten per day. This helps you track baby’s growth and lets doctors check baby’s day-to-day activities and patterns. If you are concerned about baby’s development, be sure to share the diary with your healthcare provider.
  • Rattle Up & Down: Move and groove with a rattle – up and down. While they won't be able to shake it on their own yet, their reflexes will allow them to grasp the handle and enjoy the sounds as you help shake it. Helps baby continue to develop hearing.
  • Massage Feeding: Give baby a little massage on their arms, legs, and back before showing them the nipple or bottle. Helps increase baby’s alertness to help with feeding. 

Week 5

  • Get on Down: When baby is on tummy, get down on their level. Encourage eye contact. Place a mirror in front of baby, so they see themselves in a new way. Helps baby develop motor skills, prevents flat spots on head.
  • Smiling Faces: Babies love faces. Go through pictures of family and friends or a magazine. Point out the smiling faces for baby. You can also draw a basic smiley face on a paper plate and hang it in baby's room. Helps baby develop ability to focus.
  • Diaper Time Chat: When changing baby's diaper, talk about what you are doing. "We have a clean diaper for you." "Mommy is going to lift up your legs now." Helps set the foundation for baby's language skills. 
  • Soft Touch: While baby is alert, awake, and calm place a soft, cushy toy with a face within their arm length. The face will interest them, and the way it feels will develop their sense of touch. Move the toy up and down, left and right in front of them. Helps baby track objects and develop visual focus.

Week 6

  • Mirrors All Around: Take baby around the house. Share your reflection in each mirror. Point to your eyes, ask if they see them, then ask if they see their eyes, and point them out, “Here are your eyes!” Helps encourage baby to identify themselves and helps with emotional development.
  • Lap Baby: Soothe baby on your lap. Place baby across your knees while you are in the sitting position and rub their back while they do a little Tummy Time. Helps you steady baby and keep them calm during Tummy Time.
  • Sing Song: Play on floor with baby while they stay on their tummy. Place toys in front of them and sing songs. Baby loves your face and voice! Helps baby by making Tummy Time fun.
  • Songs in Motion: Sing a song like “Wheels on the Bus” or “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” Use hand motions to get a reaction out of baby. Helps baby develop language skills.

Week 7

  • Tap, Tap, Tap: With baby on their back, sing a song. While singing, tap the bottom of their feet in time with the song. Baby will love hearing your voice and the tapping gives them a new sound experience. Helps baby develop listening skills.
  • Hand Claps: Gently clap baby’s hands together to some music. Bring arms out in front and clap over their head, then to the right and left to the beat. Helps baby develop body awareness.
  • Cycling: While baby is lying on their back, pretend baby is riding a bike by gently grasping their ankles, keeping legs apart and moving them in slow circles. Tell baby what you’re doing using simple language: “go” and “stop.” Helps baby develop motor and hearing skills.

Week 8

  • Hand Puppet Play: Place a puppet on your hand. Move puppet up and down, while saying baby’s name. See if they can follow the movement. Then move the puppet in a circle. As soon as they are able to follow the movement, try different movements. Helps baby develop vision skills.
  • Gentle Dance: Turn on some of your favorite music. Hold baby close while you sway to the rhythm and sing along. Helps baby be calmly introduced to new sounds and words.
  • Reach For It: Show baby a toy and move it towards their hand. Encourage baby to touch it. Be sure to switch sides so both hands get a chance to feel. You can even use common household items like measuring spoons. Helps baby learn to move their fists from closed to open. 

Week 9

  • Cooing & Gurgling: Talk to baby often. They should be cooing (soft throaty sounds including vowels) and gurgling (low, throaty, wet sounds) back to you by about two months. Helps baby develop first steps to speaking.
  • Switch Swat: Dangle simple objects (rattle or plastic measuring spoons) from a string so baby can swipe at it. Items that light up or make sounds work well. Change objects every few minutes to keep baby engaged. Make sure objects are not a choking hazard. Helps baby develop hand-eye coordination.
  • Toy Gaze: Play with baby’s favorite toy in front of them while lying on his tummy to get them interested in looking up. Helps baby learn to lift up head. 

Week 10

  • Parent Talkathon: Talking to baby is important! Use a slow, higher than normal pitch, almost a melodic voice to help get and keep baby’s attention. Babies prefer the sound of Moms’ and Dads’ voices. Your baby might even copy your tongue and mouth movements. Helps baby develop listening skills and mouth muscles.
  • Cheesy Smile: Smiling is one of the biggest expressions babies make! Give baby a big cheesy smile and make some funny noises. Watch his smile back at you. Helps baby bond with you and teaches them how to interact with others.
  • A Whole New World: Carry baby in different positions around the house. Carry baby tummy down or prop him up on your shoulder so they can see what is going on behind you. Helps baby develop head control and experience new movements.

Week 11

  • Face Feelings: Grab a stuffed animal and talk to it. Touch its face. Name each part (nose, ears) you touch. Let baby feel the stuffed animal’s face and yours. Name what they touch. Then help them touch their own ears, mouth, etc., while you name each part. Helps baby develop sense of touch.
  • Play Peek-a-Boo: Lay baby on a blanket on their tummy on the floor. You can lay on your tummy facing your baby and cover your face with your hands or a scarf. Then uncover your face and say “peek-a-boo.” Helps baby develop play and memory skills.
  • Tongue Teezer: Stick out your tongue and encourage baby to try. Try this during diaper changes or playtime. Helps baby develop tongue control
  • Who Am I?: Gently bring baby’s hands to their face and help them stoke their cheeks. Point out different parts of their body as well. Helps baby learn about their body. 

Week 12

  • Side Chats: Lie baby down and talk to them from the left and right sides. Helps baby turn head in different directions.
  • Tummy Carry & Chat: Hold baby close to you in a tummy-down carry. Slide one hand under the tummy and between their legs when carrying baby tummy-down. Chat while you go: “Up!” (lift them slightly); “Down!” (bring them back down); “And All Around!” (Move them left to right.) Helps baby build strength and communication skills.
  • Express Yourself: Baby carefully watches your expressions and will be using more of their own by this age. Use a variety of facial expressions. Helps baby develop early communications skills.

Week 13

  • Busy Fingers: Baby should be spending time looking at and playing with their fingers and hands. Putting hands or toys in their mouth is typical at this age. Be sure toys are age appropriate and big enough to not cause choking. Helps baby learn hand-eye coordination while exploring their surroundings.
  • Sense of Touch: Baby’s sense of touch is fully developed at this stage. Try gently touching baby on feet and tummy. They should have reaction such as giggling or smiling. Helps baby develop sensory skills.

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.
  • 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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.