Playing Critters in Motion!

It’s never too early to start playing games to help your child reach their sensory, communication, feeding and motor milestones.

Motor

Games

Games to Play

  • 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 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

Games to Play

  • 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

Games to Play

  • 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

Games to Play

  • 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.
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