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.

Week 27

Games

Games to Play

  • Sign Language: Use hand movements along with associated words to teach baby to communicate with gestures. Helps baby develop early communication skills.
  • Blow More Raspberries: Try blowing raspberries again. This time, baby may blow raspberries and bubbles back. Helps baby by setting a foundation for language, social skills and other skills such as eating and drinking from a cup.
  • Board Book Fun: Find books with interactive elements like fold outs or noises are fun surprises! Let baby take their time turning the pages. Helps baby develop language skills and interactive elements can excite baby's senses.

Week 28

Games

Games to Play

  • Moo and Baa: Use animal sounds when playing or reading to baby. Point out a picture of an animal then make the sound that animals make: “A cow goes moo,” “A sheep goes baa”. Helps baby learn to listen to different types of sounds.
  • Name Game: Point to the different parts of your face and name them for baby. Point to your nose and say "mommy's nose." Continue to do this with other facial features and see how baby reacts. Helps baby develop communication skills.
  • Baby in the Middle: Put baby’s favorite toys on the floor in a large circle. Place them in the middle – tummy down. Watch them reach and move around to play with toys. Helps baby develop a strong core and learn to coordinate multiple movements at once.

Week 29

Games

Games to Play

  • Shadow-Puppet Play: Use your hands to make shadow puppets for baby. Talk and sing as you move your fingers up and down while baby watches the talking shadow! Helps baby develop visual tracking skills.
  • Baby’s First Teacher: You are your baby’s first teacher. Show them how to use toys in different ways, such as banging blocks together or knocking over a stacked tower. Helps expose baby to new sensory experiences.
  • Be Like Baby: Does baby bang blocks together or clap their hands? It’s your turn to copy them! When baby does an action, repeat it. Helps baby develop joint attention and social connection with you.

Week 30

Games

Games to Play

  • Wet Washcloth: Put a washcloth in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Before it's frozen and hard, give it to baby to bite on. Helps soothe baby's gums when teething.
  • Roll and Pull: Take a thick piece of yarn at least 2 feet long. Tie a small object or toy on one end. Show baby how they can pull yarn to bring the object towards them. Helps baby develop gross motor skills.
  • Baby Sit Ups: While baby is on their back, slowly draw a toy away from them so baby has to sit up to look at it. Helps baby develop muscle strength and learn to use hands to push up to sitting.

Week 31

Games

Games to Play

  • Creeping and Crawling: Baby may be rocking back and forth on tummy towards items of interest. Encourage movement by placing toys around baby where they must move to reach them. Helps baby learn to crawl.
  • Sitting Up to Play: Since baby can sit independently, sit on the floor and roll a ball to baby. Encourage them to roll it back using both hands so they can't use them for support. Helps baby strengthen back, shoulder muscles and core.
  • Little Explorer: Allow baby to grab and explore items within reach by giving him space to explore the environment. Stay close to supervise. Helps baby get new tactile experiences.

Week 32

Games

Games to Play

  • Command Excitement: Give baby a simple command like "roll the ball". Show baby how excited you are if they do it by smiling and clapping. Helps baby learn to follow directions.
  • Swinging: If baby can sit up and hold up head with no problem, try pushing them gently on a swing at a park! Be sure baby is secure in the swing. Gently push them back and forth. Helps baby develop gross motor skills.
  • Splish Splash: Take a small tub baby can reach into and fill it with water. Put floating objects like plastic cups and spoons in tub. Let them splash and push the objects underwater, then watch them come up to float. *Always stay nearby so baby isn’t alone. Helps baby develop motor and sensory skills.
  • Independent Baby: Give baby a variety of objects to play with. Toys where baby has to put a ball or object into a container or activity table or tunnel allow baby to explore independently. Helps baby with motor and sensory skills.

Week 33

Games

Games to Play

  • Toy Grasp Time: 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. Helps baby develop fine motor skills and problem-solving skills.
  • Baby Pushups: Encourage baby pushups during Tummy Time by raising and lowering a rattle over baby’s head. Helps baby improve neck and head control and strengthen back, shoulder muscles and core.
  • Backyard Fun: Let baby explore the backyard safely. Take baby outside and let them touch the leaves and grass. Helps to expose baby to new sights, smells, and sounds.

Week 34

Games

Games to Play

  • Monkey See, Monkey Do: Use a mirror to practice silly faces and sounds with baby, e.g. kissing faces. Use a variety of facial expressions while you talk. Be silly! Baby will laugh and respond by trying to imitate you. Helps baby to practice making new language sounds.
  • Raining in the Bath: Punch holes in the lid of empty food container and fill with water to make a fun bath time toy. Baby can make it rain on themselves or a toy! Helps baby develop play skills while using their senses.
  • Bucket Time: Sit with baby on the floor facing a plastic bucket and have a toy handy. Show them how to drop it in the bucket and then let them take a turn. Helps baby build hand-eye coordination while learning how to copy your movements.
  • Finger Follies: Unwrapping a present can be more exciting than what’s inside. It’s satisfying for them to use their fingers to accomplish things. You can even use newspaper to wrap up a toy they've played with before. Helps baby develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Week 35

Games

Games to Play

  • Baby-Proofing: As baby gains better control of movement, be sure to baby-proof your home. Keep breakable objects out of baby’s reach and place safety locks on appliances. Helps keep baby safe while they explore and gain independence.
  • Toy Stacking: Baby is becoming more interested in how things work. Now is a great time to introduce stacking toys, such as blocks or stackable rings. You can stack and let them knock them down or guide their hands through the motions. Helps baby develop visual skills and thinking skills.
  • Horsing Around: Have baby sit on your knees and hold onto their hips. Move your legs up and down so it looks like baby is riding a horse. Switch the direction baby faces. Facing you, you can talk to baby. Or baby can face away to look at the environment. Helps expose baby to new types of movement.
  • Toy Tip: Give baby a new and different toy to play with rather than their favorite all the time. Helps expose baby to new things.

Week 36

Games

Games to Play

  • Phone Talk: Play with a pretend phone; talk into phone as you would a regular call, then offer it to baby to do the same. Helps baby develop listening and communication skills while learning about the objects around the house.
  • Tray Top Reach: Place new and safe foods within reach on baby's tray so they can begin to reach and explore. Helps expose baby to new foods and reaching skills.
  • Clap and Kiss: Baby is learning new gestures, like pointing and waving. Practice a new gesture, like blowing a kiss or clapping hands. Helps baby learn how to use movements to express themselves.
  • Figuring Out Food: When baby is seated in a highchair, give them food they normally eat and cut it into small pieces so they can try to pick it up with their fingers. They might not be able to pick up every piece yet but it's good practice. Helps baby develop fine motor skills.

Week 37

Games

Games to Play

  • Story Time: Describe your actions throughout the day as you dress, feed, and bathe baby. Helps baby develop listening and communication skills.
  • Music Time: Give a toy musical instrument to baby and show her how to use it. They will enjoy learning how to make different sounds. Try forming a family band and making music together! Helps baby develop sensory skills.
  • Human Obstacle: Lie down on the floor and get baby to crawl over you! When they crawl over, put your arms around them for a hug. You can add another person so baby has to do some extra crawling! Helps baby develop gross motor skills, build upper body strength, and bond.
  • Bucket O’Toys: Fill up a bucket with toys 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 toys with all of their senses. Helps baby develop sensory skills.

Week 38

Games

Games to Play

  • Tray Time: Place pureed foods, like applesauce or yogurt, on baby’s tray and encourage play with a spoon. Helps baby develop feeding skills.
  • Textures and Temps: 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. Helps with sensory development.
  • Move and Crawl: Help baby get into crawling position. Support their stomach and hips if needed. Once baby is crawling, hold a toy in front of them to get them to move. Helps baby develop motor skills.
  • Train to Crawl: Create a tunnel with your legs and encourage baby to crawl through. "Catch" them by squeezing your legs together as they pass through. After getting caught a few times, they’ll speed up to try to get through. Helps baby develop gross motor skills.

Week 39

Games

Games to Play

  • Pat-A-Cake: Play “Pat-A-Cake” with baby. First hold their hands to show the movements, then let them do it on their own. Helps baby learn to clap their hands.
  • Rise to Stand: Hold baby's hands while they're sitting on the floor and slowly raise them to standing. Let them stand this way for 8 to 10 seconds, then slowly lower them back to the ground. Helps baby strengthen leg muscles to prepare for walking.
  • Crawl Check: As baby is crawling watch to make sure both arms and both legs are pulling an equal amount of weight in movement. *If you feel concerned about how baby is crawling, talk to your baby's healthcare provider. Helps baby develop strength and coordination for other motor skills.
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