Games to Play with Your Baby During the First Year (3-6 Months)

As mentioned in the previous Tip, playing with your baby is fun for both of you. While playing Peek-a-Boo with your little one may cause you to feel mildly amused, it's actually work for your baby! Every human child strives to learn as much about their environment as possible. Without the ability to read or watch an educational program on television, babies try to acquire new skills by every means at their disposal. Babies use their senses of sight, smell, touch, hearing and tasting to gain knowledge about their world, how to survive in it and how to enjoy it.

Keep this in mind the next time you play with your child. Try to give them as much sensory stimulation as possible; however, make sure you do such activities at your child's best moments. Trying to have fun when your little one is hungry and/or tired, is a recipe for lots of crying and frustration, for both of you!

Here are a few ideas for games babies enjoy between the ages of 3 months and 6 months:

The Wheels on the Bus

This song is familiar to most adults; when you sing the words, you can move different parts of your baby's body. I have found this to be helpful during diaper changing time, especially for little ones who are anxious to be up and at 'em; some babies will cry and get angry when they have their diaper changed because they prefer being held or they want to have what they consider to be a "better" view - one they can only have when they are upright.

Each movement can be created by you, it's certainly not necessary to use the following words exactly. However, I encourage you to keep many elements of the song unchanged. Remember, repetition for babies is wonderful! It helps them to learn, it gives them a sense of security when they know what comes next and most just love the sense of anticipation that comes from hearing a loving caretaker get ready to sing and physically interact with them.

The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round. The wheels on the bus go round and round, all through the town. (while singing this verse, you can move your baby's arms or legs in a circular motion)

The doors on the bus go open and shut, open and shut, open and shut. The doors on the bus go open and shut, all through the town. (during this verse you can bring your baby's hands together when you say shut and spread them wide when you say the word open)

The driver on the bus says move on back, move on back, move on back. The driver of the bus says move on back, all through the town. (during this verse you can help your baby to turn over, or at least roll onto her/his side)

As your creative juices start flowing you can sing about all sorts of things on or near the bus! The movements you make with your baby don't have to make complete sense - just enjoy the closeness and your baby's smiles.

Clap the Day Away

Most babies enjoy the skill they develop around 6 months: bringing their own two hands together! Prior to this time, babies watched as each hand moved somewhat independantly and sometimes randomly. By 6 months, they have an amazing amount of control and really like to practice this developing skill by clapping, with some assistance, of course.

Try singing this song, changing the words and/or motions whenever you want.

When you're happy and you know it clap your hands. When you're happy and you know it clap your hands.  When you're happy and you know it and you really want to show it, when you're happy and you know it clap your hands!

You can add, when you're happy and you know it wave your arms, or shake your arms, or flap your arms or hands. Your baby will enjoy each and every moment spent with you, so this is a wonderful opportunity to let loose and experience a captivated audience!

The American Academy of Pediatrics is a good source for an amazing amount of information on everything you could possibly want to know about your baby's health (physical, emotional and mental).