Playing With Your Baby

The toys and games you share with your baby are important for their development. Play time is crucial to build their mental and physical strength, teach them new skills and help them to develop. Not only is playing important, it is also lots of fun and will help you to develop a strong bond with your child.

For the first six months of their life, stimulate your baby with lots of different colours, sounds, shapes and textures. Give them toys like rattles, mirrors, and cuddly animals to excite their senses. Very young babies love looking at faces and interacting, so make lots of faces, talk to them, and read to them. Try showing them interesting household objects, like brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, or fabrics with unusual textures.

After the first few months, babies generally become much more active and aware of their bodies, and will enjoy more physical play. Try holding them in your arms and dancing to music, or gently swinging them through the air. Baby gyms, baby swings and bouncing chairs will get them active and reaching out to explore their surroundings.

After the first six months, your baby may have more control over their movements and better hand-eye coordination. They may also be crawling and moving around, and will enjoy more independent play time. Let them stack beakers, look at baby books and sort shapes by themselves, offering help when they need it.

Of course, interaction is important whatever stage your baby is at. Keep talking, cuddling, playing games, and reading bedtime stories before they go to sleep - they will really enjoy the attention, and it's good for their social and emotional development. Many babies enjoy musical play, like clapping games, or singing songs in different voices, making up movements to go along with them.

At this age, pushchair toys and car seat toys can be invaluable, because your baby will want entertainment and stimulation even when you're on the move. A good pushchair or stroller will help you to take your baby out and experience new surroundings, teaching them more about the world around them.

Every baby is unique and may enjoy different types of play. Just try out lots of different activities, read the signals your child is giving you, and in this way you will be able to work out the best ways to have fun together while teaching them new skills that will last a lifetime.