Developmental Psychologists and experienced parents would always advise couples to start playing with their babies even at an early age. This is true even if it seems that their baby isn’t doing much.
You see, when your baby is born, they instantly try to discern and examine the world around them. They will listen to the sounds that they hear and they will look at the things that they can see. You could say that they are still trying to process their environment.
Playing with your baby is one of the best things that you can to help improve their natural development. Whether you are using baby toys or simply spending time with them and making faces while you’re at it, doing certain playful activities can provide some much-needed support to help them grow and become better individuals.
Today, I am going to outline some age-appropriate play ideas that you can try right away.
During your baby’s first month, a developmental milestone would be for them to start stretching their arms and legs. That is because that is in stark contrast with what they’re used to while they were still inside the womb. At this point, your baby’s muscles are still not developed strong enough to make any other movement but things start to get better by the second month, said Rachel Coley, a pediatric occupational therapist.
Parents are encouraged to give their baby some tummy time; where their babies are placed belly down. The reason why this is considered necessary is due to the fact that by giving them a lot of tummy time, you’re actually helping them develop the muscles in their belly which are essential for other movement patterns such as crawling, standing, and even walking.
During your baby’s first few months, you can buy activity mats and a music-playing device. The latter is needed to help hone your baby’s sense of hearing.
Babies who are at least four months of age would start honing their other senses such as the sense of sight and touch. They will also start to use and improve their motor skills as well. If you see your baby starting to roll over or grasp certain objects, then you know that they’ve developed really well.
Since they are trying to make sense of everything around them by using their motor skills, you can give them toys that produce rattling sounds and even teething toys to help them with their gum pain when their teeth start to spring up.
During this period, your baby should be able to sit on their own. If they would still require some support, you can help strengthen the muscles necessary for such action by putting a toy they want to grasp and encouraging them to move to get it.
That being said, the toys that I would recommend at this stage are books (especially those that produce some tunes), stackable cups, and easy to hold balls.
Babies that reach 9 months old are able to start crawling and cruising (where they will start to walk by using some supports like furniture or walkers). You can try out some loveys and activity tables that would allow them to hone their fine motor skills.
12 Months/ 1 Year
One-year-old babies can reach another milestone and that is when they will start to walk on their own. Depending on whether you’ve helped strengthen the appropriate muscles, you can try giving them push toys that they can use as support when they are trying to walk.
You can also give them building blocks or toys with varying shapes that they can place inside a container. You can even give them cars and trucks as well, provided that they are BPA-free and with no small parts that they can swallow.