Playing with your baby is such a wonderful experience. And the second half of your baby’s first year is just the best time with your baby. It’s the first time that her play skills start to become evident and this opens the door for loads of fun and games. Play is truly your little one’s work – she will learn about her body, about the world and about relationships as she plays with you.
There are simple ways to to play with your baby at this age:
- Sensori-motor games are the gateway for learning. As your baby experiences the sensory qualities of toys and actions a motor response, she wires her brain. Play games that involve tactile and movement experiences, such as crawling over an obstacle course of cushions, jumping on a trampoline with her and rolling on the lawn.
- Repetition is the way that pathways in the brain become reinforced, resulting in quicker reactions and consolidated learning. As frustrating as it is to repeatedly pick up the ball when she drops it from the highchair, this is a very important part of learning.
- Peek-a-boo is a fabulous game, which is not only loads of fun but is important for cognitive skills. Through peek-a-boo, your little one learns that objects exist even when she can’t see them, which will help her to manage separation anxiety. In addition, peek a boo is the part of cause and effect learning – knowledge that an action gets a response.
- Rhymes are important for language development – from 6 months old, your baby starts to attach meaning to sounds and so you should be talk a lot to her. Rhymes are a lovely way to do this.
Playing with your baby is an absolutely vital part of early parenting. Get into the habit early because, for many parents, it gets harder to know what to do and to make time as your little one gets older. So, get down on the floor and be your baby’s favourite play thing.