Play time for a newborn isn’t all about games and toys. It's more about talking, touching, listening, looking and the interactions between you that encourage baby to be active. Talking, singing and reading stories are also fun for your baby, as well as assisting in the development of language skills. Other ideas include:
- Blowing raspberries,
- Counting toes
- Nursery rhymes that involve touch
- Making faces, smiling laughing, poking your tongue out. Babies love watching your face
- Objects to feel like soft toys, rattles and cloth books with different textures
- Tummy time each day, in different locations allows them see different things
- Mimicking sounds
You can encourage movement in a newborn by giving them a rattle or a toy to hold, or you can dangle bright objects in front of them to encourage them to reach. As your baby gains strength you can encourage activities that including, rolling, sitting, reaching and pulling to stand which will further help develop skills and strengthen their muscles.
For babies 6-12 months you might try:
- Placing toys out of reach
- Wooden spoons and containers
- Rolling a ball between you and your baby encouraging them to grab it
- Encourage them to pull to stand
- If they can stand with support, try push and pull toys like carts
More gentle activities such as picking up small objects and putting pegs in a bucket are good for practicing small finger movements, while looking at colourful books can encourage eye movements.
Screen time is not recommended for any child under the age of 2 as it can slow their learning and development.
Baby equipment like highchairs car seats and strollers can be useful, but they restrict your baby’s movement. Try to limit the amount of time your baby is restricted and allow them to move freely. Be sure to watch your baby at all times when they play and remove any potential hazards from your baby’s reach like electrical cords, pets or small objects they could put in their mouth.
[Source Raising Children Network; Pregnancy Birth and Baby; Department of Health Inactivity and screen time]