Play With Me (Part 2)

>> Thursday, April 16, 2009

This is part 2 of my posts about play from birth to 2 years for the Carnival of Play being hosted by Annie from PhD in Parenting. Today I want to talk about play from 6 - 12 months. Your baby is becoming his own person now and will start to show you a preferrance to some games. Follow baby's lead because after all this is supposed to be fun and learning for him!

Evan playing in the leaves - 6 months
6 to 9 Months:
Your baby is probably rolling over both ways by now. That is just the start of the mobility now is when your baby will start to creep, crawl and maybe even try to pull themselves to a standing position. Your baby is becoming more and more physically active and curious. If you haven't baby proofed you must do so now. Get down to their level and see what trouble you can spy. Remember they will try to climb on everything and everything will go in their mouth. How can we help baby channel all this extra energy and movement constructively?
  • Movement - Here are some games you can play with baby that will help her master moving her body.
Hide'n'Seek - This is just a set up from peek-a-boo. Partially hide yourself from baby and let baby find you. Don't hide yourself completely yet baby still needs to see you to know you are there. Call his name if necessary. You can play this game with toys too. Just make sure you don't hide the toys too well.

Mt. Couch Cushion - Take all the cushions off the couch and chairs and make a mountain. Let baby climb. You can make stairs with them and practice stair climbing. Hide baby behind some cushions and play peek-a-boo.

Spin the Baby - Lay your baby on her back on a smooth floor and sit beside her. Gently raise her legs a couple inches off the ground and hold her ankles together. Using her legs as a handle gently pivot her body around.
  • Music - baby is getting coordinated enough now to bang on drums or shake a rattle. Now is the time to start providing things for musical instruments.
Drums, Shakers and Rhythm Sticks - you don't have to go buy these things. You have lots of choices for drums in your kitchen. You can make shakers and Rhythm sticks from things you may normally put in the recycling- like empty yogurt containers, empty paper towel rolls. Get creative. You can make this an art project too.

Songs and Dance - Keep dancing with baby. Once baby can stand up he will probably start to "dance" with you. Sing to baby. He is going to be making sounds like ba ba and da da. My Evan loves when I sing Barbara Ann, he tries to sing along now when he hears the chorus.
  • Outdoors - Baby should be going outdoors for at least 15 minutes a day weather permitting. This is good to do even before Baby is mobile. Pack the baby up in the sling or a stroller and get some fresh air into both of you.
Ball - Get all sorts of different sized balls. Practice rolling and throwing them gently back and forth. You'll be surprised how quickly baby catches on to this and how much fun they have playing this game.

Keep playing the games baby enjoys from 0-6months too. Your baby loves to play with you!

9 to 12 Months:
Baby is crawling, cruising and maybe even walking. Evan started walking at 9.5 months. That's when things really get busy. They are trying to climb everything and you really have to keep a constant eye on them even not during play times. By offering some of these activities during play you'll give baby the chance to master skills and wear off some of his energy.
  • Movement- Baby is continuing to gain more mobility. Keep playing lots of games with bouncing, knee rides, chasing ect. Baby is getting old enough now for some gentle rough housing. Light pushing and rolling around, letting baby crawl over you and tickle fests are all fun.
Yoga - This is a great time to introduce baby yoga. You can by DVDs or books. If you already know a bunch of yoga poses you can just do them with your baby. You'll notice your baby will do some poses naturally and when you join in they find that really funny.

Boxes - If you haven't figured it out by now babies love boxes. They love to play in them and toss toys in and out of them. Take an empty diaper box cut a small hole in it and show him how to hide the toys in it. You can even take a short rope, thread it through a small hole, knot at both end and he can drag it behind him as he crawls. Evan loves when I pull him around in the box too.

Tug of war - This is a fun indoor or outdoor game. Use a scarf or a small piece of cloth. Play tug of war with baby. When he gives a good tug, tumble over and he will laugh and laugh.
  • Art - This is a great time to introduce creative art play if you haven't already. His hands and fingers are getting more flexible and he's able to do co-ordinated movements - opening and closing doors, dropping and picking up things.
Scribbling - A big fat crayon and a peice of paper are all you need. I find that taping the paper to the high chair tray helps a lot. Otherwise the paper ends up on the floor and he scribbles all over the tray or the paper ends up scrunched and baby ends up mad.

Jello Art - This is fun when you know or are prepared to give baby a bath afterwards. Make 2 or 3 bowls of different coloured Jello. Set peices of paper in front of baby and put a glob of jello on each. Encourage baby to spread and swirl. This is way better than finger paints because you won't cringe when he licks his hands - which he will do.

I hope you are enjoying this series on play. Tomorrow look for part 3 in my series. There are more articles for all sorts of play linked on Annie's Carnival of Play. Spring is here, get out there and play with your kids!


CatWay April 19, 2009 at 5:33 PM  

A great reminder to play with the baby, as well as the bigger kids. Thanks.

SteveandAlina April 19, 2009 at 8:29 PM  

Love the idea of taping the paper to the high chair -- why haven't I thought of that??!! ha!

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