Before your child’s first birthday there are many games that you can play with your infant. Playing these games will make you bond with your child more and boost your baby’s brain power at the same time. Here are some games that you may want to try.
Where is it?
Let your baby see you hide an object under a blanket or a rug and then ask “Where is it?” As he or she becomes expert at finding a single item, help lengthen his or her attention span by hiding two or three things at a time.
This is everybody’s favorite that never goes out of style with infants.
Find your nose
Your baby loves all of her or his many body parts, and pointing them out can be a real adventure. Ask, “Where is your nose?”, “Where are your toes” and watch your baby’s excitement as she or he points to the right place.
Patting and Clapping
Rhymes that include action such as pat-a-cake and “This little piggy….”, involve many of your child’s senses and as she or he becomes familiar with these games, she is anxious and delighted to take part in your next move.
You don’t have to be a great singer to sing to your baby. The softness of your voice calms your baby and establishes a nice bond between the two of you.
Make up a melody to this old Russian lullaby or say these words as you rock your baby:
Go to sleep my darling baby
See the moon is shining on you.
I will tell you many stories,
If you close your eyes.
Go to sleep my darling baby.
What brain research says:
Infants and their parents are biologically wired to have close emotional ties, which develop slowly over the baby’s first year of life with coos, gazes, and smiles.
A Goodnight Rhyme
Rock your baby as you say the following rhyme:
Good night sweet baby, goodnight sweet one,
The clock is ticking and says “were done.
Goodnight sweet baby, goodnight my dear
The stars are twinkling and sleep is near.
Gently put your baby in his bed and say “Good night, good night.” Rub his back and give him a kiss.
What brain research says:
Holding and cuddling comforts your baby and helps his brain grow.
Children love watching and playing with puppets.
Put a puppet on your hand and hold it behind your back. Bring out the puppet and say, “Peekaboo, (child’s name).” Now put it behind your back again… Continue doing this until your baby begins to anticipate the puppet coming out at a certain place…Then bring the puppet out at a different place-over your head, over the baby’s head. Always bring it down in front of your baby’s face (not too close) when you say the peekaboo words….Give the puppet to your baby and see if she will imitate you.
What brain research says: With every game of peekaboo, thousands of connections among brain cells are formed or strengthened, adding a bit more development to the complex “wiring” that will remain largely in place for the rest of the child’s life. These connections are more difficult to make later on.
Say the popular nursery rhyme as you bounce your baby on your knees.
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. (bounce baby)
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. (open your knees and, while holding your baby securely, let him slide down to the ground)
All the kings horses and all the kings men,
Couldn’t put Humpty together again. (bring baby back to your knees).
Give your baby a favorite stuffed animal to hold as you play this game. This may give him the idea to play the game with his stuffed animal.
What brain research says: Songs, movement, and musical games of childhood have been called “brilliant neurological exercises” that introduce children to speech patterns, sensory motor skills, and essential movement skills.
Exposing your baby to many different sensations will broaden her awareness of herself and the world.
Try rubbing your baby’s arms with different fabrics. Satin, wool, and terrycloth are good fabrics to start with.
Give your baby an opportunity to experience different smells. Go outside and smell a flower. Smell a freshly cut orange.
Note: Be careful not to overstimulate your baby. Watch for signs that your baby is tired of the game.
What brain research says: What babies see and smell cause brain connections to be made, especially if the experiences happen in a loving, consistent, predictable manner.
Jack in the Box
This popular game helps reinforce the idea that surprises can be fun. Make a fist with both hands and tuck your thumb under the fingers. On the words, “Yes I will,” pop up your thumbs.
Jack in the box sits so still.
Won’t you come out?
Yes, I will.
Help your child make a fist and show him how to pop up his thumb.You can also play this game by crouching down and jumping up.
What brain research says: Blocks, art, and pretending all help children develop curiosity, language, problem-solving skills, and mathematical skills.
Source: The parents Book of Lists (Griffin Trade Paperbacks, 2000), Brain Games for Babies by Jackie Silberg