To your baby, you are the best toy.
Playtime with your baby is about one-on-one time with you. By talking and playing with your baby each day, you are supporting their growth and development. Smiling causes their brain to release chemicals that make your baby feel good. Using your voice, expressions and engaging them in their environment, creates valuable playtime to help your baby develop.
Talking and reading aloud to your baby is important for developing early literacy, but not all play has to use proper words. Mimicking the sounds and words your baby makes encourages them to keep
communicating, and to try and mimic you as well.
Playing music and
singing is a great way to stimulate your baby, and certain music can also be soothing and help quieten baby before a sleep.
Babies are learning about their bodies and starting to control their movements. They enjoy reaching out to grab things, including objects, you, a sibling or pet. When your baby reaches out to touch your face, you can touch theirs too. This will teach them about taking turns.
For young babies, tummy time helps strengthen their head, neck and body muscles. As your baby grows, they will enjoy learning to roll over, sit up and attempt to walk and crawl.
Babies are trying to figure out how things work through play. Interactive toys and objects are great for stimulating your baby to try new ideas and learn about cause and effect. By demonstrating how to push a button or pull a string, you are helping them form connections and learn new concepts.
Your baby will also enjoy visually interesting objects like colourful books and objects that make noises (rattle or jingle). However, you don’t have to spend a fortune on toys, your baby will be interested in everyday objects and how they work too. For example, they may be excited about a cup floating in water, a ball rolling on the floor or watching you smile.
Messy hands for healthy minds
Sand, paint, playdough, water and other runny materials are great for encouraging messy play. Babies enjoy messy play as a way to feel and experiment with textures.
Getting outdoors, to the garden or a park can be another opportunity for hands-on play for your baby. Young babies will also enjoy being outdoors, feeling the breeze on their skin and smelling fresh, outdoor smells.