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PLAY FOR BABY GAMES

PLAY FOR BABY GAMES
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People often think that because their baby doesn’t appear to do much besides eat and sleep that they are not really open to any kind of stimulation besides a crib and a bottle. This couldn’t’ be further from the truth. A baby is learning at a rate faster than either you or I could imagine (or even be possible of) and while it is true that the kinds of activities and games suitable for a baby are not worthy of genius status as far as you or I are concerned, they still warrant the same amount of attention and are just as worthy of initiation as things you might do with an older child.

Consider your baby to be a sponge. They are soaking up information and testing new skills all the time. The trick to being involved in this and be able to provide more opportunities for them, is to be aware of their capabilities.

VISUAL RANGE

When babies are first born they don’t have the visual range that adults have. The general rule of thumb is that they can see as far as their mother’s face while they are nursing. So is it any wonder that they find faces so amusing and that this is why you always see people hanging over the side of a baby's cradle making all sorts of silly faces? This kind of activity will usually elicit a giggly response: and it is because the person’s face is right in their visual range.

When you are with your baby, get in as close as possible, as close as it takes for them to reach out a chubby hand and grab your nose. A face is very interesting and a baby will delight in exploring it, especially if it is making all sorts of funny noises and shapes!

Another common tool for amusing a baby is a mobile in their crib. These are successful for the same reason as your face. Make sure to hang it very low so that baby will be able to see it. Many mobiles these days come with adjustable height so that you can adjust it with the baby’s abilities.

WHAT THEY SEE

Have you ever caught your baby seemingly just staring off into space or looking at the ceiling or a wall? While you may at first be a little concerned that they are just vacantly staring, take comfort in the fact that they are just exploring within their visual capabilities. Not only is a baby’s visual range limited at birth, the colors that they see are also limited. At first they will only be able to see red, white and black. So if you are sitting next to a big white wall with some black shadows then your baby is going to be absolutely fascinated. The same goes for nice white ceiling fans, bright red signs, Venetian blinds and many more other such things following this pattern. This is why you will be seeing a lot of first children’s toys being featured in bold reds and blacks in the baby stores.

A simple way for you to get involved in this way is to take some white paper or a paper plate and draw some bold black and red shapes on them. Your baby will delight in looking at them. Also, when you buy baby’s first mobile for the crib, make it a red, white and black one. They will love to stare at it.

TAXTILE EXPLORATION

Babies also love to feel things. To maximize this sense provide lots of sensory and textural things for you baby to explore. Lay them on a blanket with a different texture. I am sure that you have probably seen in many stores, the various numbers of play surfaces and rugs for babies. Take advantage of them and let your baby explore the surfaces. As they grow, and are able to grasp and mouth objects, find some toys that have different textures and sensations.

AUDITORY

Also expose your baby to as many auditory experiences as possible. Make the crib mobile a musical one, play soft music on the CD player and most importantly talk, talk and talk some more. Babies naturally prefer higher pitched voices so make sure you indulge them. This is why Mommy softly singing a lullaby will have them entertained for ages, and while babies are not likely to talk back to you any time soon, this is the preliminary steps to learning language skills.

MOTION

Remember, baby has just spent nine months wrapped up in a warm and mobile environment. They have been accustomed to a certain degree of motion for quite some time and they will find it very soothing if you keep it going. This is why your baby may cry as soon as you put them down. So basic movement, swaying and rocking while you sing will provide a very satisfied baby!

Overall, just remember to keep it simple, but be there constantly interacting with your baby. Provide lot of things to stimulate all their senses and watch for cues as to when they get over stimulated. A babies usual response to being over stimulated is to just go to sleep, but not before a bit of wailing! (by Sonya Versluys)

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