As your growing baby moves more and more they will love exploring and discovering the joy of play. As they grow they can reach out, sit up and enjoy interacting with their colourful world. Even more so once they start crawling, shuffling or ‘cruising’. Your baby will enjoy following their curiosity and interacting with their expanding world through play. And you are the perfect playmate.

Understanding peekaboo

Is it Christmas yet? Is Father Christmas coming tonight? It’s tricky for your child to understand days, weeks and months. As your child grows, you can help them begin to understand time. You can start with helping them think about a day. Talk together about what happens in the morning, afternoon and evening. Talk about the differences between the weekdays and weekends. Understanding bigger time concepts such as next week is trickier. Advent Calendars are a great help of course, but you can make a simple homemade countdown to Christmas, birthdays and any other special occasion on a piece of paper, and give your child the job of crossing off the day. They can decorate it too. Count the days left together for useful number practice.

On with the show

Peekaboo is a brilliant game to play with your baby. By hiding a toy then making it appear again – as if by magic – you can give your baby a delightful surprise, every time. For their first few months your baby thinks the world is just as they see it. Once things vanish your baby thinks they don’t exist any more. So you really are making magic! As your baby reaches eight or nine months, they start to understand ‘object permanence’, in other words your baby will realise that things still exist even when they can’t see them. You can see if your baby has grasped ‘object permanence’ by showing them a toy, covering it with a cloth, then seeing if your baby lifts the cloth.

Discovering hide and seek

Once your baby understands that objects are permanent, you can share another classic game: hide and seek. It isn’t quite time for counting to 20 and hiding in the wardrobe yet of course. To start with, your baby might enjoy ‘posting’ objects into a box then looking to see where they’ve gone. Whether it’s a wooden Noah’s ark, simple shape sorter or blocks and a shoe box, your baby can focus on testing out whether objects really are permanent through play. You can talk your baby through the process of posting in and peering to see where the toys have gone.

Starting to pretend

You can help your baby start to learn about the world and how it works through pretend play. You may find your baby is fascinated by your phone (so perhaps offer them a toy one to keep yours unsucked and in working order!). You can show your child how to talk on the phone and see how they mimic you. Your baby is also starting to learn very basic humour, for example something looking silly when it’s out of place. So you trying on their tiny baby hat might provoke a giggle. While you laugh together, you’ll know you’re helping your baby to understand more and more about how the world works. And what a wonderful place it is!

This play idea is great for...

  Learning to talk
By playing with your baby, talking to them and ‘commentating’ on what’s happening wherever you are, you’re helping your baby towards their first words.
     
  Fine motor skills
Reaching for, grasping and ‘posting’ objects then retrieving them is great practice for little hands. Boosting fine motor skills helps your baby learn to feed themselves and pick up smaller objects.
     
  Thinking skills
Your baby’s inquisitive young mind uses play to discover how the world works. Introducing new activities and objects to your baby opens their eyes to more fresh and exciting experiences.