Playing is a fundamental component of learning in children of all ages. Here we have compiled a list of simple yet powerful developmental games for your baby to enjoy. The below activities are for children 6-12 months old.
Materials needed: Small toys or books, blanket
What to do: Place a toy or book under a blanket, leaving part of the object showing. Then ask your baby, "Where is it?" and encourage them to look for it. Babies will usually grab it and dig under the blanket. If yours doesn't, you could remove and then replace the blanket.
Variations: After your baby has mastered finding a partly hidden object, move on to hiding it completely under the blanket.
Skills learned: Fine motor skill development, object permanence
Materials needed: Plastic measuring cups
What to do: Take turns stacking the cups and knocking them down. You can also have a "race," where you both stack cups at the same time.
Skills learned: Understanding cause and effect, fine motor skills
Materials needed: Wooden puzzles
What to do: Your baby will be ready for large wooden puzzles around the time of their first birthday. We suggest ones with colorful shapes or pictures. Show and tell them first how it works—you may have to guide their hands, he says. When they are successful, be sure to clap and cheer for them to encourage success.
Skills learned: Problem solving, fine motor skills, visual skills
Materials needed: Board or cloth picture books
What to do: Regularly read books to your baby, pointing to the pictures as you read and engaging them by changing your voice for different characters.
Skills learned: Language development, listening skills
CLAP WITH ME
What to do: Around 6 to 8 months of age, your child will learn to clap, so encourage them with this rhyme (or make up your own):
Clap, clap, one, two, three
Clap, clap, clap with me.
Clap, clap, four and five.
Clap, clap, clap, bees in hive.
Clap, clap, six, seven, eight.
Clap, clap, clap, you are great.
Clap, clap, nine and ten.
Clap, clap, let's do it again.
Skills learned: Imitation, rhyming
Materials needed: Empty 16-ounce bottle, colored rice or pasta
What to do: Fill the bottle with the rice or pasta, and glue the top back on so your baby can safely watch and hear what happens as they shake, rattle, and roll the container.
Skills learned: Fine motor skills, auditory discrimination, cause and effect