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Playing with your baby is a perfect opportunity to see the world through his eyes. Besides having fun, you’ll be teaching your little one important lessons in language, rhythm and pitch. But how to begin? You might feel self-conscious, especially if you can’t remember the words to nursery rhymes or the best games to play with a baby, but put aside any shyness. Belt out your favorite songs, chant nursery rhymes and give dramatic readings of poems. Also try the games and activities featured here.
When you play these games, be sure to vary your baby’s position to strengthen his various muscle groups. Also, since babies should spend their sleeping time on their backs, experts advise some “tummy time” while baby is awake. Joining your infant on the floor and placing him on his stomach will help develop his crawling muscles.
Each game involves you as much as your child for special moments together. So get ready for some time-tested favorites sure to please even the fussiest audience. It’s playtime!
for your reclining baby
Hickory, Dickory, Dock
Place your baby on his back or belly on the floor or bed and lie down next to him; then chant:
Hickory, dickory, dock!
The mouse ran up the clock. (Run your fingers from your baby’s feet up and across his belly or back.)
The clock struck one, (Make a bell sound and pause as your eyes and mouth widen in surprise.)
The mouse ran down, (Run your fingers down his body.)
Hickory, dickory, dock! (Give him a kiss.)
for your baby who is holding up his head
There Was a Duke of York
Lie on your back, holding your baby on your chest as you chant this rhyme. Every time you say “up,” raise him up; every time you say “down,” lower him back down to your chest. Open your mouth in amazement each time you raise him and each time he lands on your chest. Bounce him to the rhythm throughout, but pause each time you bring your baby up or down.
There was a Duke of York
He had ten thousand men
He marched them up the hill
And then he marched them down again.
When you’re up, you’re up.
And when you’re down, you’re down.
And when you’re only halfway up,
You’re neither up nor down.
for your sitting baby
What could be better than curling up with your baby and a good book?
But don’t just read — interact. Make up stories, pantomime, let your imagination go wild. Pat the Bunny (Golden Books), the first interactive book — originally published in 1940 — is a wonderful tool. You and your baby can pat the bunny’s soft fur, look into the mirror, and feel