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10 baby games for baby’s first year

Baby games that are fun and can boost your child's skills and development don't need to be complicated. In fact, they shouldn't be. You may even find that many of the best games you can play with your child to help him or her learn about the world are what you already do naturally.

To help you and baby get the most out of playtime, make sure that you recognise signs your little one is sending that indicate when it's time to play. These signals might include:

  • Watching you or other people with interest
  • Reaching out for you
  • Smiling

It's also important to recognise when your infant has had enough of baby games and needs a break. These signs might include:

  • Crying
  • Regurgitating
  • Looking away

To help your baby have fun, bond with you and learn about the world, try playing the following 10 development games. You may also want to make up your own variations or combine games when you sense baby is ready for an additional challenge.

Baby game 1: Peek-a-boo

One of the best baby games to play with infants is also one of the easiest. Simply hide your face behind your hands and then move your hands away while you say, "Peek-A-Boo"!

Until babies are about nine months old, they don't realise that you're still there when your face is covered. So your child will be fascinated by your disappearing and reappearing act. This baby game may even help your child become more comfortable in the world when he or she realises that you'll come back even when you "go away".

After your child begins to understand the game more, they may try to "find" you by reaching for your hands when you hide. Try playing this development boosting game to make tasks like changing nappies and getting dressed more fun for you and baby.

Baby game 2: Mummy see, mummy do

Just as you can read baby's signals to know when to play baby games, you can take your lead on how to play from your little bundle of joy.

For example, if your baby is vocalising with "coos" and "ga-gas", try imitating your baby's sounds. That will help your baby develop a foundation for conversation skills. Similarly, when baby smiles, smile back. This will help your baby develop self-confidence as he or she realises that you're having fun and enjoying their company.

Baby game 3: Dance around

All babies need plenty of cuddling time to help them feel secure and build emotional attachments to the important people in their lives.

Try dancing around with baby to foster bonding and respond to your baby's needs. If he or she's in a playful mood, do a gentle, silly jig together to get them laughing. If your baby is tired or upset, they might prefer a slow dance around the room to help to soothe them.

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