I'll never forget the first time my daughter initiated a game with me. She was on her tummy with a block just out of her reach and had been there for a couple minutes. My mind had started wandering, planning out my to-do list, and all of a sudden, she rolled over, reached out and had the block in her hands!Then she looked at me and I SWEAR she was trying to hand it to me. It was exhilarating. We passed the block back and forth a few times…and then…a new worry crept in—what should we play next? As your little one starts interacting with you more, you may feel new pressure to help your baby thrive in her environment. And sometimes, it's hard to know what to do. Luckily, the fact that you're feeling this at all means you're already doing a great job.
Here are some simple ways to play that are low impact for you, and have a high impact on the development of your 6 to 9-month-old:
1. In the palm of your handlh6.googleusercontent.com
- Sit or lie down across from your baby
- Pick out a small toy that fits in your hand and show it to your child
- While they're watching, hide it in one of your hands, then show both of your closed fists to your baby
- Ask, "Where did the toy go?" while hinting at the hand it's in by looking at or shaking your hand slightly
- Pause to see their reaction, then open your hand and say, "Here it is!"
2. Eye on the balllh4.googleusercontent.com
- Get a small ball and sit or lie down near a wall with your child
- Show them how you can bounce the ball on the floor and have it rebound against the wall to bounce back to you
- Say "Boom" when the ball hits the floor
- Watch their reaction and repeat several times. Let them have a turn, continuing to say "Boom"
- Finally, bounce the ball, but be silent. See if they try to say "Boom" and applaud all attempts
3. Just out of reachlh3.googleusercontent.com
- Place your child on their tummy, sit or lie down next to them, and show them a toy
- Slowly move the toy out of his line of sight in an arc like you're drawing a circle around them
- Wait to see if they turn to find the toy. Cheer them on and remind them where it is by tapping or rattling it
- As your child gets more mobile, move the toy up onto a different level (ex: a stair or a low stool) and watch as they tries to reach it.
- Repeat in different directions
4. My face, your facelh6.googleusercontent.com
- Sit or lie down next to your baby
- Start singing the song "If You're Happy and You Know It." When you get to lyrics that suggest movement, act out that movement with him (ex: when you say, "clap your hands," clap his hands together).
- Add lyrics like "touch your nose," "touch your cheeks."
- Then, switch it to "touch MY nose," "touch MY cheeks" and help them touch your face.
- Watch your child as they plays independently. Hold back and don't intervene for a couple minutes
- Narrate what you see them doing. Use simple sentences and repeat keywords, pointing to the object as you name it. For example, "You rolled the ball. Red Ball."
- Observe their responses—physical and vocal. Try to tell what's catching his attention. Are they babbling more than he used to? What do they seem most interested in?