Baby Play (Parent’s Shelf 649.5 BA) is an activity book just for babies! The focus is on children 0-to-12 months of age. The activities are original and well organized. It has two tables of content, helping you find an activity by your baby’s age or by the category of activity. Diaper Distractions, Music & Movement, and Bath Play are a few examples of activity categories.
The book’s introduction begins with a short description of how playing with your baby benefits BOTH of you and a short description of an infant’s abilities at 0, 3, 6, and 9 months.
Next come the activities. Each activity has a paragraph describing how to do the activity and why baby will enjoy it. The activity pages list developing “skills” such as listening, body awareness, or visual development.
There are also pages with fingerplays, nursery rhymes, and poems spread throughout the activities section. Actions accompany the lyrics. Most of the activities only require a caregiver and ordinary household/baby items, but there are a couple activities that mention a specific type of toy for the activity. Now, here are a couple examples activities.
Blanket swing tries to help replicate some of the warm, cozy, and weightless feelings your baby had in the womb. Its for children 0-to-3 months old. The activity has you lay the baby on his/her back in the middle of a blanket. Then you and a partner each lift one end up the blanket up. Slowly raise and lower the ends of the blanket. Make eye contact and smile at your baby. You can even sing a song.
Sway, sway, sway, sway
now reach up and
touch the sky.
Then fall gently
like the snow
down to the ground
Babies begin to recognize faces quickly so why not create a book of loved ones faces. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and of course you and your baby. Put the pictures in a binder so you can show your baby all the people who love him/her.
Get that Bubble
Bubbles are fascinating to almost all children. Around 6 months your baby will have the dexterity to reach for objects. To encourage this blow bubbles towards him or her. You can even “catch” the bubbles on the wand to ensure your child gets a chance to touch the bubble.
Filling a bottle partially full with dried beans or grain makes a great rolling toy. This activity allows the child to practice his or her newly acquired crawling skills or encourage a sitter to crawl. Roll the bottle past the child or see if the child can roll it to you. Even if your little one just rolls the bottle back and forth between his or her hands; that improves fine motor control.
Crawling is as far in your baby’s physical development as the activities go, although there are a few designed to encourage the baby into pulling him or herself up into a standing position. Baby Play is a great book to help parents learn how to interact with their babies.