Games to Play in Your Baby's First Year

Birth to 3 Months

The Changing Game

This is a great activity for when you're changing your baby or dressing him -- it will calm fussiness and may become a ritual you both look forward to. Say, "What a cute nose, nose, nose," and plant a kiss on baby's little nose. Next, say, "What a cute tummy, tummy, tummy," and kiss baby's belly, and so on for each body part.

Variation: Touch baby in different spots and make a funny sound, like "boop." Watch him react with delight.

Follow That Rattle

This game can be played with the youngest babies and will strengthen their eyesight. Take toy keys or a rattle and dangle it above your baby's face so he can see it. Then move it slowly across his line of vision and watch him track it.

Variation: Stimulate his hearing by shaking the rattle on either side of his face to see if he moves his eyes or turns his head in the right direction.

Up and Down Seesaw

You can play this game as soon as your baby can hold his head up. Lay him on your lap, facing you, or on the couch or on the floor, and gently pull him up to a sitting position by his hands or from his back, saying, "Up baby goes!" Then return him to the floor, saying, "Down baby goes!"

Baby Aerobics

Even an infant's little muscles can use pumping! Here's a fun baby workout: As she lies on a playmat, lift and lower your baby's arms; then move her arms and legs in and out in a cycling motion.

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