Let's Play: Classic Games to Play with Your Baby

Patty-Cake

At first you should put your baby in your lap and repeat the rhyme while clapping his hands together. As he approaches 8 to 9 months, he'll be able to clap on his own.

Why it's so great: "Playing patty-cake is an exercise in rhythm and coordination," says Vicki Panacione, PhD, child psychologist and founder of the Better Parenting Institute, in Melbourne, Florida. "It also helps your baby develop spatial awareness, as he discovers where to place his hands." Once your child can sit up on his own, he'll become more involved in the game, improving his balance and his ability to focus.

How to make it even better: If you want to work on motor development, teach him to bring his left hand to your left, his right to your right. Learning to cross the invisible line separating left and right is a complex motor skill, one he should be able to master as he approaches his first birthday.

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