Why Do Newborns Want to Play?
Place your newborn in his crib, and he'll be fascinated by the motion and colors of the mobile dangling above him. He can't reach out and grab the mobile (yet), but he can use his senses to study it. Sound, sight, taste, touch, and smell will be the tools he uses to figure out the world. Indeed, for the first year, most play is sensory driven. If it's within his reach, he'll grab for it. Once it's in his hand, he'll shake it to see if it makes a noise, put it into his mouth to taste it, or rub it to see what it feels like.
To get a picture of the world from a baby's point of view, imagine how you feel when the dessert cart comes by after dinner -- you want to taste everything in sight, even though you know that the chocolate will be sweet and the Key lime pie will be tart. Babies have no reference point. Their environment is a smorgasbord ripe for discovery and full of surprises -- such as the differences in taste and texture among a sock, a plastic ball, and a chopped-up banana.