By this time your baby is getting a lot more fun and responsive! They should be smiling back at your, trying to talk and able to grasp toys — albeit clumsy they’re working on their hand to mouth sills. The games below are all things we’ve been playing to help Archer develop his muscles, coordination and start to better understand language and interaction. During this time they are also start to roll over, first from tummy to back then back to tummy, so their movement needs to be encouraged.
- Toy wagon wheel: this is just how it sounds. On the floor we lay a blanket down and place his toys all around him in a circle, all slightly out of reach. This encourages him to look around and try to move (roll) to reach something. You can place your hands behind his feet to give him something to push off on so he understands he can push himself forward. We do this every day with Archer, however it wasn’t until the last week or so (he’s almost 5 months) where he became interested in reaching for his toys on the ground. Before that he was only interested in people. Timing on this depends on your baby.
- Pull ups: you may have already started to do this or notice your little one flexing his stomach to try and sit up. You can help them along by holding out your fingers and saying “up” then wait until they pull with their arms and flex their neck until you slowly pull them up to a seated position. Then lower them down and do over again. Eventually they’ll learn to pull their legs up too which helps them sit. (sitting up on their own doesn’t happen until 6-8 months) Archer loves doing this, he gets so proud of himself when he’s sitting!
- Scanning: when babies are on their tummies they scan the room. When they’re on their back and you’re dangling toys, it’s important to dangle the toys across their body, from side to side, passing their midline. Not only does this help with coordination, but it helps their brain develop properly so they understand full cross body range of motion. We just learned this important tip so will make more effort in this area.
- Peek-a-boo: we all know this game. This is a great game to help them learn their name. Take a thin slightly see-through scarf and hold it up between you and your baby. Call their name. When they look at you drop the scarf and say peek-a-boo!
- Patty cake: Archer loves this game! It’ll turn him from crying to smiling in 10 seconds flat. Basically start by holding up your hands in patty cake stance, fingers wide and exaggerated, then start tapping their hands and singing Patty Cake. Eventually your baby will mimic you and open their hands, hold them up and sing along.
- Tickling: around 4 months you may have gotten your little one to laugh. Some do it on their own others need to be prompted. Usually you can start tickling them under their arms or on their sides and get all sorts of giggles and laughs. It shows playful human interaction and “cause and effect”.
- Reading: you may wonder what your newborn is gathering from books at this point, but it’s important to start showing them pictures and getting them acquainted with books. Sit them up in your lap, hold the book in-front of you and show them the book while singing or reading in an animated fashion. I will do a separate post on reading books to your newborn, we just learned about this in class today.
- Of course all teh games in 0-3 months also can be played during this phase as well.
Have fun playing with your little babycakes. They won’t always be willing or able to sit and play with you so enjoy it while you can. They’re little sponges and you’ll see them learn and develop so fast!
Here’s Archer and I playing patty cake. He didn’t always hold up his hands this way but learned quickly!
Here I am playing peek-a-boo with Archer:
Wagon wheel set up where Archer plays: