Ideas for Playing with Infants and Toddlers

Updated on May 15, 2010
S.B. asks from Mission, KS
10 answers

Well, this may sound like a silly question, but I am wondering how to play with an infant? My guy is 8 months old, he likes peekaboo, doesn't like patacake. I read a few books to him and take him on strolls daily. I fly him around like an airplane, which he loves, but can't do it for long, tiring! He also likes his jumper and to sort through his toys on his own. Other than that, I am kinda stumped. Chalk it up to an old mom who is used to quiet time alone...

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answers from Phoenix on

Sometimes the best thing you can do is just sit next to him while he explores his toys and chat with him about what he's playing with, what he's doing, what you hear, what you did that day, whatever. You don't always have to actively "play" with a child for them to benefit. Part of development is them learning to do things on their own, but while we're there keeping them company. Good luck!

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answers from Minneapolis on

We have a book with play ideas from babies to toddlers (large, but I can't find it in this mess! :-)) but you can search for "play ideas with baby". Also, walks are great esp. if you interact -- point things out, let him touch stuff, etc. Wait, you're in NYC? Central park zoo, children's museum, ferry rides, brooklyn zoo, transit museum (brooklyn), times square (all the colors!), library (find one with children's read aloud) and check books out. Big fat cars or balls, you could bring him in to the kitchen and let him play with wooden spoons and a bowl (though he's still probably working on coordination). Bubbles, water toys (in bath), Music class for kids. Mainly, at this age, I'd take advantage of the time between naps and get out of the house. You live in a great city (I used to live there) with tons of stuff. Have fun!

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answers from St. Cloud on

I play "Wheels on the Bus" with my 5month old. Helps with gas pains too. Lay baby on back and sing the verses to wheels on the bus, moving different body parts. Doors open- legs or arms go open and closed. Move on back- the arm goes over the shoulder. Etc.



answers from Lincoln on

You sound just like me! I was used to a lot of quiet time when my daughter was born three years ago. I figured I would naturally know what to play and love it. Well, truth be told...I was a little bored.
Try reading as many as he will sit through. Also music is a wonderful way to bond with singing, dancing, and fingerplays. I must suggest Kindermusik! If you live in Lincoln then is AMAZING!! We've done Kindermusik since my daughter was three months old and have learned so much. They are truly interested in developing the whole child and teaching the parents about wonderful way to teach and bond with their children.



answers from Minneapolis on

I always felt guity because I was never good at getting on the floor and playing real baby games with my kids at home. I did a lotof that at ECFE, and did carve out time to do it, but it never felt natural. Instead, I tended to just hang out and chat, read with them, take them along on my own little adventures, even included them in chores. (My son loved being in the Baby Bjorn while I dusted--a whole new perpective of the house, and I would narrate things like photos and such.) As a result, we have a really communicative relationship, and my kids play really well with their own toys independently. Quality time isn't always dictated by the activity, and sometimes the kids get to experience new things when you share something beyond the baby toys.



answers from Boston on

Lots of singing. And if he's happy playing with toys on his own, let him until he becomes unhappy. It's a great thing for kids to learn to entertain themselves.

When he does want your attention, you can stack towers and have him knock them down. You can fill a tub with blocks and he can dump them out. Bubble baths are fun too. Good luck!



answers from Rapid City on

Blow bubbles (kids kinds with a wand) for your infant to try to catch and to watch - they love this! Songs or rhymes that you can add actions/finger plays to or that repeat - babies love to hear repetition, they start to learn to anticipate what will come next (like "twinkle twinkle" and close your hands into fists, then open them wide to make stars that twinkle)(or "this little piggy" playing with babies toes and then tickling). Have you ever heard of baby center dot com? Sign up for their free weekly emails and they'll include a couple of little games to play with your baby each week. Tupperware and other similar containers - putting smaller ones inside bigger ones or just banging them around.

Get creative and have fun. The first 3 years of a child's life are critical to their development. Remember that the AAP recommends no TV until age 2, so really try to avoid getting into the "baby einstein" stuff - it's no good. Instead, take your baby somewhere to experience variety - the museum, the park, a noisy mall, or a quiet stroll. Seeing things is cruical to how babies learn and develop - they start to make memories that they can build on later! Have fun!



answers from Rapid City on

One thing you can do is sing songs pointing to body parts. "Head acher, Eye see'er, nose smeller, mouth eater and Chinny chopper" was always a favorite of my kids and grandkids. My youngest son was a year old when he added on to the song with his dad with "Ball pot" (Bald spot). This little piggy is always a fun one. This old man is another. At 8 months they are curious about what is around them so even walking around and putting names on everything will sink in and help him notice his surroundings.



answers from Boca Raton on

Read to them and try new things with them like wood buzzles, etc. My youngest just turned 1 and we are still in a exploring stage. We love our jumper and walker, but his favorite thing is getting down and crawling with him. He loves books read to him that has his favorite words. Don't worry you'll have lots to do in the coming months once those legs get going!

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