10 musical games to play with baby
When you bring home your newborn, you’ll be excited to interact and enjoy each others company and musical play is a great way to do this.
You might have already invested in teddies and toys for baby to play with but the truth is, very young babies show very little interaction with games and toys. But that’s not to say you shouldn’t continue to play with baby to help stimulate their young mind! Play is important to help strengthen baby’s development and musical play in particular, can help boost rhythm and co-ordination. Here are some age appropriate musical games to play with baby.
When your baby is very young, dnacing together can be a great bonding tool. Hold baby close or in a baby sling and slowly rock and sway your baby in time to the music. If you’re feeling particularly inspired after watching Strictly Come Dancing, you might like to try a waltz by holding onto baby’s hand whilst dancing. Dancing together is a relaxing and enjoyable game for baby and mum to play together.
As babies are born very near sighted and have yet to master tracking, you are their biggest and most enjoyable toy. Stay close to baby’s face so they can see you and sing songs to them. It doesn’t matter if you can barely hold a note, baby will enjoy it anyway!
- Clapping games
To help kick start the developmental curve of your child, try and introduce rhythm from an early age. A simple and fun way to do this is clapping games. Sing ‘If you’re happy and you know it’ and clap baby’s hands along with the music. This will start to introduce rhythm and eventually, baby will copy you and be able to clap on his/her own.
- This little piggy
Finding fingers and toes is a monumental discovery for babies. They’ll be forever in mouths and be stared at in wonder and amazement. This rhyming game reminds baby about their toes and introduces repetition to help boost memory development. The gentle tickle at the end of the rhyme will also thrill baby!
- Toe tap
This is a great game to try when changing baby or letting them have some time out of a nappy. Lie baby on a changing or play mat. Sing a favourite children’s song, such as ‘Twinkle twinkle little star’ and gently tap out the rhythm of the song on the soles of baby’s feet. This repetition and rhythm will engage baby.
- Head, shoulders, knees and toes
Another great lying down game, this song introduces actions to baby. As you sing the song, take baby’s hands and gently follow the instructions of the song (touching head, shoulders and so on). In time baby will be able to do these actions themselves!
- Bouncing games
Now that baby can confidently hold their own head up, games can get a little bit more lively to keep up with an active and growing mind. Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out together in front of you. Sit baby on your legs facing you and pick your favourite children’s song. Bounce baby up and down to certain words in the song that appear often (i.e. if singing ‘Humpty dumpty’, bounce baby on humpty, dumpty, sat and wall). Baby will love a lively and exciting game.
- Drumming games
By now, you’ll be surprised at baby’s quick spurt and will be noticing baby’s ever increasing strength. Lay out some pots, pans, plastic cups and wooden spoons for baby to make their drumming debut. Playing along with baby to memorable songs will help further instill rhythm.
- The name game
Now that your little one is fast developing into an intuative toddler, singing songs you’ve sang in the past months will be recognisable and baby may even remember the actions to join in. Adding baby’s name into a song will make it even more enjoyable! Try singing ‘B-I-N-G-O’ and changing the letters to spell baby’s name (if it fits!). Be creative and see what you can come up with to include baby’s name.
- Action games
Singing games with actions will be even more enjoyable now baby can understand them better. Have another go at ‘Head, shoulders, knees and toes’ and see if baby can join in this time.
Photography: Ren Kuo @Flickr