Baby Hints & Tips

Play and learning activities (0-9 months)

Expert tips by Jan Jones (Early Childhood Educator)

Play and learning activities for 0-9 month old babies:


Materials needed

What to do and how to do it

Seeing/mobileMobile –                                  hang bottle tops, coloured cardboard shapes, etc. with string from a coathanger.Hang out of babies’ reach – this will give the baby something interesting to look at while lying in the cot. Change shapes often. Puppets, toys and books can also be made into mobiles.
Seeing/watching moving objectsBrightly coloured, patterned toy, ball or container.Hold toy at a distance of about 20cm from baby’s face and slowly move it from side to side and up and down.
Hearing/speechVoice.Talk, sing and hum – vary voice often – high and low sounds, long and short sounds, loud and soft sounds.
Looking and lifting the headColourful object or favourite toy.Place baby on stomach and hold object or toy in front of her/his face gradually lifting it upward so that baby will need to raise their head to keep the object in sight.
Sound gameBell, two spoons, rattle or some other noise-maker.Stand where you can see the baby. Make a noise and see if baby turns her/his head toward the sound. If so, allow baby to play with the noise-maker.
Reaching for an objectInteresting objects safe for baby to handle (toys and soft balls, cotton reels on string, wooden clothes pegs.)Dangle objects in front of baby. If baby makes an attempt to reach for them, allow to play with the toy.
Kick toysRattles, onion bag stuffed with newspaper or cellophane.Tie rattle to end of cot to encourage baby to move legs and kick objects. Remove while baby is sleeping.
ConversationsVoice.If baby produces a sound such as “ah”, smile and talk with the baby. Repeat sound back to baby.
Moving for exercisePlay with baby – you may like to exercise arms and legs up, down and around; delicately pat and stroke body with or without oil (massage).
GraspingRattle, small toy, spoon, small container e.g. plastic juice container.Place rattle or toy in baby’s hand.
Peek-a-booScarf or piece of material.Cover your face for a moment or two with the fabric, then remove it and say peek-a-boo. Do this several times. Baby may like the fabric on his/her face and may pull it off to play the game as well.
ReflectionsHand mirror or other mirror.Give your baby the opportunity to see her/himself in a mirror. Talk about what is shown – eyes, nose, hand, etc.
SearchPlastic, non-breakable cup or toy.Allow baby to play with cup or toy then cover with fabric. Allow a while for baby to look for the object that has been covered, then uncover it. 


6 – 9 month old babies:

Hide and seek (crawling baby)Person.You may like to hide under a table, behind a chair or door and encourage baby to find you or you can find baby.
Chase the ballBall, ball of string or wool, balloon, folded stockings or socks or anything that can be rolled.Roll the object a short distance in front of the baby and encourage her/him to go and get the ball. Be sure to encourage baby to continue the pursuit.
ChasingGive baby a head start and then crawl after baby. Take your time catching up.
Imitation gamesBabies love to play imitation games. Laugh, cough, flutter eyes, poke out tongue, clap, wave arms or hands.
Tug of warUnbreakable toy, object or scarf.Hold the toy or object in front of baby within reach. When baby grabs on to toy and tries to pull it, move it slightly away so baby will have to pull harder. If baby makes an effort to pull, give baby the toy to play with.

 What are you favourite baby games and activities?

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