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How to Play Classic & Educational Baby Games

Learn which classic baby games help your infant advance from pediatrician Dyan Hes, M.D. in this Howcast video about newborn and baby development.

Transcript

So parents always want to know, "What game I should play with my baby?" Usually, that's the last question they ask as they're walking out of the office. "What should I do with my baby? What games should I play with my baby?"

So when a baby's a newborn, you don't really have to play games with your baby. The world is enough stimulation for your baby. They look around. They're learning to look at the environment and hear sounds and smells. As your baby gets older, around four months, your baby might be more interested in playing games.

They're usually all visual games, really about peekaboo. Some people call it cuckoo, where you cover your face, and you let go, and you say, "Peekaboo." And the baby gets this really guttural laugh, and is very excited by it. And you just do it over and over, and it's like, they never get bored of it. Each time they forget that they just saw you again.

And that's when object permanence is developing. So object permanence is when a child, from infancy until about age two, realizes that things that you hide, when you initially hide them when they're about four months old, like if you cover a block with a blanket they think the block is gone. That's why they throw, when they're six months old they throw toys off of their highchair, but they don't look for them. They just throw them, and they start laughing. And it's a game. Just throw things down, and you know, mommy gets all angry because they keep on throwing food or throwing their toys. And you're always down on the floor picking them up.

At around nine months to one year they realize that the object that they threw is going to come back. It's not gone. So then they'll peek over the edge of their highchair and look for a toy that's missing. That's when object permanence is developing. When they realize something they're throwing it and it still exists.

So initially, when they play peekaboo every time they get a big rise out of it because it's new for them. They don't know where you went. And then as they mature, they start to look for it. It's still enjoyable to them. But they do realize that you are behind your hands, or that the block is under the cup.

As they get a little older you can do more complicated things. Like at age two is like you can put a raisin in a box, and put the box under the pillow. And then the child will pick up the pillow, and they'll know that the raisin might still be in the box. They'll know to look in a two stage kind of complex process.

So all of these, these aren't really board games or games that you have to pay for, but these are just kind of creative games that you can play with your child to stimulate them.

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