The early weeks of your baby’s life are filled with discovery and development. They will go through changes both physically and mentally and sometimes, it can be hard to know how you can foster their growth.
A great way to engage your bub is through playtime. That’s why the experts at Lovevery have shared five fun ways to play with your baby from 4 weeks to 12 weeks old.
Introducing play to your new baby
New babies are fascinated by black-and-white images. You’ll find Black and White mittens in the Lovevery Looker Play Kit or you can make your own by tying a piece of cloth with a black-and-white design loosely around your baby’s palm.
- Lay your baby on a plain blanket without other objects to distract them.
- Place the black-and-white mittens on your baby’s hands while they’re lying on their back, side lying, or during tummy time.
- See if they start to notice their hands
Talking and reading
Talking with your baby is one of the very best things you can do to help build their developing brain. The more you talk with them, the more they understand—and the more they’ll eventually learn to say on their own. When talking with your baby:
- Stick with it: Your baby is processing what they’re hearing even if they don’t seem to be listening to you.
- Speak to them directly when you can: Face-to-face conversation is the most helpful kind.
- Introduce your baby to a variety of words and resist the urge to “dumb down” your vocabulary.
- Speak to them in the high-pitched, singsong voice that comes naturally when speaking to babies.
- Use a book with high-contrast images
- When your baby makes a sound, reinforce it: Mimic it back to them, then pause and make the same sound again—this “serve and return” pattern introduces your baby to the back-and-forth rhythm of conversation.
- Don’t feel pressured to talk constantly, just 15 minutes per waking hour can make a big difference.
Babies are fascinated by paper and will be instantly engaged if you use it as a playtime tool. Try:
- Tearing a piece of paper in front of your baby and watch them startle and focus on the sound.
- Slowly crumple a piece of paper in front of your baby, showing them how it changes from a flat sheet to a crumpled ball.
- Giving them a large piece of tissue paper (at 9 to 11 weeks of age). Position the paper so your baby can potentially hit it with their arms or feet; see if they notice the sound the paper makes when they accidentally hit it.
Understanding that objects and people can make sounds is an early lesson in real-life cause and effect. To enhance your child’s experience with sound:
- Go on a sound tour of your house. See if your baby tunes into the sounds of your daily life: your fingers rapping on a window; the doorbell ringing; a hairdryer; the beeping sounds as you press the buttons on the microwave, etc.
- Talk about what your baby is experiencing as you go.
Real-life cause and effect with balloons
Balloons are a great (and inexpensive) learning tool for your child. In the early stages, you can create real-life cause and effect by:
- Using a permanent marker and create your own high-contrast design on a white balloon to capture your baby’s attention.
- Batting a balloon in front of your baby and watch them try to track it; your baby will likely begin to track a moving object with their eyes at about 5 weeks old.
- Loosely tying balloons to your baby’s legs to see if they notice the movement when they kick.