Games and activities are a great way to help boost your baby’s vocabulary, foster social skills and support gross and fine motor development.

Jayme Holstein, MD, pediatrician at Takai, Hoover, Hsu & Associates, believes one activity in particular offers the most benefits:

“Read together, all the time and at all ages,” she recommends. “The best thing you do for your child is to help him or her develop a love of reading. Reading together increases vocabulary, offers valuable bonding time and helps build important skills they will need to learn to read one day.”

Even when babies aren’t interested in sitting still, Dr. Holstein encourages parents to regularly expose children to books.

“Let children who don’t want to sit still play with books,” she says. “Point out what you see in illustrations or ask children to tell you want they find. Let your child explore – turning the book over, flipping pages and looking through each of the pictures.”

Focus on Your Child

It can be easy to get caught up in what your friends or family members are doing with their little one. That “friendly competition” can quickly create stress for parents and even babies.

“You know your child best. Play games and activities that you and your baby or toddler enjoy,” Dr. Holstein reminds parents. “If your child isn’t interested in something one day, just put it aside and save it for another day.”

When it comes to planning activities for babies, parents shouldn’t feel pressured to find the “perfect” thing.

“The best and most stimulating activities are often the easiest,” says Dr. Holstein. “Spending time together, reading and talking provide ample opportunity to engage and teach your child about the world around them.”

Activities by Age

If you’re looking for a quick list of games and activities for your child, keep this list handy to help spark your imagination:

Newborn-6 months
  • Read
  • Sing
  • Say nursery rhymes
  • Play simple hand games like pat-a-cake or peek-a-boo
  • Play with child-safe mirrors
  • Play on the floor together during tummy time
6-12 months
  • Read
  • Sing
  • Say nursery rhymes
  • Introduce animal sounds
  • Play with puzzles
  • Use instruments or items around the house to make different noises
Toddlers
  • Read
  • Sing
  • Sort items by color
  • Color together
  • Have a dance party
  • Finger paint
  • Make simple arts and crafts
  • Play with musical instruments

Let Your Child Be the Guide

It’s important for parents to remember that all children develop differently. Your child’s pediatrician can help assess how your little one is developing and discuss any concerns you may have at well appointments.

If you have any questions or concerns about your baby’s development, Dr. Holstein always encourages parents to call their pediatrician.

Need to find a pediatrician near you? Adventist Medical Group can help!