In the first 12 months of life, the baby grows and develops incredibly. Every day there is a new achievement, apparently as small as it is huge in the eyes of mum, dad … and the child himself!
For this reason, it is essential that you offer him games for newborns that not only entertain him but that are able to make him make new discoveries and stimulate him both physically and sensually.
Contrary to what one might think, no complicated and expensive items are needed. On the contrary: industrial toys, mostly made of plastic, are not as stimulating as toys for babies that you could make yourself at home. Plastic is in fact considered a material with little sensory value: it does not give particular sensations either to the touch or to the taste, which are the senses most used by a baby of a few months.
In this article we therefore want to suggest a series of games for babies that you can create yourself with daily material and which are designed specifically to stimulate psychophysical development. You will see how happy your little one will be when you play together!
1) Puppet sock
Choose a sock that no one uses anymore, preferably white, red or black, and turn it into a simple puppet. Simply draw his eyes, nose and mouth with a marker and maybe add a tuft of colored wool to simulate the hair. Put your hand inside the sock and move it in front of the baby in different directions, when it will be in the cot or on the seat.
This type of games for babies stimulates frontal vision, which at the beginning is not present (babies have in fact only the peripheral one).
Nothing more immediate: for this game you only need a mirror! When your baby is old enough to keep his head up, put him on his stomach on a soft carpet or on the bed and lie down with him. Then place the mirror in front of your faces, moving it and playing with the reflections for a few seconds.
With this activity you will stimulate his ability to follow the reflex with the eyes and to recognize faces, as well as strengthen the neck muscles.
3) Mobile with photos and colored circles
Human faces are in fact one of the first forms that the newborn recognizes: why, then, do not build a carousel with photos of mom, dad and any siblings to hang over the cot? You can insert your close-ups and alternate them with colored circles of cardboard, made from old rolls of toilet paper.
This game for babies will train your baby’s visual ability from all points of view: face recognition, perception of colors and depth and ability to follow moving objects.
4) Colored cardboard pinwheel
Another of the games for small children to do at home to train the sight is the pinwheel.
You just need to build one with bright colored cards and move it slowly in front of the baby’s face, from 2-3 months onwards. This activity will help him improve the perception of depth and the ability to focus on objects.
5) Hide and seek games
Do you know the classic “peekaboo” that makes all the children laugh – and to tell the truth also the parents? Here, the same principle can also be applied to objects: choose your child’s favorite puppet, make it disappear under a sheet, ask him where it ended up and then make it reappear in a theatrical way. After a while, let the child touch the sheet with the puppet under it and find out for himself.
A game for babies of this type helps to understand the concept of object permanence – that is, it exists even when we don’t see it.
6) Tactile book
There are many tactile books on the market, but why not make it yourself? It will be sufficient to take rectangles of colored fabric and sew them together, with different materials inside them – for example, cotton wool for a feeling of softness or paper of the Easter egg rolled up to make noise. Even the fabrics can be different: corduroy, smooth satin, soft fleece and so on.
This baby game stimulates the sense of touch, but also motor coordination.
7) Sensory bottles
Among the games for children to do at home, the sensory bottles are perhaps the most surprising. All you have to do is fill the clear plastic bottles with liquids of different densities, which will therefore not mix – for example water and olive oil. Or, you can use water and small items such as bits of colored straws, dried legumes or buttons. Glue the cap to the bottle, so that it doesn’t open inadvertently, and you’re done!
You will see the amazed gaze of your baby when he observes the movement and colors inside the bottles, or when he rolls them on the ground.
8) Rain stick
To stimulate hearing in an unexpected and at the same time relaxing way, nothing is better than the rain stick. You can easily make one at home, using a cardboard tube, such as paper towels, putting a handful of rice inside and covering it with colored fabrics.
When you or your baby move it, you will hear a noise similar to that of the rain… and he will be amazed!
9) Treasure chest
This game to do at home is perfect for babies who already know how to sit, therefore from about 6 months.
Take a wicker basket or a cardboard container and fill it with objects of various kinds and materials: balls of wool, mending wooden eggs, tin boxes, socks, spoons… the game consists of an exploration that stimulates all the senses of the child, allowing him to make surprising discoveries (for example, the cause-effect relationship between the fall of an object and the noise it produces).
Especially at the beginning, much of the exploration will pass through the mouth: we therefore recommend that you keep the objects clean – as well as change them often, so that the child does not lose interest.
This home-made game couldn’t be simpler: all you need is a sturdy box, big enough to hold your baby. It is a game for babies to propose to him when he crawls, to stimulate his ability to move: put him in the box, placed on a soft carpet and surrounded by interesting objects … he will have fun climbing to go out!
As you can see, there are countless ideas for baby games to be made at home… try to put some into practice, and you will see that stimulating your child’s psychomotor skills will be easier and more fun than ever!