How Do Babies Play?

Under 2 Months

Infants under 2 months of age don’t actually play. During this time, your baby is busy learning to recognize the faces and even scents of family members.

At this age, having mobiles and other slow moving toys within their field of vision, can help your baby learn to focus and develop their sense of sight.

2 To 6 Months

By the age of two months, most infants can open and close their hands deliberately and have acquired a certain amount of strength.

Some the skills that your 2 to 6 month old infant can learn through play include:

  • The ability to grab, grasp and bat lightweight objects
  • Children can shake lightweight rattles getting them to make noise thus learning about cause and effect
  • Beginning development of fine motor skills
  • Strengthening of gross motor skills through kicking legs and pushing up with arms and legs
  • Improved focus and eye tracking abilities
  • Pre-verbal skills through gurgles, coos, and other wonderful baby sounds

6 Months To 1 Year

By the age of 6 months, your baby is staying awake for longer periods of time and playing more and more.

At this age, your baby is engaging more and more with you, siblings and other familiar family members and friends.

Some of the skills your infant will learn through play between 6 months and 1 year include:

  • More developed fine motor skills through continual grasping, holding, and exploring a variety of toys such as turning the pages of a heavy duty book, grasping and holding rattles, balls, or blocks.

    Also pulling objects to them or pushing them away.

  • Further development of gross motor skills, learning to roll up, sit up, and later pulling up using furniture.

    Baby gyms and a variety of other toys that encourage your baby to move help immensely

  • Clapping hands and playing patty cake will help your child develop their ability to accomplish designed behavior
  • At this age, your baby will begin to learn how to stack or nest toys, teaching them how to manipulate objects to get the desired effect.

    Giving your child lightweight blocks and nesting toys will help them to improve and advance this skill

  • At this age, children gain a better understanding of cause and effect. They use trial and error to discover that if they perform a certain action (shaking a rattle, they get a specific result (the sound).

    Through play, they begin to understand and reason that if they perform a specific action deliberately, they will be able to achieve the specific result

  • If as a parent you have been playing games such as peek-a-boo with your baby, they will quickly learn (around the ages of 8 months to a year) to initiate playing such games with you or with their older siblings.

    Learning how to initiate games to get a response is a skill your child will quickly learn and become adept at

  • As your baby approaches a year old, they will also begin to use appropriate responses to certain words and activities.

    For example if you ask your child where their ball is, they may crawl after it.

    Or if you say ‘patty cake, patty cake’, your child may clap their hands without any further prompting.


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