Playing with your newborn is important for your child’s overall development, learning, and wellbeing.
When your baby is awake and alert (between all the feedings, naps, and diaper changes), it’s a great opportunity to bond with your baby. Every new experience, activity, and interaction with you is a chance to learn and play.
If you’re wondering how you can play with your newborn, here are some great infant activities to try.
Talk to Your Newborn
While your little one can’t yet understand you, much less answer you, babies pay attention to the sound of human voices during the first month. Try speaking in higher-pitched tones to see how your baby reacts to the different sounds.
Listen to Music Together
Music can be calming for some newborns. If your newborn is fussy, try playing soft music and gently swaying them to the tune. Listening to music can be a sweet bonding experience throughout their childhood.
Lay your baby on their belly for just a few minutes at a time. Tummy time helps strengthen the neck and shoulder muscles and is good for newborns and infants 1–3 months old.
Tip: If your newborn hates tummy time on a playmat, try placing your baby stomach-down on your chest.
Do a Puppet Show
You can buy cute finger puppets and play peek-a-boo, sing silly songs, or make the puppet dance back and forth. Children can improve plenty of motor skills through puppet play, so why not start early!
Make Everyday Routines More Playful
You have to do the same routine every day anyway, so why not make it more fun? For example, after changing your baby’s diaper, give them some extra kisses and snuggles. You can also talk or sing to your newborn at bath time or make faces, smile, laugh, or poke out your tongue during diaper changes.
Tip: Your baby loves watching your face!
Play With Textures
While newborns can’t necessarily hold anything yet, it’s good to introduce them to different objects to feel. Feeling different textures helps your baby learn about the world around them.
Soft toys, rattles, and those cloth books with pages of different textures are fun things you can do together.
How Much Playtime is Too Much?
Even babies need a break. Sometimes parents get confused about their babies’ responses during playtime. Babies have a unique way of responding to stimulation like light, sound, touch, and activity. Some babies get overwhelmed quickly by what seems like a small amount of stimulation.
Here are some common “I need a break” signals your baby may use to tell you it’s time to take a break.
- Turning their head away
- Arching their back
- Closing their eyes or falling asleep
- Fussing or making “fussy” sounds
If you think they’ve had enough, grab your go-to swaddle blanket because that means it’s probably naptime