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Baby holding cube

Your baby has an inquiring mind, they’re ready to discover the world, and between six and 12 months their skills and abilities begin their rapid development. You can help encourage this by playing games that will help to stimulate their senses.

Games with baby from six months

  • Come and get it – shake a box with a toy inside, making it rattle, then place the box a couple of metres away from them. Their curiosity to find what’s inside will motivate them to reach for the box and open it.
  • Build a tower – encourage them to pile blocks one on top of the other. This is quite a challenge – they’ll need to concentrate, co-ordinating hand and eye movements.
  • I do it, you do it – gently bang two wooden blocks together; they’ll try it too, with your encouragement. By imitating you, your baby learns new skills and boosts their self-esteem.
  • Mirror play – even though your baby can’t recognise their own image in the mirror, they’ll have fun looking, especially if they catch sight of your reflection too.
  • Cause and effect – they’re gradually realising they can influence their surroundings. That’s why they pull at a rug to get hold of the toy they want.
  • Water play – at bathtime they’ll love filling beakers with water then pouring them out. This is the first stage of learning about volume and the way liquids behave.
  • Peek-a-boo – this develops your baby’s attention skills as they try to anticipate your appearance.

Laughing and teasing

At around 12 months, your baby will start to be creative with their abilities. Don’t be surprised if they hold out a toy for you, pull it away as you lean forward to take it, then burst out laughing! This teasing is a sign of their growing self-confidence, their increased understanding of cause and effect, and their developing humour. Your laughter makes it even more enjoyable for them.

Learning good behaviour

Games give your baby the opportunity to learn about getting on with others, although they still have a lot to learn. For example, if they snatch a toy from another child and the other child starts to cry, they will probably stare at the other child with curiosity – they are unable to make the connection between them taking the toy and the other child’s tears (this will happen at around 20 months). Respond calmly but firmly. Take the toy from them, telling them quietly but clearly that they shouldn’t take things from another child like that, and return the toy to the original owner.

Which toys are best?

  • Toys with pieces fitting into each other, such as nesting beakers, shape sorters, wooden jigsaws.
  • Large plastic construction blocks, small wooden blocks, rings that stack on a pillar, stacking cubes.
  • Soft balls of different sizes and textures.
  • Water toys.
  • Dolls with removable clothes, cuddly toys.
  • Push-along and musical wind-up toys, toy drum and sticks.
  • Picture books, alphabet play mats, chunky crayons and paper.

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