Creative (and Free!) Baby Games

You’re no stranger to baby games. You’ve made a million funny faces, shaken a rattle until your arm ached, and sung so many silly songs that your voice grew hoarse. Playing with your baby is one of the best parts of parenthood, but it’s normal to reach a moment where you think, “I’m totally out of ideas!”

If you’re looking for new ways to interact with and engage your baby, try these creative and free suggestions.

Words, sounds, and voices

One easy way to engage your baby is to play the narration baby game. For example, when unloading the dishwasher, say, “Mommy is putting away the dishes. Look at this white square -- it’s a plate!” Or walk around the house, pick up a variety of objects, state their names, and hand them to your baby to investigate. Just be sure to never let your baby play with an object that’s small enough to fit entirely in his mouth, since that’s a choking hazard.

Reading is another great activity to help with cognitive development. Although you are probably dying to know what happens to that very hungry caterpillar, don’t worry if your baby loses focus before the end. For him, reading is more about sharing the experience than getting through the story.

Sensory experiences

At this age, it’s important to engage your baby’s five senses: touch, sight, sound, taste, and smell. Hang out in your closet and let your baby run his fingers over all the different fabrics. Sit under a tree and stare at the leaves. Other fun baby activities include pulling out pots and pans of all sizes and tapping on each one, letting your baby hear how different objects make unique noises. You can also let your baby sniff fruits and vegetables as you slice them to help develop his sense of smell.

Floor time

Spread a soft blanket out on the floor and place your baby on his tummy. “Tummy time” is very important for motor development, as it engages neck and back muscles and helps prepare your baby for crawling. Some babies fuss on their stomachs, so get down on your baby’s level and interact with him to help keep him happy.

Get creative

Sometimes parents feel pressure to buy their children new and expensive toys, but if you look around your house, there are tons of everyday items you can use to safely engage your child in baby play. Whether you’re making a tower out of measuring cups, building a fort from sheets, or rolling an orange around the kitchen floor, every way you engage your baby is the right way.

The best part of being a parent is looking at the world with fresh eyes. Get creative and let the good times roll.