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Nurturing Play

Play is an essential part of your baby’s emotional, physical and social development. There are many activities that can nurture her learning and growth. It is also precious time you can spend fostering attachment with your baby. 

Babies learn different skills as they grow. Here are some examples of play ideas for different stages of your baby’s growth and development. 

0-3 months

Practice tummy time with your baby. This will help strengthen the upper body, head and neck muscles, and is also a great way for baby to start exploring his surroundings. Sing and talk to him. Hold your baby close so he can see your face, hear your voice and watch you smile. An unbreakable mirror for baby to look at his reflection is another way to play with your baby. 

3-6 months

Additional ways to play can include rattles, shakers and peek-a-boo. Continue reading, singing, rhyming, playing music and talking to your baby. Think of all the words baby will hear and learn. You are their favorite toy and they love spending time with you. 

6-12 months

Measuring cups, nesting or stacking toys, balls, large or soft building blocks, noisemakers, or toys of different textures and colours are great additions to the toys you use every day. These can help build upon previous activities that develop baby’s gross and fine motor skills. 

For more ideas, sign up for the Looksee Checklist https://www.lookseechecklist.com/ or visit https://www.healthunit.com/physical-activity-early-years.

Ensure play areas are safe by removing any toys or objects that could be dangerous or a choking hazard. Most importantly, supervise your baby while they are at play. Toys should be large enough, age appropriate, unbreakable and safe. 

Your baby does not need expensive or fancy toys. Talking, singing, and reading to your baby are great ways to engage them. Watch your baby’s cues. Let your baby lead playtime and you can follow along. Ensure that activities are age appropriate. 

When you are able, attend playgroups with your child to meet and play with other families. Take a look at the Family Centre and EarlyON/ON y va program calendar at https://familyinfo.ca/en/Calendar to see numerous live and pre-recorded activities being offered. 

With these simple tips, you can build endless play possibilities. So take play as a wonderful opportunity to have fun, explore and love your baby!

Submitted by Christine Liu, Public Health Nurse, Middlesex-London Health Unit, on behalf of the Middlesex-London Community Early Years Partnership


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