At this stage, children still love to play primarily with the adult or will amuse themselves with toys and things around them. They watch adults make different expressions, and will chortle and giggle loudly. Encourage caregivers to play face to face with their baby. They love to listen to singing, and will watch and even start to copy actions of rhymes that have movements and actions and sounds. Tickle games, rolling with them on a bed or mat and lifting them up into the air will help them experience movement and movement against gravity in fun and safe ways. These games build trust and bonding helping babies identify and relate to the consistent people in their lives.
Movement and exploration with objects are really important at this stage. Ensure that the child experiences different positions during play – on the tummy with a little rolled towel under the chest, on the back with toys scattered around, or sitting supported on the adult’s lap. Place toys within reach, and a few favourites just out of reach to encourage their first attempts to move out into space.
Babies love being carried by adults as their walk around inside or outside the home. This gives them a lot of opportunity to observe the world and to develop balance and trunk strength as they are being carried.
During this period, babies learn by playing with objects and people. Surround them with toys and safe things from around the house like little bowls and cups from the kitchen. Things of different textures, sizes and shapes give the little hands a lot of practice in grasping and holding. Things that make sounds and have moving parts grab their interest and encourage exploration and they learn to attend to details of objects. Playing give and take games gives them practice in reaching, grasping and releasing things.
Ideas for homemade toys are available in Disabled Village Children: Chapter 49: A children’s workshop for making toys.