By Raising Children Network
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Entertaining your newborn is as simple as making faces, singing nursery rhymes, smiling and blowing raspberries. Playing together will bring you closer and helps your baby learn about the world.

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  • The brain develops at an amazing rate during the first three years.
  • Play stimulates changes in the brain that help your baby develop and find out about the world. 
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Playing together is easy. It’s enjoyable. It’s also one of the best ways for you and your newborn to get to know each other. All you need to get started is you and your baby.

Playing together helps you and your baby get to know each other. Through playing, you learn to trust and depend on each other, and the bond between you deepens. Research shows that playing together helps your newborn feel loved and secure. Feeling loved and secure helps babies to develop and learn.

Play stimulates new ideas and helps your baby s brain to develop. Each new experience that your baby is exposed to helps parts of baby’s brain link together, grow and develop. This is one way babies learn more and more about the world around them, and about where they fit into the world.

Playing with your baby will help baby learn to talk and understand words. You might not always have time to stop everything and play. But you can still chat to your newborn about whatever is going on – cooking dinner, shopping, getting the bath ready and just about anything else that you’re doing. Singing to your child has the same benefits.

Play can reveal a lot about your baby’s personality. Rough and silly or quiet and calm, you’ll soon know what style your baby prefers. Follow baby’s cues – if baby seems startled or upset, tone down the game.

Ideas for playing with your baby

  • Make faces, smile, laugh, roll your eyes, wave your hands gently. Your newborn is the one person who will be fascinated by everything you do., and will even want to try to be just like you.

  • Give baby all kinds of objects to feel. Soft toys or a rattle are great fun, and so are different textures. Your baby learns by touching and feeling things, and this all helps baby to find out more about the world.

  • Read soft cloth books to your baby. It’s never to early to start reading to your baby. And the great thing about cloth books is that your baby can touch and taste them too!

  • Give baby different things to look at – outside, inside, different people, different rooms. Some tummy time each day lets your baby look at eye-popping new sights like the side of a chair from different perspectives. This also gives babies time to practise holding their heads up each day. It’s not recommended that your baby fall asleep tummy down though. So put baby to bed in a position for safe sleeping when you start to see signs of tiredness.

Sing, chat, blow raspberriesthe game doesn’t have to be complicated. The simpler the better for a newborn.
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  • Last Updated 10-03-2010
  • Last Reviewed 02-11-2009
  • Bowlby, J. (1982). Attachment and loss, Vol 1: Attachment, 2nd Ed. New York: Basic Books.

    Manning-Morton, J. & Thorp, M. (2003). Key times for play: The first three years. Philadelphia: Open University Press.