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How to Play with a Newborn: 15 Unique Ways that Works Best!

Benjamin Carter
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Ways to Play with a Newborn 0-3 Months Old

Are you looking for activities to connect with your newborn? After you also wondering how to play with a newborn?

Your prime activities involve cleaning, feeding, and cuddling with the little one in the initial days. However, as weeks pass, you get more time together. Make the best use of this time for better development of your baby. Thoughtful activities will connect you with the baby and help them understand the world better.

Babies spend a lot of time sleeping in the initial days. So, you need a schedule that takes care of their sleep and activity time. This article shares the importance of doing certain activities with your newborn and when to begin. It goes into detail to share 15 ways to play with your newborn. If you are a beginner on the parenting journey, keep reading.

When to Begin Playing with Your Newborn?

You can begin playing with your baby as soon as they come home. As such, there is no specific age at which you need to start. The sooner you begin, the better. It will take a few days for you to adjust to this new member. Getting used to the feeding and sleep routine will help you in including these new activities.

Think about how to play with a newborn and try different things. Sing, dance, or talk to them. Observe how they respond and pay attention to all the activities. The activities do not have to be scheduled. However, they should not disturb their sleeping and eating time.

How to Play with a Newborn?

If you are confused about how to play with a newborn, here are the 15 best ways to entertain and help them grow in these initial years.

1. Imitate Them

Imitate Them

Have you ever observed an infant between 0-3 months closely? They have a unique expression on their face now and then. With every expression comes a funny and weird noise from their mouth. In the initial months, they try to understand their voice and faces.

Are you wondering about how to play with a newborn through imitation?

Imitating their yawning, smiling, noises, and other actions make them feel seen and heard. They love it when you validate their presence by responding to their actions. It is one of the best activities you can do in the first few weeks of their birth. If your little one has not started smiling, show them your smiling face regularly. They will soon start imitating you and begin giving you a wonderful smile.

2. Mirror Game

Mirror Game

Little ones find it fascinating when they see themselves in a mirror. It can be an adventurous and intriguing activity for them. Use a mirror as a prop to get their attention and help them understand their own body.

Point out the fingers, legs, and other features of the body. Their joy will double when they see you along with them in the mirror. Doing this activity regularly will help them develop their visual senses.

They will learn to identify their body parts, start a conversation with themselves, and identify their tone of voice. You can use the mirror when they are playing, having their tummy time, or simply sitting. Bring home a playful mirror that attracts your little one, and enjoy the majestic game of mirrors. Next time you stumble upon how to play with a newborn, try this activity.

3. Play Hide and Seek

Play Hide and Seek

Hide and Seek is a fun game that we all know about. However, when dealing with your infants, the rules of this game change a little. In this hide-and-seek, you will be the one hiding all the time. Hiding does not mean going into a corner. You need to remain around your kid and hide your face or body with the help of a cloth. You can also cover your face with both hands and pretend you are away.

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As you hide your face, the little one will be curious to know the reason. Call out their name and show your face and suddenly hide it again. These changes of hiding and seeking will give them joy. Moreover, as you call out their name while hiding, they will develop attention and awareness to catch the sounds from their surroundings.

4. Feeling the Textures

Feeling the Textures

Toys play a huge role in helping your infant enhance their senses. The movement of toys helps them understand the visual sense. However, when they touch those toys, it helps in developing their sense of touch.

Different textures help them understand the external world better. You can use different textures from their surroundings and rub them on their arms, legs, or hands in a way that does not harm them.

You can also bring sensory toys that focus on sensory development and textures. This rainbow fabric toy is a wonderful way to help them stimulate their senses. It has 8 different materials and textures to prompt the brain development of your little one. The soft texture and bright colors will instantly make it attractive to them. Use your surroundings next time you think about how to play with a newborn.

5. Read the Stories

Read the Stories

Help your toddler in developing their social and emotional aspects by reading thoughtful stories. They might not fully understand the stories at this age. However, it does impact their development. It will also help improve their language skills as they try to copy the sounds. Use books with amazing pictures and props to help them understand it better.

Baby books with little or no text have beautiful large pictures to keep the attention of your infant hooked to the book. Get creative reading books and narrate the stories to your little one. Some books include stories, lullabies, and many other literary works to bring creativity. Help them fantasize and use their imagination with the help of amazing stories. Keep your book in a way that both of you can see and start your journey.

6. Dance Along

Dance Along

How to play with a newborn? Don’t think much, start dancing with them!

Who doesn’t love dancing? Adults might have a different answer, but all the kids love to dance or watch others dance. Next time when your little one doesn’t stop crying, try dancing in front of them. They might stop crying and watch you out of curiosity. It is a great activity to keep them engaged. Hold them in your hands and dance along to a slow rhythmic song.

To begin with, you can get a dancing toy that helps them understand movements. In the long term, dancing helps in the development of muscle tone, space and body awareness, vision, hearing, and touch. It also helps in developing a good sense of rhythm, form, time, and flow. Gently move their body in different positions to begin this activity.

7. Take a tour

Take a tour.jpg

Imagine you are new to a place, and somebody offers to take you around. Wouldn’t you be excited? The same thing happens with your little one. They are new to this world and observe everything with curiosity. If you are wondering about how to play with a newborn, start by taking them on a tour. Begin with your home and take them to every corner of the house.

Gradually you can extend it to the nearby gardens, malls, and any other places nearby. A simple walk on the road will be enough to keep them entertained. Every aspect of the surroundings is an object of curiosity at this age. Use a baby carrier so that you can keep yourself free to indulge in other activities as you travel.

8. Counting Things

Counting Things

This is the time to begin your baby’s counting journey. You can merge this activity while using the mirror. Help them count their fingers, hands, and legs. Point towards their eyes and count them. It will aid in the identification of the body parts and also build their counting skills. Introduce them to this new concept by counting things around them, like fruits and vegetables.

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Bring home a game that has small beads or objects that can be counted. However, be close to them when they are playing. Small kids have a habit of putting everything in their mouths, and it can be harmful if they swallow something unwanted. This game also helps in identifying different colors.

9. Make it Musical

Make it Musical

Listening to instrumental music or songs will help them develop their listening skills. As they dance along with the music, it will develop a rhythm in their body. It is found that babies who listen to music can speed up the process of learning language and speaking. You can either sing a song for your child or play a radio in the background.

Positive and affirmative prayers will also develop a strong foundation for their mental health in these years. You can bring home musical toys that express themselves by pressing specific buttons. The impact of music has been powerful on humans irrespective of age. It motivates, inspires, and helps us in expressing ourselves better in a creative way. The answer to your question of how to play with a newborn is a musical one!

10. Baby Talk

Baby Talk

Talking to your baby can seem silly at times as they do not fully understand your words. However, they do understand your emotions and energy. Share with them about your daily routine, ask them how they are feeling, and create a connection. They do listen to you and learn how to talk to themselves and others at a later age. You can also use a talking toy that repeats what your little one speaks.

They will slowly capture small words from your conversation and attempt to talk. This is how they learn to talk and understand. They hear every conversation you have around them. Also, talking to them regularly makes them feel seen and loved.

11. Exposing to Different Sounds

Exposing to Different Sounds

Exposing your little one to different kinds of sounds helps in developing their brain. Even before they are born, they start listening to the music that a mother is hearing. They might feel calm when they listen specific kind of sound and get irritated with another tone. When you expose them to different sounds, observe their reactions.

Bring home a toy that emits different sounds to help them grow. You can also play different instruments around them to see their reactions. If you do not have any instrument, create different sounds by using any objects that you have in the surroundings.

12. Body Massage

Body Massage

Are you tired of thinking about how to play with a newborn? Well, let’s keep aside playing and try relaxing them. Massage their whole body and give them a unique experience of a lifetime. Kids love it when you massage their heads, stomachs, hands, legs, and shoulders. You can also use a massager designed for kids.

It is the best way to put them to sleep and relieve any stored gas in the body. Massaging stimulates the left and right brain of the baby. This helps in muscle development and tone in the long term. Use a massage oil with 100% natural ingredients that benefit your baby’s skin.

13. Make Eye Contact

Make Eye Contact

The first thing a baby does when they step into this world is to observe. They do not know how to talk, and thus observing things is the best way to create a connection. In the initial weeks, they keep staring at their caregivers and people around them. It helps in developing the foundation for their social and emotional skills.

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Take some time out of your daily routine to sit and make eye contact with your little one. Instead of thinking about how to play with a newborn, this activity helps in deeply connecting with them. With a soft gaze, stare into your newborn’s eyes and create a connection beyond words.

14. Light Play

Light Play

Light is an external stimulus that helps your baby remain aware and create a connection with the world. Sensory light helps in improving the eye coordination of your infant. It also strengthens the muscles around the eye area. You can use colorful lights for a wonderful playtime.

This fire night light for kids fills the room with the moon and stars. It will keep them curious for the rest of the night as they observe the shining lights on the ceiling. Bring home such amazing lights and spend a joyful time with your little one.

15. Cycling Time

Cycling Time

Cycling helps strengthen the muscles of your infant. In the initial months, you can lay them down on the bed and move their legs in a cyclical movement. This will help strengthen the leg muscles and relieve gas. As they grow up, you can buy a cycle that they can drive around in the home.

This is a wonderful activity if you are thinking about how to play with a newborn. It will develop exercise habits and keep them fit. Make this a fun activity by laughing and talking as you move their legs in a cyclical way so that they don’t get bored and frustrated.

Why is it Crucial to Entertain Your Newborn?

Your little ones learn a lot through play and activities. Think about how to play with a newborn to pave a path for better development during these months. In the initial months, they are exploring environments, learning a language, developing relationships, understanding their senses, and strengthening their motor skills.

The early months are the foundation for your child’s growth. Involving them in such activities will ensure proper brain development. These are the months when they are most receptive. The human brain grows the best in these years due to the newness of activity. Help them in this journey by giving them valuable input and experiences.

You might feel that at this age, all they do is stare, laugh, cry, and move their body. However, you are not aware of the inner story they are building for themselves. Every action on the outside is an input that helps them understand their body and the world.

Create the Best Memories in these Initial Months!

This article answers the most challenging question of how to play with a newborn. It’s time to begin the adventurous journey with your little one now! Feel free to modify and bring a new essence to these activities through your creativity. There are no fixed roles when it comes to play and fun activities, after all!

Don’t forget to capture the memories of this golden time as you play and have fun. Create a book filled with photographs and writings to share with your kids when they grow up. Kids grow up fast, so don’t forget to enjoy this time as you do the activities. Do not make this an extremely serious schedule of teaching your little one. Keep the element of fun and joy in every activity you do!

At the end of the day, it’s all about how much fun you have while learning something. Make your kid understand that from a very early age!

Benjamin Carter
Benjamin Carter

Benjamin Carter, with a Master's in Early Childhood Education from the University of Washington, has dedicated his career to understanding infant and toddler development for over a decade. Joining our team as a freelancer in 2019, he brings knowledge from his previous role as a developmental psychologist at a renowned child research facility. Benjamin's passion for early development is not just professional; he's also a devoted father, an experience that often enriches his insights.

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