There’s a lot that’s new about parenting these days. After all, your mom couldn’t just check out an app when she wanted to get step-by-step instructions for swaddling or remember how a certain nursery rhyme goes. But there’s also a lot that hasn’t changed, and that’s just fine. These five classic games that your mom probably played with you when you were a baby are still fabulous fun and great learning tools for your little one. They really are oldies but goodies!
Patty Cake (or Pat-a-Cake)
Surely you know this one by heart ... but when’s the last time you considered the benefits it provides for your baby’s hand-eye coordination? Take baby’s two hands in yours and clap them together gently (the game can be played while baby is lying down or sitting in your lap) while saying the “Patty Cake” rhyme. Eventually baby will be able to clap on his own.
Lessons learned: Rhythm, coordination, spatial awareness.
Another familiar routine with important lessons baked in! Hold your hands up in front of your face, hide behind a book or pillow, or duck behind a table or chair. Then remove whatever is in front of your face – or pop up from where you’ve been hiding – saying “Peek-a-boo! I see you!” Your baby will be fascinated to see you reappear. Eventually she’ll be able to put her hands in front of her face and start hiding and then reappearing, too, with lots of giggles.
Lessons learned: Things exist even when you can’t see them. And Mommy may go away briefly, but she’ll always come back.
The question here is, “How big is baby?” The answer: “So big!” And while you’re saying “So big,” hold your baby’s hands and spread her arms wide. Eventually you can lift your own arms high and let your baby imitate what you’re doing.
Lesson learned: Body awareness.
What Does the Cow Say?
Ask, “What does the cow say?” and then make an exaggerated mooing sound. Repeat with other animals. Your baby will start trying to make those sounds too.
Lesson learned: Imitating sounds—a step toward learning to talk.
Where’s Your Nose?
Ask, “Where’s Your Nose?” and then after a short pause, say, “There it is!” while gently touching baby’s nose. After a few times you can move on to other body parts. You can also say, “Where’s Mommy’s Nose?” and then touch your own nose. Eventually baby will start joining in and pointing to the appropriate body parts.
Lessons learned: Identifying body parts, learning about self and others.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.