"My little girl just turned one and she loves to clap her hands, dance and sing," says Circle of Moms member Karen L. "She loves playing with buttons on people's clothes and taking everything out of my purse...and she loves climbing on the couch and getting off. It's just awesome to watch her play."
Playtime is a very special time for babies, an opportunity to learn new skills, explore their imagination and creativity, and learn about their relationships with other people. As a mom, you are one of your child's first playmates. But rather than be daunted by that aspect of early motherhood, consider that almost any activity where you engage with your baby can easily become playful, even if it is simply rolling a sock with her while you are doing the laundry. As Karen L. says, "just enjoy and embrace the simple ways your baby plays."
To get you started, below are five great suggestions from members on easy ways to encourage your baby's playful side.
1. Incorporate Play into Everyday Activities
Every activity you do with your baby can be considered play. Many Circle of Moms members say that even when you are changing a diaper and singing to your baby, he is studying your face and listening to your voice, which are a baby's way of learning and exploring, and these things are the fundamentals of play. You can play "peek-a-boo" when you are feeding a baby or changing his diaper, says Jennifer M. "I love the way it makes her laugh and smile." Sam B. considers bath time to be a great opportunity for play: "My baby loves to be in the bath tub and play around with the bubbles," she says.
2. Play Hiding and Tickling Games
Sarah T. says ticking is a tried-and-true baby favorite that always makes them laugh. Marie E.'s baby "loves to crawl and follow me around," and she'll up the ante by hiding behind the chair or putting a blanket over her face. And Mandy W. spins games of "follow me" into hide and seek with her 10-month-old: "I will hide behind a door with the lights off and she'll come and push the door open, see me then laugh real hard and try to crawl away fast."
3. Sing Together
There's something about the all-star classic characters like Sesame Street's Big Bird and Elmo that make babies smile. Avaria S.'s daughter is "really into singing and dancing" so she encourages her by watching Elmo together and singing his songs.
4. Let Your Child Lead
Jennifer S. has found that store-bought toys are often beside the point at this age. Her son far prefers to take everything out of her purse, and to laugh when she makes faces at him. Andrea A. has also discovered that the activities that fascinate her son most are simple: "My boy absolutely loves stacking rings and blocks and playing with balls," says Andrea A. "He likes story time but insists that he will turn the pages and is often more interested in doing that than looking at the pictures...He is also for some strange reason fascinated with owls at the moment and gets super excited about watching a You-tube video of a barn owl vocalizing."
There's no one right way to play. Instead, let your child explore, try simple toys and props to engage him, and take your cues from his laughter.
What are some creative ways you play with your baby?
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.