All the standard baby games we play with our babies are not just fun and games. They serve a very important purpose in a baby's development. Simple baby games like peek-a-boo, pat-a-cake and This Little Piggy teach children that the world is a safe place, teach hand to eye coordination and teach increased body awareness.
Here are a few simple, favorite baby games that have been around for ages, along with an explanation of some of the things they teach baby:
Peek-A-Boo: Playing peek-a-boo is not just something that will make your baby smile, coo and laugh, although it will certainly do that, too. Playing peek-a-boo teaches your baby something very important. By playing peek-a-boo, your baby learns that just because he or she cannot see something or someone, that does not mean the object or person does not still exist or is not still nearby. Baby also learns that, just because something or someone is gone temporarily, that does not mean the object or person will not return. These lessons become especially important when baby hits around nine months of age. At around nine months, babies may begin to experience separation anxiety. They may begin to fear that, when mommy or daddy leaves, he or she is not coming back. Playing peek-a-boo during baby's early, formative months helps baby to learn that, although mommy and daddy sometimes have to leave, they will always be coming back. This can also be played by hiding one of baby's favorite toys under a blanket, and then revealing the toy.
Pat-A-Cake: If you have never played pat-a-cake with a baby before, this one is fun and easy. Simply hold baby's hands in your own and clap them together while singing, "Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man, bake me a cake as fast as you can." Then move on to the second verse. While circling baby's hands around each other (kind of like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever), sing, "Pat it and roll it and mark it with a B." Now, for the big finish. While singing, "Then throw it in the oven for baby and me!" Emphasis is on the word "throw" while gently flinging baby's hands out to the side in a throwing motion. This game teaches baby to clap and also teaches hand to eye coordination.
This Little Piggy: This Little Piggy is a fun, tickling game. Starting with baby's big toe, wiggle it gently and move from toe to toe while reciting, "This little piggy went to the market, this little piggy stayed home, this little piggy had roast beef for supper, this little piggy had none, and THIS little piggy cried, 'Wee, wee, wee!' all the way home!" Babies absolutely love this game and you will surely get lots of laughs and giggles. In addition, babies, who are now quickly becoming aware of their hands, will have the opportunity to discover their feet and toes.
Another hint when playing baby games: At times, when you stop playing the game, you may notice your baby lean forward or toward you. Experts say this is your baby's way of asking you to play the game again. When you respond by repeating the game, experts believe this helps baby gain confidence in his or her communication skills.