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Can babies play too?

  • Even children under 18 months old can play. They do need someone to play with, however. Taking the time to play with very young children helps stimulate their senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell) and allows them to discover their body and environment.
  • From 0 to six months, babies discover their mouths and the sounds they can make. They develop motor skills (using their neck muscles and hand-eye coordination), cognitive abilities (imitating, smiling at others and ensuing reactions) and affective relationships (attachment to the people who tend to their needs).
  • At around six months, grasping objects becomes a source of pleasure. By seeing, hearing, being touched and touching, babies become self-aware.
  • Between six and 18 months, they grow more active and begin to explore their environment on their own. Their fine motor skills are developing, and they increasingly express themselves with actions and cries. This indicates the start of verbal language.
  • Playing with babies can be as simple as imitating the sounds and faces they make, getting close to their face to speak and smile at them, showing them colourful objects and different shapes and textures, making toys “appear and disappear” (permanence of objects), singing lullabies, showing them movement (swinging them in your arms, pedalling their legs, helping them roll, etc.).
  • At around ten months, babies begin piling objects and filling and emptying containers. They especially like playing peek-a-boo and begin to understand the permanence of objects and people.

Sources and useful links

  • FERLAND, Francine. Le jeu chez l’enfant. Questions/réponses pour les parents. Montréal, Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2009. 71 pages.
  • Naître et Grandir : jeu du coucou
  • WARNER, Penny. Baby Play and Learn: 160 Games and Learning Activities for the First Three Years. Meadowbrook, 1999.186 pages.

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Last modified date :
December 16, 2016