Games for older babies

As your baby gets older they will still enjoy the games you’ve already been playing – carry on talking to your baby, imitating their sounds, enjoying nursery rhymes together. See Play @ Home Baby for some nursery rhyme ideas.
Musical Instruments
Gather some musical instruments – or you can fill bottles and tubs with pasta, rice, sand, dried peas/beans – and sir facing baby with the instruments or shakers inbetween you.
Play or shake one gently. Talk about the noises they make. Play them louder or quieter and talk about the differences. Make short sounds and long sounds – and talk about the difference.
Help baby to make a sound too and talk about the noises they make – ‘wow, that’s a noisy/quiet/long/short sound.
Pots, pans and wooden spoons also make excellent musical instruments!
In and out
You’ll have noticed that your baby loves emptying everything including bags, drawers, and toyboxes. Turn this into a game you can both play.
Fill a large box or bowl with safe, interesting objects, these could be toys such as blocks, small soft toys, rattles or household items like wooden spoons and measuring cups. Help your baby pick up the container and turn it upside down, then fill the container up again together.
Handling different objects will help them learn about size, shape and weight – as long as you’re there to talk about these things! As baby gets older, it’s also a great way to introduce concepts such as big and small, empty and full.
What’s in the bag?
Put 3 or 4 objects that feel or look different in a bag or pillowcase. Babies use their mouths to explore so make sure you choose things that are safe for them to chew. Take one thing out, show it to baby, and talk about how it looks, feels, smells. Let your baby reach for it, mouth it and hold it if they can.
Sound Effects
Babies love hearing words that sound like they mean – words like whoosh, pop, wheee, rustle – these are often the first words they pick up.
Try singing the classic nursery rhyme, “Pop Goes the Weasel”, but make the most of the element of surprise with sound effects and actions. Start out softly and slowly: “Half a pound of tu’penny rice, half a pound of treacle, that’s the way the money goes…”, pause….then raise your voice to finish: “Pop! Goes the weasel.”
Your baby will make noises back to you – copy their noises and leave plenty of time for them to make more!
Where’s my teddy?
Take a favourite teddy and put it inside a small fabric bag (not a plastic bag as these are dangerous for your baby if left lying around). Next, put the bag into a larger bag or box, repeating the process until there are at least five layers of wrapping around the teddy.
Put the parcel in front of your baby and ask, “Where’s your teddy?” While she’s watching, open the first box or bag, take out the next, and ask, “Is your teddy in here?” Keep going until you open the last layer in front of your baby, exclaiming, “Here’s your teddy!” Watch her expression of surprised delight, and let her make a grab for the teddy if she likes.
Chatterbox Too
As your child gets older they will begin to make lots of new and different sounds – make these into a game by copying their sounds and giving lots of praise when you hear them.
They will begin to produce strings of babble and soon be having a go at some single words – if you know the word baby is trying to say, say the adult word for them to hear, eg if they say ‘doo’ for juice, you say ‘yes, juice’ and praise them.
Provide the words for their ‘story’ – if they hear the car in the drive and point to the window – you say ‘yaay, mummy’s home!’
Hide & Seek
This is a variation on ‘peek-a-boo’. Clear a space for you and your toddler, away from toys and other distractions. Make sure your child is watching you as you cover yourself with a light blanket or tablecloth. Ask, “Where did Mummy/Daddy go?” – wait while your toddler has a search around. When the time’s right, you can pop up like a jack-in-the-box, exclaiming, “Here I am!.” Pause and wait…..until your toddler lets you know they want to do it again.
After a while, your toddler will be ready to do the hiding – cover them loosely with the blanket. Say “Where’s Emily? Where could she be?” Gently lift the edge of the blanket, say “What’s this? Oh, it’s Emily’s arm!”) before finally whisking it off completely and saying, “Found you!” . Wait….and she’ll let you know she wants to do it again.
Books on board
Looking at books is a great quiet time activity to do together.
Make reading more interactive by pointing things out in the pictures: “This is a big dog, just like Granny’s dog.” Or, “There’s the baby’s nose. And here’s your nose!” You can also let your toddler be the pointer, as you ask him, “Where’s the moon?” or “Can you point to the green ball?” but remember to make more comments than questions – that way they’ll hear lots of new words as you read together.
Your baby might enjoy turning the pages themselves. Don’t worry if they turn them before you’ve finished reading the sentence or if they want to read the last page first – let them go at their own pace. The important thing is that they enjoy story time, even if it means you only read bits and pieces of the story. They’ll stay interested longer if you follow their lead.
You can make your own books by putting family photos in an album to look at together; take pictures of walks or trips to the park and add these in – make up a story to go with the pictures as you look through them – ‘here’s your big sister, she’s at school, she’ll be home soon’,etc.
Bag of tricks
Your handbag is filled with things that fascinate your toddler: keys, phone, cards, etc. Keep your toddler happy with their very own bag.
Find an old handbag and fill it with a variety of things eg an old purse; hairbrush, key ring with some old keys; a little notebook; handbag mirror, etc. Just make sure all the items are big enough so that your toddler can’t swallow or choke on them or otherwise hurt herself with them.
Take the bag along to your next doctor or dentist appointment, and give it to your toddler when they start to get fidgety. As they explore each item, tell them what they are and what they’re for, eg, “You found mum’s purse. Mum keeps her pennies in her purse”.
You can extend this game by introducing teddy or dolly or other soft toy – show baby how to use the items on the toy and talk about what you’re doing – ‘you’re brushing dolly’s hair’.
Blocks away!
Babies love building – building games help with coordination and provide a great opportunity to develop talking.
All you need are some blocks of any shape, design, or colour (if you have them on hand, soft blocks are best for this activity, since they may go flying)
Join your toddler on the floor with a pile of blocks. As you stack one on top of the other, talk about what you’re doing, use descriptive language like “I’m building a really tall tower” or “Let’s put this green block on top of the red one”.
Now comes the best part: knocking them all down! Knock over the tower and say something like “Timber!” or “Fall down!” before starting the whole process over again.