One of the best and most unique ways to play with your newborn baby will be through games of response to stimuli, in which you must show several objects and sensations, and wait for their reactions. And, yes- being stunned staring into another person’s eyes is considered a reaction.
Before having children of my own I always felt a little uncomfortable when I had to spend time with the little ones at family gatherings. I really wanted to play with them or keep them entertained if my friends needed it, but I did not really know how to do it.
It turns out that entertaining a child is not that difficult once you learn some tricks that depend on age.
The following games will let you know how to entertain a baby
Less than a year: Babies just want to see your face or be in your arms
If you have the opportunity to hold a baby, there is not much to think about. If the baby seems sleepy or does not pay attention to him, simply hug him with his head on his shoulder or arm. Moving a bit is an extra. Walk a little, use a rocking chair if you have it on hand or gently lift it.
If the baby is awake, look for a position in the lap where he can see your face and simply speak or sing. You don’t know what to say? Recite the letters of the alphabet. For more entertainment, you can move your hands while speaking or touching your nose with yours.
From 0 to 3 years old: Little children love boogey jokes
For this age group, you need to work a little harder. Young children are used to seeing adults talking, but having fun is easier than it seems.
- Put something ridiculous in your head. For some reason, this is very funny.
- It establishes an absurd cause-effect relationship. Every time you touch your foot make a funny noise.
- Stack things like toys or cubes and then knock down the tower. It is likely that the baby wants to do it himself.
- Move your fingers like a spider and tickle him as you say: “Uuuuhhh! The tickle spider goes for you “or something like that.
Obviously, you will not use the tickle trick with every child you encounter. It is likely (and very normal) that the baby mistrusts you. Make the spider with your hand but on yourself. Sometimes young children do not want to participate in games, just enjoy the show. The same applies to all of the above with variations. Maybe they want to take down the tower or want a stuffed animal to do it. Pretending that you have not seen how he has fallen and turning around to discover him very outraged gives extra points.
There are more tricks that are instant successes, at least in my limited experience, but they require some planning. If you know how to juggle, do it without hesitation. Babies are still trying to understand how physics works and juggling fascinates them. Soap bubbles also tend to entertain them for a long time.
From 3 to 8 years old: Children of this age are already able to listen (and tell) stories
Until now we were dealing with children who still do not pay attention for a long time, but that completely changes here. At this age, they are perfectly capable of following a story, be it one that you tell or one that you have seen on television. Here are some things you can do:
- Read them a book: you can stop and ask them what they think will happen or point out funny elements of the drawings.
- Teach them a game on the mobile: the simpler, the better. Angry Birds or running games are a classic, but a young child can spend hours entertaining with just Snapchat filters.
- Dance and sing with them: This works almost universally. Give them their favorite music (ask their parents what it is) or look for some children’s melody on the Internet and sing and dance with them. Even your favorite music can serve.
At this age, children also already have a favorite television series and finding out what it is is not a very difficult task. If you see your nephew appear slippers with the Patrol Canine a T-shirt Patrol Canine and backpack Patrol Canine probably who loves it. However, the question: “Do you like the dog patrol?” Will not take you very far. Instead, ask for the name of a character and what he or she does.
With a handful of questions, it is very likely that you get the child to tell you an entire episode, probably mixed with several other episodes and things imagined. The latter is perfectly normal. If you really want to have an advantage in the game and be your favorite uncle, read first in Google about the series to be able to ask more specific questions. If you’re lucky it’s a remake, you can tell your favorite stories about characters like X-Men, Batman or sagas like Star Wars.
From nine years old and up: older children look a lot like you
At this age, each child has already developed their own tastes or interests. It is likely that they already have a favorite sport, a video game that fascinates them or books that devour.
This means that you should have a lot of things in common beyond the hobby. How about at school? Try asking them about the last movie they have seen or the last book they have read. You can also get something you like, like a video game, and ask them what they think.
If you want to play more actively instead of just talking, try one of these activities:
- Play something live: Things like the hangman, guess the movie or the improvised Pictionary work very well (keep the level moderately low, which is not about trying to guess Battleship Potemkin) If you have a board game by hand it can be a very good choice too.
- Encourage them to cook or do any other activity in which the boss sits, from decorating a cake to serving food in a creative way.
- Share the funniest videos on YouTube: it’s very likely that you both discover something new.
Children of this age seem extraterrestrial if you are not used to dealing with them, but if you make a small effort to get to know them you will discover that you have a lot in common.
Keep in mind that in some cases, what is valid for one age group can sometimes be valid for another. It is difficult to establish limits to one activity or another based on age. Simply adapt to your interests and ability.
You can also play with different age groups at the same time. Ask the three-year-old nephews, for example, to teach you how to play with their little sister, or get the youngest child to teach one of their games to the older one. Before you know it, they’ll be dead laughing with you.