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Games That Encourage Physical Development in Infants

by Eliza Martinez, studioD

Physical development encompasses your infant's motor skills, which are those that require him to move his body. Babies develop at different rates, so avoid comparing your little one to his siblings or your friend's baby. However, games that promote physical development help keep your infant on track with his individual growth.

Reaching and Grabbing

Letting your baby reach for objects helps develop the muscles in his upper and lower body. Hang a mobile over his crib and let him watch it while you dress him or change his diaper. Lay your baby on a blanket and dangle brightly colored or highly contrasted toys over his head. Or, place him on his tummy with a toy in front of him that's just out of reach. Allow him to try to grab the toys, but let him succeed on occasion. Once he grabs a toy, he develops his fine motor skills by exploring it with his hands.

Hiding Games

While your infant isn't ready for a game of traditional hide and seek, a modified version encourages to him to move his body as he looks for a hidden toy or person. This strengthens bones and muscles and improves motor skills. Show your baby a favorite toy and then hide it under a blanket or box. Allow him to remove the item from underneath its hiding place. You can also hide yourself under a blanket and allow him to pull it off and find you. Let your baby cover himself with a blanket and then seek him out.

Exercising Games

Helping your baby move his body is entertaining for him and an easy way to build his physical skills. Lay your baby on his back and cycle his legs as if he's pedaling a bike. Help your baby raise his arms over his head and back down again. Give him a gentle nudge if he gets close to rolling over. Show him how to use the coffee table to pull himself to standing. Sing songs while you play these games to make them more entertaining for your little one.

Music Games

Babies enjoy toys that make noise because they are fun, but they also promote an understanding of cause and effect. Your baby has to actively engage with the toys to produce music, which encourages him to move his entire body. Let your little one bang on pots and pans with a wooden spoon, tap the keys of a plastic piano with his fingers and toes, shake plastic maracas or beat a drum with his hands. Try tapping out a rhythm and see if he can mimic it, or copy a pattern he produces on his instrument.

About the Author

Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.

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