In month 8, baby is learning to get around by crawling, rolling or scooting. Their motor skills are improving, and they are beginning to explore their environment. They’re also starting to understand language, and will begin to recognize certain words and their own name. Here are a few games you can play with baby to help develop these skills further — and have tons of fun together.
Ok, this one is a classic, but with good reason: between 4 and 8 months, most babies have started understanding object permanence, which means that they know that an object that disappears from their sight doesn’t cease to exist. So your 8-month-old is at the perfect age to understand that you are “hiding” behind your hands, and reach out to uncover your face to “find” you. And besides, peek-a-boo is easy and fun for parents, too.
You can also introduce endless variations of peek-a-boo to keep baby entertained: popping up from behind the couch, hiding behind furniture, slipping on different silly hats/glasses/props every time you disappear…the list is endless!
2. Reading to a baby
Your 8-month-old is starting to recognize certain familiar words, so now is a great age for baby-parent bonding with story time. Babies are tactile and like to touch, feel (and sometimes throw) objects around them, so consider books with interesting textures and vivid colors.
3. Bing Bang Boom
Ok we’ll admit it, there isn’t really an official name for this one, but the principle is simple: babies are discovering the world around them, and are fascinated by the sounds different objects can make. Your baby is developing their understanding of the world and exploring cause and effect with their experiments, so giving them objects that make interesting sounds — rattles, hollow containers, bells, anything that’s safe for your baby to handle — is fair game for Bing Bang Boom.
4. Obstacle course
8-month-olds can hold their head up, flip over, and are beginning to explore their surroundings, reaching for objects they want to investigate, crawling, rolling, and otherwise figuring out ways to move around. One way to make their explorations interesting — and safe — is to clear an area for them to play in, say a living room rug or a play area, and create an obstacle course, with toys for them to investigate and obstacles such as pillows for them to find their way around.
5. Let there be light
At 8 months, baby is learning to control their environment in small ways: throwing toys, creating sounds with objects, exploring. Hold your baby up to the light switch and let them explore cause and effect by switching the light on and off. This one is a sure crowd-pleaser, but parents may get tired of the game long before baby does, so consider yourself warned.
Curious 8-month-olds love to play, but they do get tired. Make sure you watch out for your baby’s cues that playtime is over: crying, fussing, spit up and general crankiness might mean that it’s time to pack up the toys.