To help with your baby’s development milestones in the first year, we’ve got a variety of infant games and activities that encourage brain development up until your baby’s first birthday.
Infant Games: Month 1
In the first month, your infant will learn how to control some movements, like head control and visual tracking.
- Looking. Give your baby new vantage points by holding them against your chest, facing over your shoulder. Support their head gently, but firmly, while they experience the world around them.
- Imitation. When your baby is quiet and alert, observe what they do, then imitate their actions like a little copycat. This should spark your baby’s interest.
Infant Games: Month 2
At 2 months old, your infant is mostly focused on physical sensations like the feel of their blanket or the texture of a toy.
- Hide and seek. Pop a stuffed animal or puppet out from behind your back or the side of the crib like peek-a-boo. Soon, your baby may start looking for it, delighted when it jumps out.
- Walks. Weather permitting, try to establish a daily walk with your baby to introduce them to new sensations.
Infant Games: Month 3
In the third month, your baby will show improved head control and core strength and even begin to recognize the breast or bottle.
- Rattles. Give your little one a soft toy rattle and show them how to shake it to make a noise. They may not become a rock star, but these types of infant games help with their communication and motor skills.
- Pitches and voices. Try to discover the pitches and rhythms your baby enjoys like high-pitches, breathy voices, or singsong tones. Sure, you’ll feel silly, but that’s part of the fun. While experimenting with different cadences, make note of what makes your little one turn toward you.
Infant Games: Month 4
At 4 months old, your baby has good head control and can likely roll or reach for objects. They’ll enjoy laughing and will engage with more infant development games.
- Sensory. A great way to stimulate your baby’s senses is to give them soft toys of different textures. Or let them sniff a piece of fruit or light perfume. Playing music is another fun option to get your baby’s limbs going.
Infant Games: Month 5
Being social. Baby dates! Socialize your little one with other babies. Let them look at each other, smile, make sounds, and reach out.
Infant Games: Month 6
At 6 months old, your little one can transfer objects from one hand to the other. And, to their mouth, of course, since everything’s edible at this stage.
- Sitting up. Build on your baby's more developed physical control by sitting them up, unsupported. Surround them with pillows to cushion their tumbles and rolls. Of course, always keep an eye on your baby.
Infant Games: Month 7
Picture books Read picture books to your baby to stimulate their imagination. The repetition helps them learn as they begin to anticipate what comes next. Letting them hold books encourages them to participate in the story. And, a chance to eat the delicious book.
Infant Games: Month 8
- Standing. Develop early motor skills by lifting your baby to a standing position and letting them dance, bounce, and get their groove on.
- Packing. Put some toys in a container and show your baby how to take things out and put them back in.
Infant Games: Month 9
By 9 months, your baby’s early expressive language skills begin to develop.
- Gestures. Use some simple "sign language," like waving and shaking your head yes or no. If your baby uses the gestures, explore other “signs” to learn together.
- Routines. Set up bedtime, bath time, and feeding routines. This will help your little one learn what will happen next, and hopefully—fingers crossed—help them get to sleep easier.
Infant Games: Month 10
- Playing pretend. Help exercise your baby’s brain and language skills through imaginative play. Have a tea party. Build a sand castle. Anything is possible!
- Walking. Let your baby hold your fingers and try to walk, giving them little praises and encouragement as they master those steps.
Infant Games: Month 11
- Story time. Reading with dramatic voices and sounds can be a fun way to engage with your baby. It’s also a fun way to give story time a little theater. You can let your baby turn the pages when they’re ready.
- Push toys. Offer your little one a push toy, like a play vacuum or lawn mower. Even if they’re not walking yet, it’s a no-pressure way to begin.
Infant Games: Month 12
At 12 months old, your baby can pull themselves up to stand and might even take steps without support or follow simple directions. They’re well on their way!
- Memory. Help your baby strengthen their memory by watching videos of family events, or by looking through photos of their own precious face.
- ABCs. ry a new letter of the alphabet every week. You can cut out letters or shape them with foods. Try guiding their hand to draw the letter with finger paint.
Now you’ve got a whole year of infant developmental games to enjoy with your baby. Have fun! Also, here are some ways to help build your baby’s focus.