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Baby Games, Songs and Finger Plays

April 26, 2017|Posted in: Uncategorized

Games to Play with Baby

Baby loves attention!  He loves to play games and she loves to sing songs and it’s no surprise that they do, because it is so very good for them.  From the minute they’re born (actually, even before they’re born) parents and loved ones should begin to engage them in conversations and loving interactions.  Even the teeny, tiny littlest ones begin to learn healthy social skills, language and motor development when we talk and sing to them and interact with them through play.

I imagine there are a few people who don’t interact with their babies as much as they should, reasoning that they can’t talk and they don’t understand much of what is spoken or is going on.  But that is oh so, so far from the truth.  Those little guys and gals understand so much more than we give them credit for and their little brains are learning and developing and soaking in knowledge and experiences like sponges!  So get busy, talk to your little one, play with him, sing her songs, even if they don’t yet understand, because that is how they will learn.  Have a wonderful time and create a precious bond that will last a lifetime!

25 Baby Games, Songs and Finger Plays

Rock-a-Bye Baby

We’ll start with one for the tinyest of tinys.  Gently rock baby back and forth while you softly sing this song.  I have the sweetest memories of my parents sweetly singing this to their grandchildren and I have rocked every one of my grand babies to sleep many times while singing Rock-a-Bye-Baby!

Rock-a-Bye-Baby

One the treetop

When the wind blows

The cradle will rock

When the bow bends

The cradle will fall

And down will come baby

Cradle and all.

I’ve heard it suggested that this is a violent song about baby falling from a tree and of course I can’t for the life of me imagine what they were doing in their cradle in a tree!?  I solve this problem by suspending my imagination with regard to the cradle in the tree and by imagining a light and gentle breeze and the cradle gently sliding (falling) down the bent bow to arrive safely on the ground.

Peek-a-Boo (game)

Almost all tiny tots LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this game, even when they grow into toddlers!  So hide behind your hands and say with excitement, “Where did Mommy go?”  Put your hands down and exclaim, “Here she is” or “Peek-a-Boo!!”  Add variety to the game by lightly covering babies eyes or putting their own hands over their eyes and saying things like, “where did baby go?”  “Uh oh, Baby/Mommy’s all gone”  and “A Boo!”

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (song and finger play)

When my niece was three years old she proudly showed her mom 3 fingers and then asked how old mommy was.  My sister flashed two sets of ten and then five fingers.  My little niece looked at her like she was crazy, laughed at her silliness, and said, “No!  That’s Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star!”

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star! (flash 10 fingers 2X)

How I wonder what you are.  (flash 10 fingers 2X)

Up above the world so high! (Point upward moving arm side to side 2X)

Like a diamond in the sky!  (Point upward moving arm side to side 2X)

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star! (flash 10 fingers 2X)

How I wonder what you are.  (flash 10 fingers 2X)

 

Itsy Bitsy Spider (song and finger play)

The itsy bitsy spider, went up the water spout. (thumb & forefingers together, moving back & forth and upward)

Down came the rain and washed the spider out! (Bring arms down with fingers going up & down like raindrops)

Out came the sun and dried up all the rain! (Arms in big circle over head, sway from side to side)

And the itsy, bitsy spider, went up the spout again! (thumb & forefingers together, moving back & forth and upward)

Practice Walking (game)

When baby is strong enough to support his head and back himself you can hold his hands and encourage his to take steps by very gently pulling on alternating arms.  This is usually an instinctual movement so your little one shouldn’t have too much trouble.  They usually love this game and it helps them build strong muscles for when it’s time to learn to walk.  As they get a little older they will love to go faster and pretend they are chasing someone!

Snuggle, Crawl and Wrestle (game)

Lay on the floor with baby and hold them above you, move them from side to side, bring them closer to you for kisses and snuggles.  As they get older they can crawl over you too.  For safety’s sake be sure you keep it gentle!

Repeat After Me (game)

Somewhere between four to six months babies begin to babble.  You can help them with their developing language skills by making sounds that they can repeat.  Good ones to start with are, “da, da, da, da,” “ma, ma, ma, ma,” and “ba, ba, ba, ba.”  Be paitent and keep playing the game.  Eventually your mini me will begin to repeat the sounds!

What’s on Your Head? (game)

Place a soft toy or small blanket on top of baby’s head.  Watch the wheels turn as they try to figure out what’s up there and how to reach for it.  Clap and say “yay!” when he pulls it down.  When the object falls down, act surprised, laugh and repeat.  Make sure you let baby hold and see the object so they don’t get frustrated.

Cheerio Pick Up (game)

Around six to nine months your munchkin will begin to develop the fine motor skills to pick things up between their fingers and thumbs.  Help them practice by putting them in a high chair and letting them feed themselves!  It’ll keep them busy for quite some time.

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes (song with movements)

It’s fun to sing this song over and over again, going faster each time until it becomes nonsense and you can’t keep up with the pointing!

Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes (point to each body part as you say them)

Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toe-0-00s (point to each body part as you say them)

Eyes, and ears and mouth and nose  (point to each body part as you say them)

Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toe-0-00s (point to each body part as you say them)

10 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed (song with fingerplay)

I like to mix this song up by changing the genders – “one fell off and bumped his/her head,”  “mommy/daddy called the doctor”

Ten (9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1) little monkeys, jumping on the bed (hold up appropriate number of fingers and hands go up and down)

One fell off (clap hands together) and bumped his head (touch hand to head)!

Mommy called the doctor (make hand into telephone and hold to ear)

and the doctor said, “No more monkeys jumping on the bed!” (wag finger up and down)!

(Repeat until you get to zero)  No more monkeys jumping on the bed!!

Pat-a-Cake (finger play)

For this game the grown-up takes baby’s hands and moves them to the motions.  Did you know that clapping hands together is a skill that babies don’t usually master until around 9 to 11 months old?

Pat-a-cake, Pat-a-cake, Baker Man (clap hands together 4X)

Bake me a cake as fast as you can! (clap hands together 4X)

Pat it and roll it (roll hands around and around each other)

and mark it with “first letter of baby’s name” (trace letter in the air)

and THROW it in the over for “baby’s name” and me!! (throw both hands into the air!)

If You’re Happy and You Know It (song with actions)

This fun song will cheer a grumpy little one right up!

If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands! (clap 2X)

If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands! (clap 2X)

If you’re happy and you know it, your face will surely show it!

If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands! (clap 2X)

Repeat three times substituting the following for the words “clap your hands”

Stomp your feet! (stomp 2X)

Shout hooray! (shout HOO-RAY)

Do all three! (clap 2X, stomp 2X, shout HOO-RAY!)

 

Follow the Leader (game)

Little ones learn by watching and mimicing those who are older.  Play this game by making simple movements and encouraging baby to follow you by doing the same thing.  Do things like – stick out your tongue, smack your hand on the table, blink your eyes, move your head from side to side, etc.

Where are Your Eyes? (game)

Teach baby what the parts of their body are called by pointing to them and clearly saying each one – nose, mouth, eyes, hair.  Eventually, baby will be old enough to point them selves when you ask, “where are your eyes?”  As they get older you can also add other body parts – neck, chin, cheeks, arms, tummy and so on.

One Little, Two Little, Three Little Native Americans (song with finger play)

I changed the words from “Indians” to “Native Americans.”  It makes the song politically correct and just a little bit awkward to sing as you’ll have to squeeze those words in there quickly.  Of course we should all teach our children that this song is simply about how Native American children might have traveled historically and is not meant to stereotype or mock children in any way.

One little, two little, three little Native Americans (hold up the correct number of fingers as you say each numeral)

Four little, five little, six little Native Americans, (hold up the correct number of fingers as you say each numeral)

Seven little, eight little, nine little Native Americans, (hold up the correct number of fingers as you say each numeral)

Ten little Native American Boys/Girls. (hold up the correct number of fingers as you say each numeral)

Put them in a boat and they’ll go sailing (cup hands together and move like a boat on water)

Put them in a boat and they’ll go sailing (cup hands together and move like a boat on water)

Put them in a boat and they’ll go sailing (cup hands together and move like a boat on water)

Ten little Native American Boys/Girls.

ABCs

My two and a half year old grandson has a tablet with a few games on it that he can play when he’s riding in the car or waiting at the table in a resturant.  To our amazement one day he just started pointing at random letters on papers and signs and naming them correctly!  He had learned his letters all by himself by playing with his tablet.  So it is never too early to expose the little ones to the alphabet.  Even the tinyest baby can find joy in the tune and begin to become familar with the letter names.  Make sure you speak the letters slowly and seperately (especially “J, K” and “L, M, N, O, P.”)

A, B, C, D,

E, F, G,

H, I, J, K,

L, M, N, O, P,

Q, R, S,

T, U, V,

W, X

Y and Z

Now, I know my ABCs!

Next time won’t you sing with me!

 

Ring Around the Rosie (song with motions)

This is another classic that the little kiddos Love.  You can play it holding tiny babies in your arms or holding hands with bigger babies that can toddle.

Ring around the rosies (hold hands and turn in circles)

Pocket full of posies (hold hands and turn in circles)

ashes, ashes (hold hands and turn in circles)

We all fall down! (fall gently to the ground)

If you don’t like the morbid origins of this song (the babies don’t know what the words mean) you can substitute these words instead. If you don’t know about the songs origins you can google it.

Turn around in circles (hold hands and turn in circles)

Round and round we go (hold hands and turn in circles)

dizzy, dizzy (hold hands and turn in circles)

We all fall down! (fall gently to the ground)

What Does a Cow Say? (game)

This is another one that our little darlings seem to simply LOVE!  For tiny babies ask, “What does the cow say?” and you provide the answer “The cow says moo!”  As they get older they can supply the answers themselves.  Here are some other animals you can use in place of cow: “sheep – baa, goat – maa, duck – quack, horse – neigh, pig – oink, hen – cluck, rooster -cock-a-doodle-do, frog – ribbit, mouse – squeek, cat – meow, dog – woof,

Old McDonald (song with animal sounds)

This is a fun song to sing with the animals sounds.  Sometimes we get silly and add monkeys and tigers and such!

Old MacDonald, had a farm!

E-I-E-I-O

And on his farm he had a cow!

E-I-E-I-O

With a Moo-Moo here and a Moo-Moo there

Everywhere a Moo-Moo

Old MacDonald had a farm

E-I-E-I-O

Continue singing substuting “cow” and “moo” with all of the above animals and their sounds!

This Little Piggy (rhyme with actions)

Babies love discovering their toes and this is a super fun way to entertain them!

This little piggy went to market (gently tug their big toe)

This little piggy stayed home (gently tug their 2nd toe)

This little piggy had roast beef (gently tug their middle toe)

This little piggy had none! (gently tug their 4th toe)

And this little piggy cried wee, wee, wee, all the way home! (say in a silly squeeky voice while gently tugging baby toe)

Ride a Horsey (game)

When baby can support her own head and neck place the stradle accross your knee, like you’d ride a horse.  Hold their hands and bounce up and down while you say, “Ride a horsey, Ride a horsey!”  My 2 year old grandson likes it when I do this with his 9 month old sister.  He insists that I change horsey to “cow” or “pig” etc.!

Blow Out the Lights (game)

This is one for the bigger of the little bittys.  Have them blow toward the lights and as they do, you flip the light switch on and off.  G4 learned this from his other Grandma and thought it was a super fun game!  Be prepared to play this game over and over as they laugh and giggle and learn about cause and effect.  Don’t worry, they’ll quickly figure out that it’s the switch that causes the light to go on and off and their blowing that causes you to flip that switch!

Teensy Mousey, Teensy Mousey (game)

This is a fun and gentle tickle game that’s sure to get a laugh.

Teensy Mousey, Teensy Mousey (say slowly as you creep your fingers up their arm toward their chin)

Teensy Mousey, Teensy Mousey (say slowly as you creep your fingers up their arm toward their chin)

All the way to Grandma’s Housey!!  (say quickly as you move your fingers up to tickle them under the chin)

Scat the Cat (game)

This is a fun game to teach older babies their colors.   It’s a set of cards with cats of all different colors and one cat that is a rainbow of colors.  Start by showing baby the picture of the rainbow colored cat while you chant these words:

Scat the Cat (alternate clapping hands together and on your knees)

Sassy & Fat  (alternate clapping hands together and on your knees)

If you don’t like his colors  (alternate clapping hands together and on your knees)

You can change them like that! (clap loader on the word that)

Turn over the next card to reveal a color and ask baby to name the color.  Be sure to help her if she isn’t sure and then repeat the chant for each different colored cat card.

Coming Soon – purchase your very own Scat the Cat game here for just $2.00.  Check back in a day or two and this will be up and ready.

Games, Songs and Finger Pays

Activities for Baby

You might also enjoy reading Baby Talk.

Here are some related products from Amazon that you might like.  Just click on the photo or the description to be redirected to Amazon where you can purchase the products.

Gund Peek-A-Boo Teddy Bear Animated Stuffed Animal

This Little Piggy: And Other Favorite Action Rhymes

Old Macdonald: A Hand-Puppet Board Book (Little Scholastic)

Baby Einstein – Playtime Music Box (Jewel)

Playskool Play Favorites Busy Poppin’ Pals

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9 Comments

  1. Grammy Dee
    April 27, 2017

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    Great post! Thank you for attending the #WednesdayAIMLinkParty. I shared your post on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Twitter.

  2. Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
    April 30, 2017

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    Thanks for linking up with these lovely ideas at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. I will be trying these out with my Grandson. I’ve shared your post on Social Media and have a great week!

  3. Grammy Dee
    April 30, 2017

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    Thank you Lori for linking up and co-hosting at the #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. I shared this post on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Twitter.

  4. Carol ("Mimi")
    May 1, 2017

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    Love this post! I’m a retired music educator, and I can’t begin to tell you how many research studies I’ve read over the years that point out the beneficial cognitive development effects of singing songs with finger play during infancy and childhood. Thanks for sharing at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. I’ve shared your post on social media.

  5. Amanda
    May 1, 2017

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    I can say, I’ve never heard of the blow out the lights game… I will be playing that with my sisters baby when he/she arrives and is old enough xoxo
    How fun, I found your blog over at #fdflinkparty! So glad I did!
    ~Amanda

  6. Clearissa
    May 1, 2017

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    This article is great! I just wish I still had grandchildren young enough to benefit from it. I must admit I did play most of these with my babies when they were younger. #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. I’ve shared your post on social media.

  7. Donna
    May 1, 2017

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    Perfect timing on this post, Lori. My 5-month old grand-daughter will be staying with us for a few days this week. I will definitely be borrowing a few items from this post!

  8. Grammy Dee
    May 2, 2017

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    I’m back again! This page is full of great ideas!

  9. Teresa
    May 3, 2017

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    Thank you for sharing all of these, I had forgotten some of them. You’re right, our little ones love these games and songs! #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty I’ve shared your post on social media!

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