BABY PLAY AND MOVEMENT
One can never learn enough games for babies! Each lesson with baby begins with a game of proprioception. I touch different parts of baby’s body and tell her the name of that body part: “This is your upper leg,” or “This is your lower arm.” I hold the contact with the body part long enough so she can clearly feel it. By increasing baby’s feeling of her body parts she prepares herself for learning movements. It is not unlike your gym workouts in which you learn to feel your quadriceps (front of thigh) muscles before you can effectively exercise them. As she clearly feels the bones of her arms and legs, for example, it becomes easier for her to move them. Soon this results in a motor skill such as rolling. When on her back, her arm and leg may move far enough to one side that it shifts her weight so much that she rolls onto her tummy. With this game of baby play, babies learn to feel their bones. Babies enjoy this game – just watch the above clip of Rochel! She is familiar with the game and enjoys it every time.
VARIATIONS OF TOUCH
The “game” part of this comes in with the varieties of sound and touch. You can pull your hand away quickly or with a sound to make it fun for her. Babies love novelty! You can change the order, sometimes begin by touching her arms and other times by touching her feet. Observe her reactions and play with the sound or variation that she is enjoying. It is very important to notice how she responds and create your “game strategy” accordingly. Sometimes with the younger babies the touch needs to be slow and more quiet. It is new for them so we want to introduce it gradually. Rochel has received lessons since she was three months old. In the video above she is about ten months old so we have to find a way to make the game new each time we play it. In the beginning, repetition is also very important. Touch each major bone about three times for her to feel it clearly. With the younger babies this game also helps to provide a sense of comfort and security. Many mothers find it helpful to play this baby game before going to sleep.
The process of learning to feel and move one’s body can be a wonderful form of baby play!