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Ideas for Structured Play Routines for a Baby's Room

One to Four Months

In the first months of life, babies depend on their parents to engage them in play. Having a daily play routine of singing repetitive songs like "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or Mary Had a Little Lamb" helps them develop language and socialization. Lay babies on a special blanket on the floor of their room each day to play. This will become routine, and they will begin to expect it and enjoy it. In the first three months, they will begin to make eye contact, smile and try to vocalize with you. Babies are also learning to open and close their hands near the end of the third month. You can help them hold a rattle and shake it. Count the number of shakes each day. Also, shake the rattle and pair it with the action word, “shake" to help the child associate a word with the action.

Five to Eight Months

This is the time when babies need to be on their tummies more to strengthen both neck and back muscles. Lay babies on their tummy on the special blanket in the bedroom and blow bubbles around them. This will cause the baby to lift her head and look around. This will also encourage her to roll back and forth on her side. Rolling over and sitting up are big milestones in this time period. Babies are also learning to put their hands together in a more coordinated way. Give them items to bang together during bedroom play time. Help them bang pots and spoons together and count the bangs. Show them how to bring their hands together to clap and count the claps.

Nine to Twelve Months

Babies start to crawl and motor around rooms at this age. One way to keep a structured play routine in the bedroom is to stack up bed pillows. Hold the child's hand and help him climb the pillow stairs. The pillows give him a soft surface to land on in case of a fall, while the stepping action develops the muscles he'll need to walk. Another bedroom play routine at this age involves big buttons. Get two or three pairs of buttons at least 2 inches across so they don't pose a choking hazard. Line the buttons up in front of the baby and show them how to find the match. Make pairs and count the pairs.

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