What is Baby Play?
Did you know that babies love to play even from birth? It sounds strange at first to think of a newborn baby “playing” doesn’t? But “Play” is defined in the dictionary as “an activity engaged in for enjoyment and recreation, especially by children”. Babies and children innately love to play – it lights them up and gives them a sense of joy. It is also one of the main way’s in which children learn. Play gives them opportunities to discover and explore their bodies, themselves, their environment and the way each of these connect and interact.
Every time you have interaction with your baby – be that talking and singing with them, giving them eye contact and a variety of facial expression, or by giving them chances to explore their movements and their surroundings – you are engaging their senses and giving them the opportunity for play.
Babies spend the first 9 months of their life tucked up in the womb, in a tranquil and peaceful environment, they practice moving their limbs, all those kicks and wriggles you feel in utero is them stretching and pushing against the uterine wall which strengthens their muscles, but this strengthening needs to continue after birth too.
Babies central nervous systems are still developing once they are born, they are building neural pathways in their brain every time they move and interact with their environment. By having time where you slow down and connect with your baby, even if that’s during everyday routines, you are enabling them a chance to explore their senses and their movements, as well as supporting healthy attachment and love.
As quoted n the Porto Medical Journals “The importance of play for children’s healthy development is grounded in a strong body of research (1,2,3). As a natural and compelling activity, play promotes cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being, offering the necessary conditions for children to thrive and learn” (4)
You can start play easily and gently right from birth – whilst awake, giving your baby time on their tummy on your chest whilst singing to them, or talking to them – this will initiate the first experiences of play for your baby and will help them strengthen not only their muscles, and cognitive skills but also the bond between you.
Love Carly xx
Blossom and Berry Team
- D. Pellegrini, D. Dupuis, P.K. Smith Play in evolution and development
Dev Rev, 27 (2007), pp. 261-276
- D. Pellegrini, P.K. Smith The development of play during childhood: forms and possible functions
Child Psychol Psychiatry Rev, 3 (1998), pp. 51-57
- R. Ginsburg The importance of play in promoting healthy child development and maintaining strong parent–child bonds
Pediatrics, 119 (2007), pp. 182-188
- Bento, G.Dias. The importance of outdoor play for young children’s healthy development.
Porto Biomedical Journal (2017) 2(5) P157-160