Easy Games that Teach
We all want playtime to be educational, but I personally was often so tired I instead felt like inventing games geared to a few minutes of shut-eye. Every minute of play doesn't have to be a lesson, but these easy games will help your baby learn.
Game: Early hide-and-seek
What it teaches: Object permanence (that out-of-sight things exist)
How to play: Show your baby a Cheerio, then let it "disappear" into your closed hand. Open your hand and -- voilá! -- it's back. You can also hide toys under a blanket, or hide your cell phone while the ring tone's on.
Game: Sound off
What it teaches: Cause and effect
How to play: Give your baby assorted containers (plastic, metal pots, a cardboard box), and things to toss in them that make different sounds (plastic ball, child-safe spoon, stuffed animal).
Game: Tower of power
What it teaches: Fine motor skills and planning
How to play: Show your baby how to make a block tower and knock it down. Talk about colors and size ("This block is bigger").
Game: Kicking and squealing
What it teaches: Large motor skills
How to play: Help him kick a ball as you hold onto your budding Beckham.