While it may seem like your baby is too young for games, there are plenty of 8-month-old baby activities that they will enjoy that can provide a fun way to bond with parents, siblings, and other caregivers. Here's a list of some of the best 8-month-old baby activities to play with your infant.
When it comes to 8-month-old baby activities, the key points center around social interaction, motor skills, and communication. This is the time when your baby is learning that they can make sounds and mimic words to communicate and will also point and gesture to try to indicate their needs.
They are also paying close attention to social cues like facial expressions and tone of voice and learning how to maneuver themselves around independently via rolling, crawling, cruising, and maybe even walking.
The best 8-month-old baby games are designed to encourage and support these developments and are less about actually teaching your child any skills. It's important not to put too much pressure or read too much into your baby's "performance" during these play sessions, and any games and activities should be focused on fun for all the participants.
Here's a list of seven fun and easy games to play with your 8-month-old, and all of them can be done with things you already have around the house. These can be played before or after meals or as part of your morning wake up routine.
1. Noisy games
As you already know, this is a stage where your baby has learned that making noise is fun. They're probably already saying a few words, babbling, and even yelling and screeching to make their presence known, and you can channel that into an interactive experience by turning making noise into a game.
Using percussion instruments — or making your own — like tambourines and rattles can introduce your child to the joy of music. Another easy game is to make a sound or string a few together and encourage your child to try to mimic you.
2. Dancing and singing
Even if your child isn't walking or even crawling yet, that doesn't mean they can't engage in some dancing games and activities.
Children of this age love to listen to songs that have motions, and even if they can't do the motions themselves, having a parent move their arms and hands to do them provides much-needed touch time and encourages the development of motor skills. This doesn't have to be structured, either. It can be as easy as turning on your favorite music and showing your child how to clap to the beat.
3. Helping them stand
Babies of this age are often already trying to stand and cruise in preparation for walking, and you can encourage this even more by making a game out of helping them stand. Doing the stand-up-sit-down game helps develop the leg muscles and teaches your child how to start supporting their own weight in an upright position.
Reading to your child is a great way to increase vocabulary and introduce them to all of the wonderful things books have to offer.
Start with short, hardcover picture books designed for infants of this age, and engage your child in the story by having them point to objects or animals they're familiar with or even "help" you count objects such as trees or flowers on the page.
This is also a great activity to make part of your bedtime routine to help your child wind down and increase the chances of everyone getting a good night's sleep.
5. Crawling games
Similar to helping your child stand, this game encourages your 8-month-old to start moving independently. Make a game out of crawling by setting up some pillows or toys to maneuver over or around.
You can also turn it into a game of follow the leader by crawling in front of your child and having them follow your speed and then encouraging them to try the same with you.
6. Peekaboo (Hide-and-Seek)
While this is definitely one of the staple 8-month-old activities, you may not know that it actually helps your child develop the concept of object permanence.
When you first start playing peekaboo, your baby doesn't realize that you're not actually leaving the room and then magically reappearing. But by practicing this game, you help them build the understanding that you're just behind whatever the object is, which has the long-term benefit of helping with separation anxiety because you always come back.
7. Sensory bags and bins
You can help your child learn to connect their senses with the world around them and their experiences. You can create sensory bags and bins by putting different textured objects in a bag and letting your child pull them out one by one. Just make sure that objects are nontoxic and big enough not to be a choking hazard, since they are likely to end up in your child's mouth.
Keeping your baby active and happy all day can be an exhausting task. Make sure to take some time to attend to your own sleep and get a handle on challenges such as snoring, which may be keeping you up at night.
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One of the best benefits of 8-month-old baby activities is that it can help foster a lifelong love of learning. By showing your child that learning new things and practicing skills can be fun and exciting and a great way to engage with others and the world around them, you're setting them up for success academically and socially as they get older.
If you've never thought about planning games for your 8-month-old, activities like these can give you a great starting place, but don't be afraid to branch out into anything you or your baby are interested in.
Spontaneous activities and random games can be some of the best ways to engage your child in their environment as new opportunities present themselves.