Your baby is a natural born scientist full of curiosity about the world they live in and the people around them. So many of the things we take for granted had to be learned and understood when we ourselves were little babies. If you play games with your baby, you will see some of the dramatic milestones in thinking that babies reach, as well as having fun as you help them understand their world.
Babies have very little concept of the future – they very much live in the present, however, playing anticipation games like, ‘This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed at home. This little piggy had roast beef and this little piggy had none. And this little piggy went wee-wee-wee-wee-wee all the way home,’ allows them to anticipate the future as they learn that they get tickled at the end of the game.
Babies are drawn to games that help them learn to think and understand the world. It’s very rewarding so there is a lot of delight and enthusiasm around games with an element of surprise or anticipation, like the round–and-round-the-garden game where you stroke your finger in a spiral on your child’s palm and they know that it ends with a tickle on their body.
The song goes:
(see the video but you will probably remember it from your childhood too!)
You will need to do lots of repetition when playing with your baby.
Peek a boo is also a game universally loved by babies and parents. Babies love their parents’ faces and when they anticipate the peek-a-boo they get a huge dopamine reward and generally shriek with laughter each time you go ‘peek-a-boo.’ Babies love and need lots of repetition to learn to anticipate so don’t be surprised or impatient when they want to play again and again and again!