There are many toys and activities parents could buy for their new baby, and some are quite expensive.
The best play thing
Help whānau understand that the best ‘play thing’ a young baby can have is whānau themselves.
The only ‘cost’ is the whānau’s time and attention, and the rewards are priceless.
Ask the whānau:
- What new things have you learned about your baby?
- What is your new baby teaching you?
- What have you and baby been playing since I last saw you?
- How did that go?
- Are you ready for another game this visit?
A universal game that babies love
The ‘peekaboo’ game is familiar to many people, it’s played all over the world, and there are different ways to play it.
A baby not only has fun, they learn different things by playing it.
- Have you played peekaboo with baby?
- How does your version go?
It’s funny that babies are so amused by such a simple game. And at first, they don’t know that objects will come back after they’ve been hidden.
This sort of game helps them begin to learn about ‘object permanence’, which means understanding that something can still exist, even if it’s out of sight.
They won’t really understand that until the second half of their first year, but they will have fun in the learning process.
Lots of different ways to play
Here are some versions to introduce to the whānau, that they can try with baby:
- Cover your own eyes and peep out. Say, ‘Where am I?’
- Cover baby’s eyes with a lightweight cloth or scarf, and say, ‘Kei hea pēpi?’
- Cover a teddy or other soft toy with the cloth. Ask, ‘Where’s Teddy?’
- There’s an example of peekaboo using te reo Māori on page 34 of the SKIP Whakatipu booklet Te Pihinga 1.
- Make up your own things to say in your family’s language.
- Hide objects under a cloth or container, or even the corner of the rug.
- ‘Lift-the-flap’ books are yet another way of playing peekaboo.
- The SKIP Peekaboo! app is a modern version of the game.
Try peekaboo with a see-through scarf
Silk or sheer scarves are great for this game.
When parents introduce the game for the first time, baby might prefer to be able to see where they’re ‘hiding’.
See-through scarves are good for this purpose, and can be bought cheaply at some second-hand shops.
Play it over and over
Baby will let dad and mum know how long they want to play peekaboo, and parents might need to be prepared for a few repeats.
Remind them that repetition is key to learning and brain development.
How does this relate to the SKIP resources?
Repeated experiences causes physical changes in my brain as pathways strengthen to eventually become permanent
Six things children need - Te ārahi me te māramatanga - guidance and understanding
We understand pēpi learns by exploring with their eyes, ears, mouth, nose and hands