Little Bloomer’s Weekly Playdate: Social Emotional Play Activities for Babies and Newborns

Little Bloomer’s Weekly Playdate: Social Emotional Play Activities for Babies and Newborns

Need new ideas to play with your baby this week? We got you!
We've crafted a series of playful developmental activities tailored for children from birth to 24 months. This week’s baby and toddler play activities are designed around social emotional skills, from your baby’s first smiles to understanding emotions in others! We love supporting you as you help your little one grow and learn.

0 to 3 Months: Exaggerated Smile

Social/Emotional Milestone: begins to smile

Activity: Want to help your baby practice one of the sweetest milestones - their first smile? Hold your baby within 8-10 inches of your face and start making a very exaggerated smile, the bigger, the better! Repeat the smile and watch your baby for a reaction. Smiling at your baby is a great way to bond and work on early emotional development!

3 to 6 Months: How Big is Baby?

Social/Emotional Milestone: enjoys social play

Activity: Engage in a delightful bonding activity with your baby by playing "How Big is Baby?" Encourage your little one to explore their body and social interactions by gently lifting their arms while asking, "How big is baby?" Watch with joy as they eagerly lift their arms in response, delighted by the playful interaction. This simple yet engaging game not only fosters physical development but also strengthens the parent-child bond through shared laughter and affection.

6 to 9 Months: Mirror Peek-A-Boo

Social/Emotional Milestone: plays peek-a-boo

Activity: Play Mirror Peek-a-Boo to help your baby’s social skills! Set up a mirror and get into position where both of you can see your reflections. Then, with a mischievous grin, playfully move out of the reflection. Pop back into view, calling out "Peek-a-boo!" Watch as your baby's eyes light up with excitement each time you reappear. Encourage them to join in on the fun by making silly faces or giggling along with you. This playful activity not only fosters a sense of connection and joy but also helps your baby understand the concept of object permanence.

9 to 12 Months: My Turn, Your Turn

Social/Emotional Milestone: Responds to emotions of others, plays social games

Activity: Time to engage in playful back-and-forth fun with your little one in the "My Turn/Your Turn" game! Grab a ball or a favorite toy and take turns passing it back and forth between you and your baby. Start by saying "My turn" as you pass the ball or toy to your baby, then cheerfully exclaim "Your turn" as they pass it back to you. Keep the game going, giggling and smiling as you take turns playing together. This simple yet delightful activity not only strengthens your bond but also teaches your baby about sharing and taking turns. Whether it's tossing a ball or putting on their socks, every moment of playful interaction helps build a positive relationship filled with laughter and joy!

12 to 15 Months: Library Story Time

Social/Emotional Milestone: copies other toddlers while playing

Activity: Get ready for a magical adventure with your toddler at a library story time! Join in on the fun as you and your little one explore the enchanting world of books alongside other curious toddlers and their caregivers. Encourage your toddler to interact with their new friends by sharing toys, listening to stories, and joining in on playful activities. Cheer them on as they engage in imaginative play and make delightful discoveries together. This lively gathering not only fosters social skills but also creates cherished memories filled with laughter and friendship.

15 to 18 Months: Mirror, Mirror

Social/Emotional Milestone: helps with self dressing

Activity: Place a full-length mirror at your toddler's eye level and watch as they light up with excitement at their own reflection. Encourage them to mimic your movements as you both get dressed, fostering a sense of self-awareness and confidence with each successful step. Whether it's putting on socks or pulling on pants, celebrate their accomplishments together as they see themselves mastering new skills. This delightful activity not only promotes independence but also strengthens the bond between you and your little one as you embark on this fun-filled journey of self-discovery!

18 to 24 Months: If You’re Happy and You Know It

Social/Emotional Milestone: recognizes emotions

Activity: Explore emotions and music with your toddler as you sing a playful twist on the classic song "If You're Happy and You Know It"! Gather in a cozy space and kick off the fun by singing the familiar tune together. Then, add a sprinkle of imagination as you replace the words with different emotions. Try "If you're mad and you know it, stomp your foot" or "If you're sad and you know it, say boohoo" with lively actions to match. Watch with delight as your toddler giggles and engages with each emotion, helping them identify and express their feelings in a playful way.

These simple activities will help support your baby or toddler as they relate to the world around them through growing social and emotional skills. Remember, every child develops at their own pace, so let your child's curiosity and interests guide these playful learning experiences. Enjoy these precious moments of discovery and connection, celebrating each small step and giggle along the way.

Need more play ideas? Check out our previous playdates:

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