Your baby will love it if you take some time to play games with her in your lap. You don't need to do much. She will find these simple exercises endlessly entertaining:
- Pull her up to sitting
- Pull her up to standing
- Hold her hands to help maintain her balance while standing (or sitting)
- Help her do deep knee bends and "jumping"
Just bouncing your baby up and down on your knee will no doubt delight her. In the coming months, she will enjoy nursery rhyme variations on bouncing. (You can find delightful bouncing rhymes in any good nursery book of rhymes or play rhymes. Ask your local children's librarian to point you in the right direction.) Start with a basic rhythmical bounce: "Ride a Cock Horse to Banbury Cross." Then vary speeds with "This Is the Way the Gentleman Rides." Finally, you can move on to "Trot Along to Boston," with its surprise ending (opening up your legs and letting your baby "fall" through-but don't let go of her hands).
Give Your Baby the Floor
You can help your baby learn how to roll (if he hasn't already started on his own). When he's lying on his back on the floor, take a knee in your hand and cross it over the other knee. After you've helped him flip the bottom half of his body, all he needs to do is flip his hips and his shoulders will follow. Support his hips in your hands and then gently rock them back and forth until you've built enough "momentum" to flip him over onto his belly. Pretty soon, he won't even need you to get him started anymore.
Floor time gives your baby a chance to develop and practice new skills such as rolling over, getting on his hands and knees, and sitting up. Make sure that the floor or ground is soft enough so that he won't hurt himself when he plops down face first. Putting your baby down on a quilt or a thick blanket can soften a hard floor or tightly packed earth.
If it's warm enough (indoors or out), you can also start giving your baby a regular dose of naked time. By three or four months, your child will probably begin to enjoy the sensual experience of letting it all hang out. In addition to stimulating all of his senses, naked time also gives your baby total freedom of movement, unencumbered by one-piece outfits and bulky diapers.
When your baby can sit up by himself for more than a minute or so, try rolling a big, colorful ball to him. At first (assuming you have reasonably good aim), your baby's body will just stop the ball without any active intervention on his part. But before long, your child will start anticipating and reaching out to stop the ball with his hands. Encourage him to roll the ball back to you. When he does, you'll have a real game going.