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Interactive Games for Young Children


Interactive Games for Young Children

Everyone loves to play! This includes babies who are too young to do much yet, and toddlers and young children with disabilities that limit their mobility. Interactive movement games engage young children, gently exercise their muscles, teach them about social interactions, and help you to have fun together.

If your child has a physical disability, make sure to adjust the game to be appropriate with your child. For example, guided movements may need to be smaller for a child with neuromuscular disease. Make sure to ask your child’s physician or physical therapist before playing these games if you have any questions regarding appropriateness for your child.

Here are a couple of interactive games that I made up and enjoyed with my own children when they were younger.

Wee Bop Woo

Play this song-game with your baby or young child while you are playing on the floor together, or after a diaper change. Make eye contact, smile, and laugh together. Your child may soon anticipate what comes next, and giggle if it is not what was expected.

This type of play helps your baby learn about the give-and-take exchange of social interactions and conversations.

The words are in bold type, while parent instructions are in italics. Use a sing-song voice through the whole game.

Run, run, run, run. Run, run, run, run.
Sing the words quickly. Gently move baby’s legs in running motion.
Wee bop, wee bop.
Slow down your singing. Gently lift baby’s legs and bottom up and down twice.
Run, run, run, run. Run, run, run, run.
Sing the words quickly. Gently move baby’s legs in running motion.
Wee bop, woo.
Slow down and hold the last sound. Gently lift baby’s legs and bottom up and down once. Next, lift baby’s legs and bottom up and the legs into a V shape.

Repeat the game. On the last phrase, slow down your singing. Hold the last sound. Gently tickle baby, starting at the toes and ending under baby’s chin.


Up, Up, Up

Play this game with your baby while lying on your back. Your baby starts lying on your tummy with your hands holding her firmly at the waist. Follow the words, lifting your baby up, bringing her down, and moving her backwards, forwards, and around in a circle. Your baby should be at least four months old and able to hold her head and sit without support to play this version of the game.

For younger babies or children who need greater physical support, play this game standing up with your baby held securely against your chest. Support his head if he is unable to hold up his own head. Bend your knees down and up, and your torso backwards, forwards, and in a circle along with the words. Older babies enjoy this version too.

Either way you play, both you and your baby will have a lot of fun. Your baby will learn from hearing words paired with physical movement. And, you will get some exercise as well!

Baby goes up, up, up.
Baby comes down, down, down.
Baby goes up, up, up.
Baby comes down, down, down.
Backward and forward.
Backward and forward.
Round and round.
Baby goes up, up, up.
Baby comes down, down, down.


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Content copyright © 2013 by Jori Reijonen, Ph.D.. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Jori Reijonen, Ph.D.. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Jori Reijonen, Ph.D. for details.

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