Baby play development

Baby play development is controlled by her movements. It’s not until she’s about 6 weeks old that she can begin to move her arms and legs with purpose and purposefully reach out to touch an object.

Baby play activities won’t begin until after those first definite jerky movements settle. It will take a lot of practice before she develops more refined movements such as grasping; which are required for baby to play with toys or books.

Your baby’s rate of growth and development will be unique to her. While she will most likely go through developmental milestones in the same order as other babies, she may reach them faster or slower than her contemporaries.

The reflexes your baby has at birth (and the couple of reflexes that appear within the first few months after birth) are vital for:

  • Survival (Sucking and Rooting reflexes for feeding)
  • Development of posture (Moro and Tonic Neck reflexes for protecting the body)
  • Development of muscles (the Plantar and Stepping reflexes for moving the feet and practicing weight bearing)

Baby play stages

Through play your baby will learn about the world she lives in and the people who live in it. Play will help to stimulate her senses and she’ll also have lots of opportunities to practice new skills.


Play should always be fun, and at the same time allow your child to practice and master various skills which will assist in her growth and development.

This article was written by Ella Walsh for Kidspot – New Zealand’s parenting resource for newborns and baby.

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