Aim of the game:
Tickle is one of many classic ‘people games’ which is powerful for strengthening your bond with your baby, helping them learn to pay attention to others and giving them a reason to communicate. You can play this game with your baby at anytime and anywhere as you don’t need any toys or special equipment. YOU are the part of the interaction that is fun!
What you will need:
How to play:
- Sit opposite your baby, or if they are small lie them down a lean over them, so you are face to face
- Introduce the game by saying “let’s play tickle!” It’s best to always introduce games in the same way so your baby knows what to expect and learns the language associated with that game so can request it when they are ready
- Slowly count “one, two, three…” and then gently tickle your child whilst saying “tickle!” The counting can build up anticipation and prepare your baby for what is about to happen
- Pause to see if your baby shows you that they want to play again. This could be a wriggle, noise, gesture or simply eye contact.
- Repeat a few more times but try to end on a high note so that they will want to play again another time.
How to extend:
- You can combine this game with requesting for ‘more’ – see ‘More?’ game here.
- Gradually increase the waiting time between “one, two, three…..” and “tickle!” to see if they do something different or more to communicate
- Introduce new vocabulary by tickling different body parts. For example, tickle tummy, tickle toes, tickle ears etc.
- Introduce a toy such as a teddy bear to help your child to learn to take turns and wait a little longer (e.g. tickle teddy! vs tickle baby!).
- Weave this game into your daily routine to make getting dressed, nappy changing and bath times fun.
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