Thursday, January 1, 2009

Thinking Thursday: Peekaboo

Looking for a fun, engaging game that can be played anywhere? And I mean ANYwhere! Then peek-a-boo is the game for you and your little one. At the very least, all you need is you and the baby! You can elaborate the game by bringing in a blanket, towel, clothes, or anything on hand.

To Play Peek-a-Boo:
Arrange you and the baby so you're facing each other and your faces are fairly close together (12-18 inches.) You can use your hands, a blanket, or any other object to cover your face. Then reveal your face and say "Peek-a-boo! I see you!"

As baby becomes familiar with this game, you can switch it up by covering up baby instead. I hold one end of the blanket and shake out the blanket so that it lands over the baby's head. My baby loves the wind on her face as I cover her up this way. Then I quickly pull the blanket away, saying "Peek-a-boo. I see you!" Once she trusts that I will remove the blanket, I leave it there just long enough to ask, "Where's baby? Where's Sammi?" Then I pull it away to reveal a big smile and usually some giggles.

As my daughter has grown, more variations of peek-a-boo have developed. She initiates the game by hiding and saying, "Can you say 'Where is Sammi?'" Then, when she reveals herself, she says (often with a flourish!) "Here I m'am!" But she started playing this game with me when she was just a baby. When I'd change her diaper she'd grab her pants and pull them over her head. It took several times before I realized she was doing this intentionally. Peek-a-boo became one of our favorite games!

Peek-a-boo helps children establish object permanence, meaning they remember that an object exists even when it is out of sight. So when your face disappears behind your hands or a blanket and then reappears consistently, your child learns that you exists even when he or she doesn't see you. This game also helps establish trust. When you consistently reappear then your child learns to trust that you will be there, even when you're not seen. As you lengthen the "hiding" period, you create a trust that will help your baby endure longer absences, e.g., staying with a babysitter.

This is also a great game to play when waiting anywhere with your child to help ward off boredom and trouble! Some place you may find yourself waiting: the doctor's office, the line at the post office, a restaurant, the grocery store. You can no doubt think of several other places!

Fun Books about Peek-a-boo:
Where Is Baby's Belly Button?
Peek-A Who?
Peek-a-Boo Who?
Peek-a-Boo Jungle


Anonymous said...

Reading about how your Sammi initiated peek-a-boo reminded me that my daughter :) Initiated playing that with me when she was a baby. I think it took me a while to figure out what she was doing. Babies really do interact more that we realize I think.

Vanessa said...

Those are some of the first books that my two daughters have enjoyed, the peek a boo books by Karen Katz!

Amber said...

@ ceejay: I agree! Babies are ready to play an active role much earlier than we often recognize.
@ Vanessa: Our 2 1/2 year old still loves the book. More so now, I think, because she's mastered the flaps.

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