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Dads and Play

 --- Dads and Play

Playing with your baby is one of the best ways you can get to know each other and for your baby to learn about themselves and the world in which they live. Babies learn through their five senses to develop knowledge, skills and awareness about the world and their place in it. Your child is both stimulated and able to be calmed through the following uses of their senses

Your Baby's World (from conception to 6 months)


    • Develops from head to toe. The mouth is especially sensitive early on.
    • Heat, coldness, and pain are immediately recognised.
    • Touch helps development of a sense of position in space and movement of one’s own body
    • Sense of balance
    • Stimulation
    • Calmness


    • Recognition of early scents (e.g., Dad’s chest, Mum’s hair)
    • Bodily responses to scents are easily recognisable
    • Unfamiliar scents may be responded to in different ways
    • Some scents will become associated with other things in the environment
    • Some scents will elicit comfort and security


    • Your baby can distinguish between salt, sweet, sour, bitter, etc.
    • There may be a preference for sweet tasting items
    • Texture can be explored and interesting
    • Some tastes will elicit comfort and security


    • Sensitivity to lightness and darkness
    • Initially, in the early period, effective vision will be at a range of about ‘arms length’
    • Staring and scanning of  faces will occur
    • Colours will be easily distinguished
    • Bold patterns and shapes will be seen
    • Certain sights (e.g., Mum & Dad) can elicit calmness and excitement)


    • Attention may be oriented towards the direction of sounds
    • Tuned to higher pitched, spaced sounds
    • Recognition of familiar voices and sounds (e.g., Dad’s voice) occurs in the first hours of life
    • Your baby will respond to ‘baby talk’
    • Words and speech sounds from others are listened to first, and eventually repeated and learned

There are many activities that will help with your child’sdevelopment. Of course, learning with play works best when your child is having fun. So watch out closely for your child’s signs of interest, fun, and enjoymentand try to follow their lead. Think of activities that activate their senses, be creative and imaginative with your child, and play away! Playgroups with other parents can be a great place to get some tips on play activities.

Try contacting Playgroup WA for playgroups for fathers at 1800 171 882.

Also, try the Raising Children Website for some good advice and information about the benfits of play.

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