First 5 Years

Read, Play, Grow!

BPL - FFY, Read, Play, Grow!, mother rabbit playing with baby on her back

Fun Activities | Books for Babies | Books for Parents |
Read, Play, Grow! Brochure

Read, Play, Grow! is a program for babies and toddlers at your Library that encourages development and literacy through reading and playing.

Playing with your child is not only fun, it’s one of the most important ways you can encourage development. As your child’s first teacher, you are helping him or her develop key literacy, cognitive and social skills. And you don’t need expensive toys, just imagination and your child’s favorite playmate—YOU!

Here, you’ll find great tips to use at home. And be sure to ask your librarian about enriching programs at the Library that you and your son or daughter can enjoy!

Playing with Babies
(Birth - 18 months)

Through play, babies are building a foundation for future learning. As you talk with them, they develop language skills. As they play with rattles and watch mobiles, they begin to understand cause and effect. When they reach for your face or toys, they develop hand-eye coordination. And they build self-esteem as they see how much you love to play with them.

As your child’s first teacher, you will discover the best games, toys and play times as your baby grows.

Getting Started
  • Play right from the start! Even a newborn can imitate your simple facial movements.

BPL - FFY, Read, Play, Grow!, hamster dressed as a human toddler reading a book

  • Choose play times when your baby is alert and interested; an active gaze indicates interest, but yawning, crying or looking away signal a need for a break.
  • Encourage your baby to play with other adult friends and family members. He or she will learn to be comfortable with different people.
  • In addition to store-bought toys, babies may enjoy exploring safe, everyday objects, including wooden spoons, plastic measuring cups and empty boxes.
  • Comment on what your baby is doing to help him or her learn language: "You are shaking that rattle!"

Fun Activities »

Illustrations © copyright 2004 by Kathy Parkinson from When I Miss You by Cornelia Maude Spelman. Reproduced by permission of Albert Whitman & Company