The Baby Peek A Boo Game: Why is it so important?

Baby Peek A Boo Game

Did you know that the technical term for games such as “Peek-A-Boo”, “Ring Around The Rosie”, “Row Row Row Your Boat”, etc is people games?  It actually makes a lot of sense.

All of these games involve a baby or child interacting with another person or people.  These “people games” all play an essential role in a child’s development.  They are not only great for language development, but they also teach social skills.

In this article I will share with you information about “people games” and playing peek-a-boo in particular and why it is so important to incorporate them into your child’s early years.

Peek A Boo – What’s The Big Deal?

The peek a boo game is probably the oldest and most common “people game” around.  I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t know what peek a boo is.  Even people without children can tell you what this game is all about.

It’s pretty straightforward.  Usually the parent/caregiver covers his face with his hands and then says “peek a boo” while uncovering his face.  This causes the baby to laugh in anticipation that the adult will do it again, and again, and again…

This game is great for babies and children usually up to 24 months.   After that peek a boo usually turns into “hide and seek”.

Most parents don’t realize the importance of something as simple as peek a boo.  Parents often play peek a boo with their children because its so common and they have seen someone doing this with a child at some point, or they have memories or their parents playing it with them.  And it’s wonderful to see a big smile or hear a belly laugh from your baby or toddler.

 

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Why Playing Peek-a-Boo & Other “People Games” Is So Important For Your Child’s Development

Establish Routines

People games are all about routines.  The same thing usually always happens, however you can add some variation to keep it fun and interesting.  Let’s take playing peek a boo with a baby as an example.

This usually starts out with the parent covering her face with her hands.  However, you could also hold a blanket up in front your face.

As your little one gets older she will often play peek a boo by hiding behind a piece of furniture and popping out every time the adult says “peek a boo”.

Routines are a part of our daily lives.

Some routines always stay the same while others change.  Playing people games with your child is teaching him all about routines and what can be expected from a routine.

An example of an adult routine would be getting ready for work in the morning.  This is probably pretty much the same everyday.

Teach Social Skills

When a child is engaging in a game of peek a boo he is also developing social skills.

In this case some of the social skills include turn taking and making eye contact.

As adults we must know how to take turns, whether it be taking turns in a conversation or taking turns doing a presentation at work.   It is also equally important to make eye contact with the person you are speaking with (in the Western culture – some cultures do not view eye contact the same way we do).

If an adult is always dominating a conversation and never makes eye contact with the person he is speaking with, the listener in this case will become bored and tune out.

In order to play peek a boo, the adult takes his turn by covering his face and saying “peek a boo”.  The child takes her turn by giggling and/or vocalizing (“more”, “again”, etc.) while looking at the adult.  This provides a signal to the adult to start the game (routine) again.

 

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Facilitate Speech & Language Development

It is important to try and use the same language over and over when playing these types of games with your child.  If your child is older (18 months +), instead of saying “peek a boo” you could try asking a question, e.g. “where am I?” while holding a blanket over your head.

When your child removes the blanket you can reply with “here I am”.  Doing this over and over again will allow your child to learn these words.

For a younger child, stick with saying “peek a boo” and when you move your hands away just say “boo”.  Eventually your child may imitate you and start saying “boo” as well!

Encourage Parent Child Bonding

Babies and young children (and even older children) love getting lots of love, hugs, cuddles and kisses from their parents/caregivers.  Playing these kind of social games with your little one is a great way to strengthen your bond with your baby.

You are close together, making eye contact, and sharing laughs!  By doing this you are giving your baby/toddler your sole attention.  And this is what he needs most during these precious early years.

Promote Prediction Skills

Games like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”, “Catch”, “Tickles” and of course “Peek-a-Boo” teach babies all about prediction.  In a way, this is also what a routine does.  After a few rounds of “where’s baby?” he will begin to anticipate and predict what might happen next.  This will become an important life skill as your child grows up.

 

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Beneficial For Children With Special Needs

Social skills are often the greatest area of concern for children with social communication difficulties such as Autism.  People games are a great way to practice some of these skills as there is plenty of interaction, back and forth “communication”, eye contact, etc.

The R.O.C.K strategy (repeat, opportunity, cue, keep it going) is an example of how you can come up with your own ways to create a people game that is predictable and structured.  Learn more about it here!

Final Thoughts

I could go on and on and talk about all of the different people games and all of the things they can teach a young child, but you would be reading for a long time.

My point is simply that something as easy as the baby peek a boo game teaches so many skills.  So remember that while it may seem boring to you, your child is learning so much!

People games are also a great way to follow your child’s lead.

Simple but effective learning activities for babies include people games such as peek a boo. Find out why these games are a must for infant development.

6 Comments

  1. Liz

    My kids love peek a boo! I didn’t know how developmentally important it was until I read this page though! 

    I took the time to browse around your site after reading about how something as simple as peek-a-boo can be so beneficial to a child’s development. 

    I must say, you have a very well planned out website. The graphics are great, the information is well put together, accurate and precise.  Altogether this website was done fantastically!  

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Thanks so much for your kind words Liz.  I’m glad that you like the website.  

      My goal with articles such as the baby peekaboo one is to show parents that babies can learn from just about anything.   You don’t need to invest in expensive learning supplies to give your little one a learning advantage.  

      Reply
  2. Verne0710

    I’m quite impressed with your site. It has a ton of helpful information and is very easy to read and navigate. Child development is also a subject that I feel very strongly about, and a lot of the methods that you have posted about are things that I’ve made sure to do with my own children. 

    I love how you explain the many benefits behind some of the little things we do with our kids, like playing peek-a-boo with a baby.  Myself, along with most parents play the peek-a-boo game because little ones find it so entertaining.  I’m going to start paying more attention to the things I am doing with my kids and what they might learn from a simple activity.

    I signed up for your e-book and am looking forward to reading through it. Hopefully, I can gain insight on how to improve how I’m raising my kids. Definitely keeping your site in my favorites.

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Thanks for taking a look around the site!  I’m happy that you enjoy the information I am sharing.

      Learning opportunities are all around for young children.  They do not always have to be intentionally created through structured activities.  And kids learn best when they are interested in something and don’t realize that they are being “taught”.

      I hope that you enjoyed the e-book!

      Reply
  3. Hailey

    Such a great informative post!

    I think that all these little games help with a child’s development. Some people may not think that these games are beneficial in any way but after reading your article I think they would change their minds.

    My son has special needs and I use the game Simon says a lot to teach him different things such as body parts Color numbers and alphabet.

    Thanks again for the post!
    Regards
    Hailey

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Thanks Hailey,

      Like you said, these simple songs/games are wonderful for teaching in an implicit way.   I also used Simon Says to teach body parts and colors in my speech therapy sessions.

      Peek a boo was also a go to of mine for children with special needs that involved difficulty with social skills such as turn taking and eye contact.

      Reply

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