Baby Games: The Joyful Guide to Child's Play from Birth to Three Years. Rev. ed.


183 pages
ISBN 0-7737-5637-X
DDC 649'.5




Illustrations by Janet Wilson
Reviewed by Moira Harris

Moira Harris is a graduate student in animal behavior at the University
of Saskatchewan.


This comprehensive review of entertainment for babies and young children
is arranged in age-appropriate chapters, each covering three or six
months. Starting at birth with lullabies, gentle massage and exercises,
and simple sensory experiences, the book moves through dressing and
eating games, outdoor play, musicmaking, finger- and foot-painting,
cooking, and crafts. These short, snappy sections conclude with
activities suitable for 3-year-olds. Included in each chapter are
numerous rhymes, chants, and songs. A particularly appealing feature is
that many of the games and activities require no more equipment than a
little imagination, while others make use of simple household objects.

Less successful is the second part of the book, which deals with toys
and parties, as well as with other resources such as books, TV and
video, and public entertainment. Although parties are well covered
(included are suggestions for marking Jewish and Muslim festivals), this
section lacks the detail and care of preparation that was apparent in
the earlier chapters. Some sections are too perfunctory. For example, a
brief paragraph concerning computer games for children makes no mention
of the growing area of interactive CD-ROM, a rich entertainment source
even for preschoolers.

Although advertised as “revised and updated,” the book retains a
comfortable, traditional feel. Accompanying this, unfortunately, are
frequent lapses into gender stereotyping. Through much of the text and
illustrations, the author and contributors have subtly, and perhaps
unconsciously, propagated the myth (still common in childcare and
child-directed books) of the ever-present female caregiver.


Martin, Elaine., “Baby Games: The Joyful Guide to Child's Play from Birth to Three Years. Rev. ed.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 20, 2024,