One of the most fun developments in the early months of a baby’s life is when s/he starts to laugh, especially those big, catch-your-breath belly laughs. It’s impossible to stay in a bad mood once you hear one – they are highly addictive!
Baby Monkey’s first big laugh came, of course, from watching his older brother. But Mom and Dad have a few tricks up their sleeves, too, to make this little one laugh!
One of the most reliable methods is so simple that I am always surprised that it works: Baby Monkey loooooooves to play pattycake!
For those of you unfamiliar with it, pattycake (also called pat-a-cake) is a very simple hand game. (Here is an overview of the history of this game). Older children play it by clapping hands with each other. For a baby, an adult will typically hold baby’s little hands and clap or roll them in rhythm to the song.
Pattycake, pattycake, baker’s man
Bake me a cake as fast as you can
Roll it and pat it and mark it with a “B”
And put it in the oven for Baby and me!
This is the version I sing with Baby (substituting his name for “Baby”), but of course there are many variations. Here is one version of pattycake I found on youTube, as played by older children. And here is one of a mother playing with her baby. You can see how much this baby enjoys it, too!
What makes pattycake so much fun for babies? I’m sure part of it is the close, face-to-face interaction with someone they love. Also, babies love to hold onto their parents’ hands. I know Baby is always grabbing my fingers and playing with them. Plus, young babies who can’t clap on their own yet must love the motion itself. And of course there is the anticipation of getting to the rolling part!
When we were in Costa Rica when Monkey was a baby, I discovered that they have a variation of this game as well. Everyone loved to hold Monkey’s little hands and clap them to this song:
Tortillitas de mamá (Mommy’s tortillas)
Tortillitas de papá (Daddy’s tortillas)
The version I heard was always this simple one, although I have since read a slightly longer version, giving the “golden ones” to Mommy and the “hot ones” to Daddy. The book Tortillitas para Mamá and Other Nursery Rhymes gives still another variation, with Mommy getting the burned ones and Daddy the good ones (!)
I suspect that there are similar games in many other part of the world, since it seems to tap into something the babies really enjoy.
Does your baby love pattycake? Do you know of a similar game from another culture?
This post was written as part of the May Multicultural Kid Blogs Blogging Carnival.
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