Of course snuggling, reading, talking to, and playing with your new baby is all a part of their development, but wouldn't it be great to know what part of their mind is developing during these interactions? We asked our experts in the field (our infant teachers) for some activities that we could share with you, then you can share them with your baby. We'd love to hear your feedback on this post below. That way we know if you enjoyed them and we can continue to share new activities each month.
The Baby Scavenger Hunt (3 - 6 months old) - Move over Sherlock Holmes this baby is a detective in the making. Choose several of your baby's "noise-making" toys for a sound scavenger hunt game. In their normal play area, place your little one on their back or have them sit up in a supported position. While shaking, place one toy out of the baby's sight, ask the baby "Listen to that (Avery). Can you hear that sound? Where is it?" Notice if the baby turns their head to the sound. You can play by experimenting with different sounds in different locations. Celebrate if your baby finds the sound by saying things like "Yay! You found it!"
Baby Bit: Babies' brains learn how to coordinate auditory and visual sensory information around 3-4 months old and should be able to physically turn toward sound.
The Baby Field Trip (6 - 9 months old) - While routine is important for the development and comfort of our babies, it is important that we also challenge them. This activity will help you develop language and physical skills in new environments. Take baby's favorite stuffed animal with you for a walk. Whether you are carrying them or they are in a carrier, make sure they are front facing for the best possible view. Let the baby know that you are "taking bear for a walk". Walk around the house first with both baby and the bear and make sure to animate the bear as if it is on your field trip with you. "Oh, what does bear see? Bear sees a ball." Point at objects and invite your child to point at the objects too. Take time at each stop and repeat the item several times. Then take your field trip outside and continue the game.
Baby Bit: As you move about, your baby will be learning new objects and words. Once you change scenery, they will begin to build memory skills. The new situation encourages them to apply what they are learning to the new environment and it builds more synaptic connections in the brain.
Play Dress Up (9-12 months old) - Who doesn't love a fun game of supervised dress-up? Collect a few baby proof items of clothing from your closet (hat, scarf, glove, shirt, shoe, sock, etc.) Grab one item and while demonstrating how it goes on you can say "Look! It's a hat. I put the hat on my head. You can do it too." You may need to show them more than once. You can ask "How does it look on mommy or daddy?" Then, prompt the baby to put the hat on their own head by placing it next to them and pointing to it and saying, "What's that? Is that a hat? Where does it go?" A baby is more likely to put the hat on their head themselves, especially if they see you put it on your head.
Baby Bit: Babies learn through imitation and at the 9-12 month stage the memory centers of the brain are developing. At this point, babies should begin to anticipate actions in a familiar game. So allowing them to imitate you will help them understand how relationships work.