Caring for Mom

Playing with Baby: Activities to Boost Development

Playing with Baby: Activities to Boost Development

Your baby is growing up faster than you thought possible and learning new things every day about the world. For these first months, much of your child’s activity has been more passive – bonding with you and seeing the world from your arms. Now that your baby is ready to interact on a new level, it’s time to be more proactive. You can take steps to boost your baby’s development every day!

Encourage language development. Get your child learning more about language and talking by encouraging language development. Talk to your baby and introduce simple words by naming familiar objects. Encourage your baby to start vocalizing by waiting for a response when you are having a “conversation.” You can also read from books and point to the pictures to create associations between what your child sees and the words to describe them. This also helps baby learn the rhythm of language and the emotional connection behind words. Don’t feel you have to read everything in one go – your baby may benefit from just a few pages at a time.

Let your child discover sound. Discovering the world of music can be fun for everyone! Let your child play with rattles and teach her simple songs so she can start hearing the fun ways we can use sound. Babies love to hear and learn these songs and the actions that accompany them so she can follow along before she knows all the words. Plus, babies love finding an opportunity to make as much noise as possible. Let her bang an object on the table to see how it can make different sounds.

Use materials to stimulate senses. Make use of a variety of objects and materials for your child to play with and discover. He’ll love getting to wave, tug and often chew on the many different objects and surfaces you find. Playing with fuzzy fabrics, egg cartons, hollow objects, odd shapes, smooth surfaces and even warm or cold objects can help him experience and learn. Just be careful not to give him anything that could be a choking hazard!

Teach cause and effect. An important part of growing up is learning how actions have reactions. You can start teaching your baby about cause and effect by playing games like peek-a-boo or letting her play with items like light switches. Jack-in-the-box is a great toy to introduce this concept by showing how “Jack” bursts out of the box after the handle has been turned.

Model healthy habits. A simple way to help your child (and you!) for life is to model healthy habits. Limit time spent in front of a screen (TV, video games, computer), invest in a jogging stroller and go for a morning run with your child or try a “mommy and me” yoga class. Prepare him for a lifetime of healthy eating by cooking balanced meals and, when he gets older, let him help out in the kitchen.

Children grow up fast, but by actively participating in playtime, you can build a strong bond with your child for life.