There are so many things that your baby is learning at this stage. They are curious about everything and love to explore, which can be both exciting and scary for us parents. So it is our job to keep our babies busy and interested in safe and healthy things. Here are some great activities that you can engage in with your baby that will not only be fun for both of you, but will also help in the growth of their cognitive and motor skills as well.
Play Catch- Babies love to throw things. Whether it’s a toy, their bottle or sippy cup, food or their pacifier, if it’s in their hands chances are it will end up on the floor. Rest assured that they don’t do this to annoy you or because they don’t like the toys that you give them. They are actually implementing their cause and affect skills. When they throw their toys (or whatever), it’s because they want to see what the affect of throwing it will be; what will happen when it leaves their hands. Instead of taking away the toy that they are throwing, encourage this game by playing catch with them. Use a soft ball or a stuffed animal and every time they throw it toss it back to them. They will love playing this game with you, and they will probably enjoy this new affect of throwing things better than the previous affect of it just landing on the floor.
Play Hide and Seek- Your baby’s now at the stage where they know where something goes when it leaves their immediate line of vision. They no longer instantly forget about an object that is taken out of their view, but will actually look around for the missing object and may even know exactly where it is. You can encourage them with this new skill by playing hide and seek with them. For example, take a toy that they like to play with and hide it under a blanket or a pillow right in front of them. Chances are they will know to lift the blanket to find the toy. You can also play this game by hiding yourself. If your baby is crawling, get down on the floor with them and hide behind something, such as a door or a piece of furniture and then call their name to encourage them to come find you. Be sure your baby can see where you go so that they know where to look. You will both have a lot of fun and laughs with this game, and you will also be helping them improve on their problem solving and memory skills.
The Point and Name Game- Your baby is now beginning to place names with objects, people and pets. You can encourage this by pointing to things and naming them. For instance, point to your spouse and say “Dada” or “Mama”. Or say something like “Where’s Dada?” and see if they turn in the direction of their father. You can also point to an animal or pet and say “Kitty” or “Doggy” to teach them the proper words for that particular animal. Another fun and important name game is pointing to body parts and naming them. For example, point to your nose and say “nose”. Then take your baby’s hand and put it on your nose or their own nose and say “nose” again. Before you know it, your baby will be able to point things out whenever you name something and they’ll know what those words are and what they mean when they begin talking.
Dance and Sing- Dancing and singing is great fun for most babies. Even if their dance moves aren’t exactly recognizable as dancing and their singing is more babbling than anything, it’s fun to watch them shake their butts and create their own music. Singing may be mumbling and babbling now, but pretty soon those sounds will turn into actual words. And dancing helps your baby move their bodies and maintain balance at the same time, an important feat that will be needed when they begin to walk. So encourage your baby to sing and dance along to some music either in the car, on TV or on your home stereo. You can do this by dancing along with them whenever music starts to play. And singing to them frequently is a great way to encourage them to do the same. Don’t worry about not being able to carry a note or not having any rhythm. Just have fun, and trust me your baby won’t care what you look like when you’re doing it, just that you’re having fun and making them smile.