Your little one is now a whirlwind of baby activities at this age as he learns to manipulate his body from head to toe. He should be sitting, creeping, crawling and even standing during this period as he practices his gross motor movement.
Hand-mouth coordination is a favourite thing at this stage. He is getting better and better at holding, dropping and throwing things. As you introduce your little one to solids, give him a chance to hold his own cutlery and cup, so he can begin learning these basics of self-help. It’s a messy job, we know! But a necessary one.
On the communication front, he is listening raptly to words you use, taking them in, and making further sense of them. He would understand frequently used words/phrases by now like, “No”, “Yes”, “Come”, “Go”, “Sleep”, “Time to eat”, “Want some water?”; and he understands words he cares about such as, “Mommy”, “Daddy” and “Doggy”. His use of body language is also much improved now and he can communicate through nodding, shaking his head, pointing, reaching for an object/person and waving.
His sense of self is more developed now too and shows itself in little to no separation anxiety and a renewed curiosity and need for exploration.
This is also a vital time in your child’s need for social interaction and although he may have some stranger and/or separation anxiety, help him through it by playing games that teach social development and object permanence.
ACTIVITIES WITH YOUR BABY
- AT THE ZOO
At this stage, your little one loves to make sounds so take an imaginary trip to the zoo to stimulate your child’s listening and language skills. All you need are stuffed animals/pictures of animals, your voice and his car seat. With your child in his seat, hold up an animal or picture next to your face and make the animal’s sound. Make sure your child can see your lips in an effort to mimic you.
- WHERE DID IT GO?
This is a game in object permanence, cause & effect, anticipation & surprise, and problem solving. You need a cardboard tube, permanent markers, stickers and small toys. Decorate the tube with the craft items to make it more interesting to your baby and put it on the floor with the toys. Sit with your baby and position the tube at 45 degrees into his lap. Drop a toy into it while asking him, “Where did it go?” and say, “There it is” when it reappears in his laps. Repeat until he gets tired of the game.
- UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS
Crawling may be your baby’s primary focus at this stage. Help him to get in some practice while learning about exploration, problem solving and gross motor development. All you need to do is find some stairs appropriate for your baby to climb. Sit at the bottom with your baby and place a toy on the first step. As he reaches for it, place other on the next step. Help him learn to climb by bending his knee and placing his hands on the step. Repeat the process a few times going both up and down a number of steps.
Keep the staircase enclosed with safety gates at the top and bottom at all times, when not using it.
- TUNNEL TRIP
As your little one begins to move around the room, make movement more fun with a tunnel trip. He discovers new ways to move himself and a surprise at the end of the tunnel. This is a great way to practice cognitive skills, depth perception, object permanence and problem solving. All you need is a large card box box and soft blanket. Cut both ends off the box to make a tunnel and position your baby at one end so he can crawl through. Go to the other end of the tunnel and call out to your child, making sure he can see you. Try to get him to come into and through the box and reach in to help gently pull him through if he needs the help. Repeat this several times. Vary the game by hiding behind the blanket and guiding your child through with just your voice.
- TOUCH ‘N’ TELL
The environment provides a lot of stimulation for your child’s senses. This activity incorporates a variety of things to explore. Prepare a variety of interesting foods for your baby to touch, taste and smell. Let him play with one food at a time, exploring it with his hands and mouth before switching it out for another. Vary the textures and colors of foods. Watch his expression as he examines each new food and make sure to describe each item as you place it in front of him.
- TIPSY TEETER TOTTER
This is a great way to challenge him into mastering balancing. You only need a towel and your legs. Fold the towel into a cushion and place it on your thigh, seating your baby on it, facing you. As you balance him on your leg, move your leg around slowly, trying to let go of one one of his hands at a time. Turn him in the opposite direction and repeat.
Squeezers is a fun activity for gross and fine motor skills. Collect a variety of squeezable items and seat your child securely in his high chair. Place one item on his tray for a few minutes at a time. Repeat until he explores all the items.
- SNOW SCAPE
This is a great activity in the winter. Or you can just make your own using a blender. Collect some clean, soft and flaky “snow”. Seat your baby in his highchair and put a cup of “snow” on his tray. Let him explore the properties of snow with his senses. For added visual stimulation, you can add a few drops of food coloring.
- SINK OR FLOAT
Your baby begins to understand how the world works about now and you can help him to classify items according to similarities. He’ll think these differences and similarities are magical, but soon he’ll learn the science. Fill his bathtub with warm water and gently lower him into it. Place one floating item into the tub and say, “It floats!”. After a minute, place a sinkable item into the tub and say, “It sinks!”. Alternate items to keep his interest, then let him drop the items in the tub himself.
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- SILLY SPOT
Body awareness is an important developmental task as your baby learns to sit, creep, crawl, and walk. This game helps your baby find the Silly Spot! Dress him only in a diaper and prop him up in his seat or on the floor. Sit opposite him and have a batch of small colorful stickers nearby. Show him one of the stickers, then quickly stick it somewhere on his body, without showing him where it’s going. Remove your hand and ask your baby, “Where’s the sticker?”. Look on his body for the sticker. Check his hands, then say, “Noooo, not there.” Keep checking until you discover the sticker, then say, “Here it is!” and show your baby the sticker on his body. Repeat this in different places. After a few times, give your baby a chance to search for the sticker himself and give him hints if he needs them.
- PORCUPINE PAL
Create a plaything that can be used three ways—as a puppet, as a texture toy, and as a fine motor manipulator. The Porcupine Pal does all three, so plan on spending lots of time with your baby and this fun toy.
You will need a garden glove, fake fur, fabric scraps, needle and thread. Sew the fur on the back of the glove to create the porcupine’s “quills”. Sew the fabric all over the glove and add eyes, nose, mouth and other details. Your glove is ready! Take turns with your baby to sing, talk, move and wear the puppet.
- POP GOES THE PARENT
Babies enjoy the game of jack-in-the-box, but the game becomes even more fun when the parent becomes Jack! All you have to do is find a great big box, and you’ll delight your baby with a great big surprise.
- PICK A PEA
Your baby is learning to use his fingers more and more and what better way to help him train this skill than to engage in an activity of pick the pea. Seat your baby in his highchair with the tray attached and pour a half cup of frozen peas onto the tray. Let him enjoy the challenge of picking up the peas and putting them in his mouth. You can do this activity together in the beginning if he needs guidance on what to do.
- ICE PALACE
This is one of many fun bathtub baby activities. Fill different containers (ice tray/molds, balloons, etc.) with water, add a few drops of food coloring and freeze overnight. Use as many different colors as possible. Fill the bathtub with warm water and gently lower your little one into the water. Put the different colored ice into the tub and let your baby try to pick them up/push them down. You can variate this game by putting small figurines on the blocks of ice and letting your baby watch them drop off as the ice melts.
Your baby now has a wide range of emotions – joy, sadness, anger, guilt, pride, etc. This activity helps to express positive emotions and learn body parts. While singing the song, “If You Are Happy And You Know It”, move the corresponding body part of your baby as you sing.