Knowing the process by which your child is growing gives you many options to help support and advance development. Use the below activities to ignite your child’s interest, engage in a playful interaction, or foster his development across multiple areas.
For all of these activities, closely supervise your child, and only use materials you feel are safe and appropriate for your baby. Dress your child for mess, choose a good environment to allow the minimum number of corrections or restrictions (e.g., do it in the bath tub, under a splat mat, or outside), and use each as an opportunity to extend his vocabulary while you interact. Talk about what you notice, ask interesting questions, and help your child discover as he explores. Allow some quiet time for him to be doing his own thinking and wondering as well. There is not a predetermined end product with any of these, so enjoy your child’s approach and provide multiple opportunities for him to return to the same activity, as this is how confidence is built and how children go beyond basic level interactions to more advanced problem solving and creative thinking.
Sometimes it’s hard to think of activities to use for babies in their first year. Many of the activities below will delight, engage, and entertain your little one, even if you are the one doing most of the action. For additional ideas for the smallest learners, check out these two sites:
- Week-by-week play guide: http://www.babycenter.ca/baby/development/letsplay/
- Extensive library of activities for every age and stage of early childhood: http://www.productiveparenting.com/aspx/ActivityLibrary.aspx