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11 Ways to Entertain a Baby and Toddler

Babies are eager to learn, and preschoolers are full of knowledge they're eager to share. Put the two together for maximum entertainment.
 

Learning Benefits

Hover over each Learning Benefit below for a detailed explanation.
Cognitive Skills
Motor Skills
Alphabet Recognition
Rhyming

Babies are eager to learn, and preschoolers are full of knowledge they're eager to share. Put the two together, introduce these activities, and watch what happens! As a preschooler "teaches," he cements his knowledge, and gains a sense of mastery, too. If your preschooler ignores any baby in his orbit — or prefers not to be the center of attention — you can step into the leading role at first. You may find that he's soon ready to join in the fun.

  1. Easy as ABC: Using flashcards, have your bigger kid show the baby the letters of the alphabet, reciting each one and talking about its accompanying picture. 
     
  2. Show Off Shapes: Help your preschooler draw different shapes on pieces of construction paper. Then present them to baby, with a running commentary on each one. Babies love to hear voices, and the preschooler develops her language skills. 
     
  3. Show and Tell: Have the preschooler gather some of her favorite things from around the house and present them to the baby. A simple demo provides exciting stimulation and interaction for both.
     
  4. Dance Dance Revolution: By 6 or 7 months, babies enjoy rhythm. Play some favorite songs and let toddlers dance, while baby claps and watches the fun. If you want to join in, take baby in your arms and dance too.  
     
  5. Shared Stories: Babies are learning to predict, which makes books with windows or flaps so much fun. Ask yourtoddler to find some of his favorite flap books. Let him "read" the book, using whatever words he likes and revealing the surprises to delight the baby. 
     
  6. Turtle Race: As baby begins to crawl and explore, the toddler can imitate his actions. She can place an object across the room and encourage baby to get it, or just have fun maneuvering around the room side by side. Your baby may be surprised to find he has a "pal" on the ground with him.
     
  7. Make Some Noise: Objects that make noise intrigue babies. Encourage your preschooler to punch pillows, tap on pots and pans, or shake a box of oatmeal — talking to baby all the while. Or make a noise box that both children can kick. 
     
  8. Funny Faces: At 3 or 4 months, babies like to look in the mirror, and at other people's faces. Suggest that your toddler make funny faces by sticking out his tongue, trying on hats, and making wide eyes to get baby's attention. Little ones can also tear pictures of people from magazine covers and show them to baby, make up stories about each one, and describe what each person is wearing. 
     
  9. Cause and Effect: Babies are learning that their actions can make things happen.  Toddlers can knock on the door, ring the doorbell, turn on the light switch or water faucet, or roll a ball to knock over plastic bowling pins. When something "happens," encourage her to make a big deal of it. Baby is sure to smile. 
     
  10. Play-by-Play: Challenge your toddler to tell the baby about everything he is doing. Ask him to whisper, clap, and sing. Babies will be fascinated by this running commentary.
     
  11. The Great Old-Fashioneds: Blocks, plastic containers, and stacking cups never lose their appeal. Set them out for baby and toddler to nest, sort, pile up, and tip over.

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