Saturday, March 16, 2013

10 activities you can do with your baby

So, you are a motivated parent that want to help your baby learn... but you don't really know how. That little being is so little! There are many doubts that can come to your mind, but the most usual one is a literal "What can I do?". This is not a school aged kid that you can teach the science behind baking some muffins, nor a toddler who you can play ball with. No maths, no reading, no running or walking or even crawling (some rolling, maybe), no talking. What can you do, educationally talking, with a kid that age? There doesn't look like there's much, does it?

But the truth is that train of thought is wrong. 

You can do everything. With minds that young, everything is an educational experience. Breathing, eating, listening, watching... all those things they've never experienced before are things your baby learns from. It will never be so easy to plan an educative activity for your little one.

Want some ideas?

  1. Give her different foods to eat. Even something so simple as a sip of water can be mindblowing for a newborn and, lets be honest, we're probably talking more about 6 months olds than newborns here, so no need to stick only to water. Of course, follow always your doctor's advice, but some drops of clear, pure water (boiled or bottled, so there are no nasty bugs at all) won't do any harm.
  2. Help him smell flowers, herbs, a perfume... No need to go all fancy here either: when you are cooking pass the oregano close to his nose, let him smell a rose when you come close to one, wear a soft perfume while cuddling him... anything will do. If you want to plan it a bit more, search contrasting smells: minty, sweet, flowery, spicy, soft and strong, good and bad: you can let him smell a clove of garlic first and then a lavender sachet, and see if he reacts differently.
  3. Tickles! Soft feathery tickles for the younger ones, closer to a massage than anything else; giggle inducing tickles for an older baby. Kiss the palms of her hands, gently scratch the soles of his feet, pass a lock of your hair through her face. Oath loves it when I try to eat his chin!
  4. Sing songs, and not only nursery rhymes: your favorite song, some mindless humming, a childhood favorite... the more varied the better. Sing some loud and others whispering, some more monotonous and others in full tune. And do not be afraid to get it wrong! Your baby loves your voice and it's different inflections, and doesn't care if you miss a note or got the words wrong.
  5. While we're talking about music, we shouldn't forget dancing. Dance in front of your baby, so he can see you, and dance with your baby. Different tunes, so he gets to experience the simpler rhythm of a vals and the not so rhythmic bouncing around you do when you're just being silly.
  6. Show her some simple colorful figures or things. A red ball, a yellow flower, a striped jacket... look for bold colors in big blocks at first (red, black and white are a good starting point) and get her attention to subtler things when she's older. Extra points if you tell her out loud what she's looking at (lots of "Look! There's a lamplight down there, Oath, isn't it pretty? And the green of all those leaves makes you happy, doesn't it?" have been heard a lot around here while looking through the window)
  7. Sensory books are a whole world worth's experiencing. You get the whole package with many of them: colors, shapes, sounds, textures... even smells! And a book is a great toy to get your baby used to.
  8. Lap games, as in games you play with the baby sitting (or laying) on your lap. Bouncing him up and down are the most common ones, but there are many others, popular in different countries. The one Oath loves more is to grab my hands, lean close to my face and then throw himself back until he's upside down, giggling.
  9. And, of course, reading! We covered that in another post, already, so you can go here for more details.
  10. Last but not least, a complete sensory experience that many kids love: bathtime. The warm water, the trickling sounds, splashing, soap bubbles and soap smell... and all the cute toys you can toss in the bathtub to play with!

Those are only 10 of the many that have come to my mind today. I'm sure you can find many more that you are already doing with your little one! Remember, anything can be a learning experience for them, so do not be afraid to show them new things!

 Oath's mom

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