12 extremely stimulating and fun activities to do with your baby
The first years of a child's life are a prime time for learning, and infant-development experts believe that activities we engage our babies in can stimulate this learning in many different ways.
This does by all means not mean that you should skip play- or snuggle-time for active leaning, but rather try to incorporate some of these fun and stimulating activities into your day – and don't worry, you will enjoy them just as much as your baby does.
Here are 12 fun ways to help your baby develop, grow and learn about the world around him:
1. Make eye contact
This will stimulate baby's vision. Infants recognise faces early on - and yours is the most important. Remember that every time your baby stares at you, she is building her memory.
2. Stick out your tongue
Studies show that newborns as young as two days old can imitate simple facial movements – apparently it's a sign of very early problem solving.
3. Look in the mirror
Have your baby stare at himself in the mirror. At first, he may think he's just eyeing another cute kid, but he'll love making the "other" baby wave his arms and smile.
4. Keep talking
All you may get is a blank look – for now. But leave short pauses in your talk, where your baby (if he could) would speak. Soon he'll catch on to the rhythm of conversation and start filling in the blanks. We can't wait!
5. Sing me a song
Research have suggested that learning the rhythms of music is linked to learning math. Meaning; that if you want your little bundle to do well in school in a few years, you better keep hammering out the tunes now. Good news? Your baby won't mind in the slightest if you can't carry a tune to save your life.
6. Tickle her toes
Laughter is the first step in developing a sense of humour. And playing games like "This little piggy" (finish by tickling her under the chin) or "I'm gonna get you" teaches your baby about anticipation.
7. Chat your way through nappy changes
Use moments on the changing mat to teach body parts or pieces of clothing. Narrate to help your baby learn to anticipate routines. Great for language development and remember to sneak in some snuggles and kisses too! (As if you had to be reminded!)
8. Be a climbing frame
Lie down on the floor, and let your baby climb and crawl all over you. It's cheaper than a jungle gym and lots more fun! Bonus? You'll help boost her coordination and problem-solving skills.
9. DIY an obstacle course
Boost motor skills by placing sofa cushions, pillows, boxes, or toys on the floor and then show your baby how to crawl over, under, and around the items. This is actually equally fun for you, mams and dads!
10. Encourage playing with her food
Meal times are great for practising her pincer grasp (picking up small bits like cereals or raisins works a treat for this) and exploring her senses.
11. Pick it up
Even if it seems like your baby repeatedly drops toys off her high chair just to drive you nuts, go fetch. She's learning and testing the laws of gravity. That's right. Your one-year-old is performing science experiences at every mealtime.
12. Change the scenery
Switch the high chair to the other side of the table. You'll challenge his memory of where things are placed at meals.