From day one, your curious cherub will rely on his five senses to understand the world around him. As his thinking ability isn’t quite developed, his understanding of what goes on around him will be quite different from ours. For instance, your little one wouldn’t know that a steaming cup of coffee will be hot to the touch.
Giving him different objects to play with will add to his experiences. This will enhance his sensory and overall development in the long run, and ensure that he stays strong.
Incidentally, your peewee’s playtime shouldn’t be just about leaving him with his toys while you tend to your chores or check your social media feeds. These easy playtime hacks are all about having fun together and bonding, even as you power his senses!
1) Use your facial expressions
Get down on the floor and make different facial expressions as you gaze into baby’s eyes. Also, explain to her how these reflect your moods. He won’t just be learning to focus his eyes on you — something he’ll be able to do by 4 months — he’s acquiring vital social skills as well.
2) Different day, different play area
Switch the location of your baby’s play area from time to time. Apart from his room, try along the corridor, and even the open space near the living room. Doing so will give him exposure to exciting elements around the house — from different fabrics to various kinds of household equipment. Just remember to ALWAYS keep an eye on junior.
3) Move objects
Encourage him to keep his eyes on a particular toy that you are moving across his line of sight. Besides improving his vision, he’ll wise up to the concept of object position and its distance from each other. When he’s older, put his toys beyond an arm’s length reach ― then cheer him as he tries to grab it ― to hone his motor skills.
4) Talk, read or sing to baby
Parents who have to grapple with naptime issues know this ― babies are extremely sensitive to sounds. So, take advantage during the day to constantly talk to your baby. To enhance his language skills, name objects and explain what you are doing, and he’ll learn to imitate you in the months to come. It also helps him derive meaning from speech. Singing nursery rhymes introduces concepts like rhythms, beats, tones and pitch. By reading to him at a young age, you are describing a picture without needing any written words. Be vivid in using words to describe characters and the actions they are carrying out.
5) Give him a rattle
Rattles are essential tools to enhance your little one’s sight and hearing. His eyes will be drawn naturally to the source of the sound. Rather than buying one, why not fill an empty container with beans? It’ll work just as brilliantly, too!
6) Tickle and touch
Besides seeing him dissolve into a giggling fit when you tickle his tummy, you’ll also be introducing him to different sensations. Try making a beeping sound when you point and gently touch different parts of his body. In time, you’ll realise that he can react in anticipation.
7) Offer food with different tastes and textures
After six months of subsisting on the sweetness of breastmilk or formula, offering him new tastes may surprise him when you start offering him solids. By about 7 to 8 months, your baby will have developed the skills to hold finger foods. Let him try new foods and explore different textures with a variety of soft fruits and vegetables like scraped banana or puréed pumpkin. Progress to a wider variety of foods with varying tastes and textures over time as you’d want to nurture his discerning taste buds!
8) Include cause-and-effect toys
Toys that squeak when pressed or produce lights and sounds when a button is pushed are great for your little learner. With such multi-sensory toys, he’ll interact with an object to get a desired result and learn the concept of cause and effect.
9) Play in different positions
Try this: Hold baby away from your body, then lift him up in the air and lower him as you make swishing sounds. Varying your positions of play will train his sense of movement and balance. Be sure to look out for the ceiling fans though!
10) Play peekaboo
This is a fave with babies aged 4 months and up ― hide your tot’s toys under a pillow or his blankie, then ask him, “Where did it go?” Besides training his sense of sight, it will boost his memory, too.
11) Take her outside
Some parents are skittish about taking their baby outdoors because of the heat or fear that he’ll pick up nasty germs. But it doesn’t have to be far ― even a short walk along your common corridor to look at the surrounding scenery can give him something new to look at. Just draw his attention to different things by pointing and naming them. You can venture out to further locations such as the playground or park gradually.
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