Countless toys keep babies entertained for hours, not to mention what little tykes can create with a simple box and some imagination. But let’s say you want to do something special: Here are five unique learning activities for infants to engage their minds and bodies.
Babies can learn so much from pure, unadulterated playtime. The following list of games boosts your baby’s creativity and keeps their little bodies moving.
1. Hips wiggling
Wiggle Baby: Placing your baby on a safe, firm surface (on his back), lift and shake the baby’s legs up and down while making “boom-chick” sounds – boom for the downstroke or chick for the upstroke. This is a great way for both you and your baby to get in some great leg work. When the song ends, your baby may be kicking his legs so fast they’ll look like a blur!
2. Feet moving
Footloose: Toss a brightly-colored cloth or small blanket on top of the baby’s feet. As soon as the baby sees what you’ve done, he’ll start flapping his legs and moving them around, trying to get rid of the “tickle bug” on his foot!
3. Arms swinging
Swing Baby: Place a brightly-colored toy in front of your baby’s face and then wave it from left to right. Most babies won’t be able to resist trying to grab the toy, even without much coordination.
4. Fingers moving
This game is great for little ones who love music and are just figuring out how to grasp objects. It also gets the baby ready for finger-painting! Finger Dance: Tune in to your favorite radio station and place your baby’s hands against yours. Then, press down on his hands as if you’re playing the piano – first firmly, then softy. He’ll be amazed by this strange sensation and will probably start pressing back with all ten fingers!
5. Eyes darting
This game is an exceptional one for your infant because it takes the simple task of following an object from side to side and makes it challenging.
Eye Spy: Hold a brightly-colored toy in front of your baby’s face, about 1 foot away. Slowly move the toy from left to right and watch as your baby follows it with his eyes – up and down, around and around! The next step is to change up the speed a bit, first moving the toy slowly and then quickly.
6. Tummy time
Tummy Time: Place your baby on his tummy across your legs or thighs with his arms outstretched in front of him. Slowly massage each arm from shoulder to fingers as you sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” Then, gently tap your baby’s back, then his legs. Turn him over to the other side and repeat.
Every game or activity you play with your infant should conclude with a comfortable position. For example, after playing Tummy Time, let your child relax for about five minutes in an upright position so he feels safe and secure. Then, put him on his back with his arms at his sides and sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” until he drifts off to dreamland.