If you have a lot of toys on display, pack half or a third away in containers and rotate the containers each week or every few days depending on how much time you spend at home. This makes activities and toys new and exciting over and over again. Remember to allow time for your baby to discover the environment and everyday items. Here are some ideas:;
Taste and smell
- Offer an increasing variety of appropriate foods. Vary the texture and the taste;
- Give your baby the opportunity to smell the tantalising aromas that waft from the kitchen as the evening meal is prepared (even if it is only baked beans on toast);
- Smell the flowers and herbs in the garden.
See, watch and touch
- Provide floor time with toys slightly out of reach;
- Allow inside and outside play on a mat with a variety of toys. Expose their bare feet to different safe textured surfaces such as cement, grass, sand, water, dirt and pebbles.
Hear and speech
- Rubbing and patting games and songs such as ‘Pat-a-cake’, ‘Round and round the garden’;
- Read a variety of books including rhyming ones and ones with noise buttons;
- Talk about anything and everything when out shopping, visiting or walking;
- When your baby makes a sound, cough, or babble make it back with a smile in an interested tone;
- Once your baby can sit up, read bath books during bath time;
- Look at family photo albums or scrap books together.
Reaching, posting and tipping
- Have available fun safe objects in an open container. Your baby will enjoy this activity when they can sit unsupported. Allow time to search through the container or box and turn it over;
- Have a removable lid with a large cut out hole allowing toys to be posted back in;
- Dangle toys on the stroller or across a chair leg when your little one is lying nearby to encourage kicking and reaching.
Sound and music
- Plastic juice bottles filled with bits and pieces and a firmly taped on lid makes for wonderful sounds;
- Make noise with a bell or drum when your baby is not looking;
- Walk on the beach or in the bush and listen to the sounds of silence;
- Play music of all varieties and volumes. Include saucepans and plastic containers;
- Expose your baby to natural everyday sounds – this may mean avoiding having the television or radio constantly playing in the background.
Hide and seek or peek-a-boo
- Hide yourself or hide an object under or behind something;
- Praise your baby when they successfully find it.
- Crawl after your baby taking your time to catch up or have them crawl after you and catch you.
Tug of war
- Have a scarf or tea towel just out of reach, when your baby takes it, gently tug on it and if they make an effort to hold on let them have it to play with.
Cups and blocks
- Let your baby pile them, push them, stack them, crash them, roll them, and put things in them.
Rolling and tumbling
- Hold your baby laying over a fit ball, first on the front and then on the back and gently rock and roll;
- Sit on a low chair and encourage your baby to roll down the gentle incline of your legs positioned straight out in front of you;
- Cuddle her while you are lying down and gently roll from side to side.
Enjoy spending time exploring and learning together, these precious times when they’re so intrigued by everything you do won’t last forever!