Children love to play with blocks! Give your child blocks that are small enough for your child's hands. Try building a simple tower. Let your child knock it down. What does your child do with the blocks? Stacking blocks will take time and your child will love doing this with you when older. Right now building and knocking down towers is a fun learning experience.
Children learn by using their sense of touch. Gather 2 long strips of velcro and show your child how they stick together. Hand them to your child and see what happens. Lay a strip on your child's high chair tray. Hand your child the other piece and see what your child does.
Your child will love when you make up silly rhymes! Hearing rhythm and rhyming provides a wonderful language experience for your child! Use the rhythm of the book "Brown Bear, Brown Bear," which can be found online. "Timmy, Timmy, what do you hear? I hear the duck quacking in my ear! Quack Quack!" Do the same with other animal sounds.
Pull and Push
Your child may be attempting to walk. Have your child stand, holding on to one end of the laundry basket filled with toys, while you hold on to the other end. Begin to gently pull the basket towards you and see if your child begins to push. This may take some practice.
Inside and Outside
Let's have fun with 'inside and outside' today! Go to a grocery store or other shop to locate a cardboard box large enough for your child to crawl through. Cut off ends so two sides are open. You may want to put some soft material on the inside of the box. If your child is crawling, let your child crawl inside the box. Say, "________is inside the box." Let your child crawl outside the box. Say, "_____________is outside the box." Do this several times. Try asking your child to go inside the box. Then ask your child to come outside.
Children love to be creative, (and messy), with this activity! Fill the bottom of a large container with corn meal. Let you child use hands and fingers to make designs.
Building With Blocks
Children love to play with blocks! Block play prepares your child for math concepts. Add new blocks, (different shapes) to the "Block Corner" in your child's play space. Engage with your child in building some simple towers or structures. Your child may only be interested in watching you build a tower and then knocking it down. Whatever your child wants to do is fine. Building with blocks will stimulate developmental skills over the years!
Today's activity presents a new way to be creative! Give your child a small container of water with baby bath liquid in it. Locate a small round brushes with a wide handle, (sometimes used to clean vegetables). Put the brush in the water and do circular motions on the patio, deck, or garage floor. Scrubbing helps develop fine motor skills, which are important for writing.
Children love hearing their name in this song! Sing the song using your child's name to the tune, "This is the way we comb our hair, comb our hair, comb our hair..." Try singing the song while dressing your child today: "Emily is wearing a blue dress, a blue dress, a blue dress. Emily is wearing a blue dress all day long." Repeat using the words: shoes, socks, etc.
Children love to feel motion. Place your child on a sheet and hold the ends together. Gently pull the sheet around the room as your child enjoys the ride.
Heavy and Light
This fun activity will help your child understand 'heavy' and 'light.' Place two plastic containers in front of your child. Put one spoon in one of the containers and fill the other container with 10-15 spoons. Put secure lids on both containers. Give the heavy container to your child. Have your child hold it with two hands. Say, "Heavy". Do the same with the light container, saying, "Light." Place both containers in front of your child. Ask your child to give you the light container. Ask your child to give you the heavy container. Hold other objects and repeat the words 'heavy' and 'light' frequently to reinforce the concept.
Children love to be silly. Place your child in front of a mirror. Put different hats on your child's head as you say, "Now you are a a baseball player." You can play as well putting hats on and having your child take them off.
Rough and Smooth
Children's sense of touch helps them learn. Locate three rough objects and three smooth objects, (bark of a tree, sandpaper, rough rock, velvet, leaf, silk). Put your child's hand on the piece of tree bark. Say, "Rough". Put your child's hand on the piece of velvet. Say, "Smooth". Go around the house and point out objects that are 'rough' and 'smooth.'
This fun activity will develop hand muscles. Put your child in the high chair and place a few small toys on the tray. Place a large mixing bowl on the floor next to the high chair. Have your child drop each toy into the mixing bowl. Show your child how to use a pincer grasp* when holding each toy.
*Pincer grasp is when your child uses the pointer finger and thumb to grasp an object.
This is a good time to introduce routines with your child. Before bed, do you read a book first, then sing, then say, "Night, Night"? Try doing the same routine, (whatever you do) so your child begins to understand it is time to go to sleep.
Your child learns using the sense of hearing. Find a bell, a shaker, a drum, and keys. Hide all of these objects under a blanket. Put your hands under the blanket and make a sound with one of the objects. Pull out the object and say, "Bell". Continue with the other sounds.
Children love the feel and sound of tearing paper. Gather different kinds of paper, (wrapping, tissue, notebook, etc). Show your child how to tear the paper and put it in the empty trash basket. Make sure you have different kinds of paper that will make a variety of sounds.
Your child will love the feel of squeezing a nerf, (sponge) ball! Put a nerf ball in a large bowl of water. Squeeze it with your two hands. Repeat the activity putting the nerf ball in your child's hands. Watch your child squeeze the ball! This activity promotes the development of your child's hand muscles, which is important for writing.
Children love books especially made for them. Take photos of your child's toys. Place them in a photo album and 'read' it to your child.
Ball and Bowl
Visual tracking is important for your child's development. Locate a large mixing bowl and small plastic ball. Drop the ball in the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly until the ball rolls around. Observe your child tracking the movement of the ball. Let your child drop the ball in the bowl and repeat.
Where is the sound? Put instruments around the room. Put a music box under a blanket. Put a triangle under another blanket. Put a shaker under another blanket. Put the three blankets in different parts of the room. Go to one of the blankets and wind up the music box. Leave the box under the blanket. Ask your child, "Can you find the music box?" Observe your child. Continue with the other instruments.
Rolling a Ball
Children love to play with balls! This activity will develop eye/hand coordination, an important pre-reading skill for your child. Enjoy playing the game "Ball Roll" with your child. Select two or three balls of different sizes. Sit a short distance from your child at first. Spread your legs apart and encourage your child to do so. Roll one ball at a time to your child. Ask your child to roll it back to you.
Keep a laundry basket in your child's play space. Fill it with balls of all sizes. Your child may tip it over and spend a long time playing with the balls. What does your child do with the balls?
Children love to experiment with new materials. Cut out a circle, triangle, square, and rectangle out of colored construction paper. Tape a large sheet of paper to a table and show your child how to roll a washable glue stick on the backs of the shapes. After your child spreads the paste around, help your child place and push each shape down. Have a dish of soapy water close by to wash your child's sticky hands.
Children learn by using their sense of hearing! Locate 5 child size socks, (all the same color), 15 jingle bells, (all the same size). Put 1 bell in first sock, 2 in the second, etc. Tie the socks with ribbons. Sit across from your child. Shake each sock beginning with one bell. Let your child do the same. Observe what your child does with this activity. Put the socks in a basket on the toy shelf for your child to enjoy over and over again. (Be sure the bells are secured in the socks.)
Children love special albums made by you for them. Take photos of the rooms in your home. Place the photos in an album and label each with a short sentence: "John's room has a bed and a book shelf, " etc. Place the photo on the left side of the album and the short sentence on the right side.
Have fun matching an animal to the words in this song! Line up the farm animals and sing "OLD MCDONALD HAD A FARM."
Pick up each animal when you hear its name to make the noise. (You can hand the animal to your child to pick up!) If you have animal puppets, it is even more fun!
Children love to be silly with you. Locate finger puppets or make them yourself. (Take a light colored glove and use a permanent marker to make a face on each finger. You can cut out the hand part of the glove, leaving 5 fingers.) Have the puppets speak (using different voices) to your child.
There are a variety of sorting toys for your child to enjoy. Pick a simple one that has three or four cut out shapes. Make sure the shapes fit easily into the cut out shapes of the toy. Let your child experiment putting the shapes in the matching slots. Show your child how to open the toy and empty the shapes so your child can do it again. This activity may take a long time for your child to master all the shapes.
Children love to pretend talking with you. Locate two used cell phones, (or play phones) so both you and your child can 'converse'. Talk with your child and wait for your child to 'respond' to you with sounds. Do this back and forth. Your child may not want to sit very long for this activity. If this is the case, try another time.
Hickory, Dickory, Dock
Rhyming enhances brain development. Place your child facing you on your lap. Move back and forth to the rhythm of your words:
"Tick, tock, tick, tock. (Repeat)
Hickory, dickory, dock
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one,The mouse ran down,
Hickory, dickory dock. Tick, tock, tick, tock." (Repeat)
Share some new sounds with your child today! Create objects having different sounds. Put macaroni in a small plastic container with a secure top. Put sand in another container. Put jingle bells in another. Shake each one. Encourage your child to shake each one. Say, "I hear bells ringing." "I hear a soft sound." "I hear a loud sound."
Inside and Outside
This activity will help your child begin to understand 'inside and outside.' Put six toys inside a pillow case and sit facing your child. Take out one toy. Say, "The horse is outside the pillow case." Put the horse in the pillow case. Say, "The horse is inside the pillow case." Do this with the other toys. Language concepts take time to understand fully. These words need to be repeated often.
Wait until you see what children can do with paper! Save used wrapping and tissue paper from gifts. Let your child play with the paper. Wad it up. Enjoy watching your child crawl on it and rip it. Your child will delight in the sounds that are created when you play together with paper.
Sing a song about the sounds in your house! (Tune: "The Wheels on the Bus") The telephone in the house goes ring, ring, ring; ring, ring, ring; ring, ring, ring. The telephone in the house goes ring, ring, ring; All through the house. The washing machine goes whish, whish, whish," etc. Make up other verses.
Your infant is used to hearing your voice. Go to a quiet space and whisper in your infant's ear. Whisper in the other ear. Is your infant turning the head to hear each sound?
Children learn using the sense of smell! Put the following in small unbreakable containers: a piece of banana, a flower, some basil leaves, other spices. Put each one near your child's nose. Name the object in each container.
Let's make a bouncing ball today! A sturdy plastic ball with openings is a good one to use for this activity. Tie the ball to a piece of elastic and hang it in a safe place for your child to reach. (Remember to secure the piece of elastic to a sturdy object.) Pull on the ball and let it go. Encourage your child to do the same. Did your child enjoy watching the ball 'bounce'?
Children develop coordination with practice and concentration. Place a cooking pot upside down on the floor in front of your child. Your child may need some help in turning it right side up. Next, show your child the lid that fits the pot and show how it fits in place. Let your child experiment. Becoming coordinated takes time and patience. Try another time if your child becomes frustrated.
Your child learns through the sense of touch. Let your child experience different textures outside. Weather permitting, put your child down on the grass. Encourage your child to move toward you. Lift your child up and let your child grab onto tree leaves. Let your child feel and smell a flower. If the weather is cold, experience the feel of tree trunks and twigs, pine cones, or any other outdoor textures.
Children enjoy the game of "Peek-a-boo". This time put the scarf over your infant's face. Pull it off and say, "Peek-a Boo"!
Infants love to move and stretch. Place your infant tummy down on a pillow. See if your infant tries to push forward or rock back and forth. Try to hold your infant's feet up to see if this encourages any forward movement. Use caution in order to avoid falls. Your infant will move when ready.
Young children love to see themselves and others in the mirror! Sit with your child in front of the mirror. "I see________in the mirror" "I see mommy/ daddy in the mirror." "I see your stuffed animal in the mirror." Put a mirror at eye level for your child. What does your child do?
Children are introduced to solid food around this age. Put frozen peas on your child's high chair tray. Cut up a banana and put it on the tray. (Don't worry about messes.) Steam vegetables and put them on your child's tray. Let your child explore different kinds of healthy food. Start making a list of the foods your child likes. Make eating time a social and fun time for your child!
Going to Get You!
Children love this game! Crawl behind your child and say, "I'm going to get you!" Gently grab and lift your child in the air and say, "I have you!" Enjoy spending special times with your child laughing and having fun together. You are building a special relationship with your child when you do this.