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Developmental Activities for Newborns

During bath time, try gently stretching each arm and leg when you are washing your child. Touch your infant's feet. Notice your infant's reaction. Your infant will eventually stretch his/her whole body. When this happens, use loose clothing that will allow this important exercise.

Rocking and singing are soothing activities for your infant. You can use music from your favorite child's recording, iPod, or ones you make up, (infants love to hear your voice). Try to do this in a quiet place. Pick simple songs.

Infants love to hear your voice and watch you even when folding the laundry! When folding the socks, say, "Socks go on your feet" then hold your infant's feet and jiggle them. Continue with the rest of the clothes. It will make the task more fun when you share it with your infant.

Infants are attracted to the contrasting colors, (black, white, and red). On a sheet of white paper, draw a face with black hair, eyebrows, eyes, nose, and a red mouth. Tape your 'masterpiece' to the inside of the crib or car window. Infants see best when viewing objects 7" to 9" away from the face. Does your infant enjoy viewing your artwork?

When you hold your infant close to you, look into your infant's eyes. Vision is blurred at first. Infants can see best at the distance your infant is during feeding time. When you speak to your infant, use a soft, steady voice. This helps your infant feel safe, secure, and loved.

Playing with your infant helps you bond and enjoy each other's company. Laugh, sing, and talk with your infant. Being present is more important than your choice of words or singing ability. Your infant loves being with you!

By talking 'sweetly' to your infant, your infant will feel loved. Your soft, steady voice is comforting to your infant.

Hearing is a sensory experience for your child. Place a large piece of paper under your infant. It should be long enough to stay in place in order for your infant to be able to kick and hear the sound it makes.

Your infant may be beginning to track your finger moving slowly from side to side. Try moving a small toy from side to side while your infant is secured in an infant seat. Infants are usually attracted to the color red at this age, but any bright colored toy will do. Hide the toy behind your back asking, "Where Is It?" Pop it out saying, "Here it is."

Children love poetry! Recite the rhyme as you touch each of your infant's toes. "This little pig went to market. This little pig stayed home. This little pig had roast beef. This little pig had none. And this little pig cried 'Wee-wee-wee all the way home'."

Children learn using the sense of sight. Place your child in an infant seat facing you. Take a stuffed animal and say, "Here is a baby bear." Take the bear and put it behind your back as you tell your child, "Where did the bear go"? Place the bear in front of your child again saying, "Here is baby bear." Repeat the activity.

As your child faces you, place a sticker on your forehead and watch the reaction. After awhile, place the sticker on another part of your face, (your chin, nose, eyelid, tongue, cheek), as you repeat the activity.

Find a colorful silk scarf (or handkerchief). Lay your infant on a soft blanket facing up. Move the scarf over your infant's head. Observe how your infant follows the scarf.

Children love seeing themselves! Hang a non-breakable mirror on the wall at floor level in your infant's room. Place your infant in front of the mirror. Observe your infant's reaction. How does your infant respond?

There are so many sounds for your infant to hear! Your infant loves it when you make "raspberries" with your tongue. Make other sounds such as whistling or humming.

Children understand language through play. While your infant is on a soft blanket, hold both of your infant's hands in yours and stretch your infant's arms gently out. Curl them in and wrap them in a hug about your infant's body. Say "In again", "Out again" as you continue.

While your infant is on a soft blanket, take your infant's legs and bend them gently so the knees come close to the stomach. Stretch the legs down again. Sing this song to the tune of "London Bridge," "Bend your knees and stretch your legs, stretch your legs, stretch your legs,..."

Take some time today to capture the beauty of your infant through photographs that you will cherish for years to come! Surround your infant with special stuffed animals and take several photos. You will be thankful to have these precious memories as your infant begins to grow and change in the coming months.

As you go about your day today, speak to your infant as to what you are doing. "I'm getting my keys." "Here are my keys. "Now we will turn off the light and open the door..." Although your infant is unable to respond, infants love to hear your voice and be included in your world. By talking about what you are doing, you are including your child in your day and setting the stage to be able to speak when the time comes.

Infants love hearing nursery rhymes. The book Mother Goose's "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep" is one example of a rhyme your infant may enjoy hearing. If you are holding your infant, you can move to the rhythm of the words.

Your child loves to play with you! Play, "I'm going to get you." Move your fingers up and down. Gently go toward your infant while saying, "I'm going to get you." When you reach your infant's stomach say, "I love you." What does your infant do?

Feeding time can be a social time for you and your infant. If you are nursing or using a bottle, talk to your infant. Tell your child a story or about your day or what's on your mind.

After bath time, try gently, (but somewhat firmly), massaging your infant's body. If your infant has discomfort, a massage may be calming and soothing. Massaging your infant's feet can be especially relaxing. Lightly encircle one of your infant's limbs with your hand. Lightly massage your infant's hand or foot in a circular motion. Repeat for all the limbs. Using 2 fingers, slowly massage your infant's trunk in clockwise circles. Turn your infant over and massage your infant's back. Repetitive downward massaging is calming for your infant.

Spend some time today allowing your infant to look into your eyes. Infants this age are easily overstimulated with all they are exposed to on a daily basis. Spending time looking at one another allows you both to slow down and simply bond through eye contact.

Playing with your infant strengthens your relationship. Place your infant on a soft blanket or in an infant seat. Put a cloth over your face. Pull it away and say, "Peek-a-boo!"

Create a photo album of all the important people in your infant's life. Enlarge each picture. Go through the book and say each person's name. The photos could also be posted on a bulletin board with names written under the photos.

Play airplane with your infant. Hold infant child under the stomach. Sway back and forth singing a song or just saying, "Wee!"

Your infant learns language concepts through play. While your infant is on a soft blanket, hold your infant's hands. Gently bring your infant's hands down to the sides of the body. Gently bring them up to a wide arc above your infant's head. Repeat as you sing, "Here we go up. Now we come down."

Infants seem to be in constant motion when awake. Put a blanket on the floor. Lay your infant on the blanket. Observe how your infant moves. Talk to your infant about the moves, "You are moving your legs."

Your infant is absorbing language and learning to trust you. Talk to your infant about everything you do when you are together. "I am taking you to the kitchen." "I am changing your diaper." Communication is important in developing early bonds with your infant.

Introduce your infant to cause and effect with this fun activity. Attach one end of a piece of string around your infant's foot, and the other end tautly to the ring/link of the hanging toy. Stay close, showing your infant how kicking makes the toy above move. Enjoy watching your infant kick with delight and gusto! This activity will introduce your infant to cause and effect, a developmental skill.

Children love hearing funny words! Place your infant in an infant seat. Make noises with your mouth. It is okay to be silly. Say things like, "Dada" or other 'baby' sounds. Observe your infant's reactions to the sounds you make.

Children love to hear the rhythm of rhymes! Clap your hands and recite the rhyme:

"Pease porridge hot, Pease porridge cold. Pease porridge in the pot, Nine days old.
Some like it hot, Some like it cold. Some like it in the pot, Nine days old. "

This fun infant game is a good way to exercise neck muscles. Lay your infant facing up on a soft blanket. Hold on to your infant's hands and wrists then count, "One, Two, Three, Up!". Gently pull your infant to a sitting position. Gently lower your infant back down to the lying position, then repeat.

Children love to hear you sing! Sing, "Rain, Rain, Go Away. Rain, rain go away, come again another day. Drip, drop, drip, drop." Repeat a few times. Your infant will like the drip drop part. You can add to the song, "It's raining, it's pouring, etc."

Bring your infant's hands together. Recite the following: "Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man. Bake me a cake as fast as you can. Pat it and prick it and mark it with a B. Put it in the oven for baby and me."

It is important for your infant to be on the tummy for short periods of time throughout the day. This important exercise will help strengthen the upper part of your infant's body. You may want to place one or two objects on the floor in front of your infant or join your infant on the floor yourself.

Love is expressed when you hold your infant close, speaking softly, saying, "I love your so much!" Hearing this message everyday will help your infant feel important, secure, and loved.

Swaddling your infant in a blanket retains body heat and provides a feeling of security. Your infant will sense safety, security, and love.

When you feed your infant, you are satisfying your infant's need for nourishment. You are also building trust with your infant. When your infant cries and you lovingly respond to meet a need, you are building trust with your infant.

Dancing with your infant is a wonderful way to calm and make your infant feel loved. Play your favorite music softly and hold your infant securely against your chest, dancing slowly and smoothly around the room.

Holding your infant under the chest 'tummy down,' using one or both of your arms, may be comforting for your infant. Combining a swaying motion as you hold your infant may also be calming to your infant. Knowing you care helps your infant feel secure.

Your infant will love when you blow on different parts of the body. Have fun with this activity. Blow on your infant's stomach, feet, face, etc. How does your infant react? Can you find your infant's favorite place?

Put your finger in your infant's right palm. Did your infant grasp your finger? Infants often have a strong grasp in the first month of life. Make this exercise a part of your daily routine. Use the left palm as well.

Your infant loves to hear your voice. Tell your infant what you are doing. Describe your infant's surroundings. Be sure to pause and speak softly. Look to see if your infant reacts by moving when you speak.

Swaddling, snuggling, and hearing your voice will help your infant feel secure. During your infant's first month, vision is blurred. During feeding, your child sees you the best. Vision for color usually matures at 4 or 5 months.

Hold your infant facing you. Tell your infant a story. Pause. Wait for your infant to make noise. When your infant is finished "talking," it is your turn. This is called 'taking turns'. Teach this technique to other members of your family. This is an important preparation for language.

Your infant may like to be lifted up into the air. Lift your infant above your head. Bring your infant down close to your mouth. Kiss and lift your infant up again.