Continuing on from my earlier post on attention builders for babies, here are more specific activities you can do with your baby:
- Looking and listening to a book: Beginning from about 3-6 months, you can start “reading” to your baby. Using board books or cloth books with simple, clear images (Jill Stamm recommends Colors by Howard Shooter). The purpose is to share attention with your baby. You don’t have to read the book, just point out the pictures and label details along the way using “parentese“. For example, “Look at the beautiful blue butterfly fluttering by…”
- Face games: Make faces at your baby and wait for him to attempt to copy your expressions. Accompany your expressions with descriptions, for example, “This is my happy face!” Again make sure to use “parentese”.
- Puppet play: With your baby in your lap, introduce a simple puppet about 8-15 inches in front of his face. Simple puppets that have bright contrasting colours work best for young babies. An Elmo hand puppet or a panda hand puppet are great for babies. Do not leave your baby unattended with the puppet if there are small parts that can come off – such as the eyes. Alternatively, you can animate stuffed toys or make hand puppets with paper bags using coloured markers. You can also try sticking a photo of a familiar person onto your hand puppet.
- Peekaboo: Cover your face with a cloth “surprise” your baby as your drop the cloth and say “Peekaboo, I see you!” This game teaches your baby “object permanence” – that things exist even when it is out of sight. Alternatively, you can block your baby’s view of you by holding up a cloth in front of his eyes. You can also play “peekaboo” with body parts during dressing.
Up next: Attention builders for 6-18 Months.