Activities to Support Healthy Brain Development
- Once your baby is old enough to sit unsupported, you can introduce a small toy such as a duck or a boat to play with while taking a bath. Let them feel the toy moving through the water and splashing them.
- With a small scarf or blanket, sit while holding your baby put the scarf over your eyes. Say, “Where’s Mommy? Peek a boo!” Then put the scarf quickly over the baby’s eyes and do the same thing.
- Select a variety of toys for baby to shake, bang, palm, grasp, dump and pass between hands. Offering different toys will encourage him to use his hands and fingers in different ways.
- Find different balls with different textures and allow baby to hold each one. Allow baby to explore with hands and mouth.
- Have several hats available, and put one on while sitting across from your baby. Make silly faces and put the hat on the baby’s head. Allow the baby to remove it and play with the other hats, allowing her to crawl, stretch and use her arm muscles.
- Talk with your child about everything he does. Give words to all the parts of her world.
- Hold your baby in your lap while you look at pictures and read stories. Talk about what you see and encourage your baby to touch the book and point to pictures.
- Find or make a puppet that has eyes and a mouth. Call the baby’s name and try to get his attention. Offer simple commands to your baby through the puppet, such as “Can you touch the puppet’s nose?” or “can you wave to the puppet?”
- Place a small, unbreakable mirror where the baby can see herself during regular routines, such as diaper changing or feeding. Talk to your baby about what she sees in the mirror. Tell her what you see in the mirror, such as her pretty eyes or smiling mouth. Ask her to point to herself when she sees herself in the mirror.
- Use an oatmeal box to create a small drum. Sit down near your child and make small tapping sounds on your drum. Encourage the baby to crawl toward the sounds. Invite the baby to help you make sounds.
- Offer your baby a spoon as soon as she is old enough to sit in a high chair. She will begin making brain connections showing that the spoon is a part of mealtimes before she is actually ready to use it.
- Offering age appropriate foods with different textures allows the baby to use multiple senses to discover their world. Finger foods offer textures for babies to explore using their hands and mouth.
- Encourage your baby to wave to other people when riding in the cart at the grocery store.
- Take baby outside and let him explore in a safe area. Hang a birdfeeder, and sit together on a blanket and watch the birds. Blow bubbles and allow baby to try to catch them. Tie streamers to a tree and watch them blow in the breeze. Let baby crawl on a safe part of the grass and feel the grass with their hands and feet.