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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Games for 3 to 6 Months

Textures. Grab a basket and fill it with things of all textures - cloth, clean sponges, twigs, leaves, etc. And, while supervised, let baby feel each item and describe each feeling as you go (rough, smooth, soft, prickly, etc.) Helps baby develop her sense of touch.

Clink Clunk. Using an empty oatmeal container, place one of baby's small toys inside (while she doesn't see) and close the lid. Shake the container gently and roll it back and forth on the floor to see what noises it makes, saying "What could that be?" Then, while baby is watching, open the can and roll out the toy, saying "Oh! It was you..." Encourages visual and audio tracking, and reinforces the concept that things exist even when baby can't see them.

Tummy Slide. Lay baby on her tummy and place a toy in front of her, just out her reach. Use your hands to press against her feet. She will press her feet against your hands, causing her to slide forward towards her toy. Strengthens baby's upper body and leg muscles and helps prepare her for crawling. Improves problem solving skills.

Talk Back. Use a favorite stuffed toy in front of baby's face, making it dance. When baby begins babbling, with the stuffed animal in front of her face, make the exact same sounds. When baby repeats, use the same sound again and add a few more. For example, if baby says "da!" You might respond "da-da-oh". If baby responds again, be sure to make a big fuss! Encourages baby to vocalize.

Cause and Effect. Puff your cheeks with air and use baby's hands or fingers to press them, blowing air out of your mouth. You can do a variety of things, even adding silly things like having baby grab your finger and sticking out your tongue. Helps baby learn cause and effect.

Wiggle. Turn on some upbeat music and wiggle and shake. Then stop. Wiggle or shake one body at a time, starting with fingertips all the way to your toes. Change the tempo, either speeding things up or slowing things down. Stop, and wiggle your fingers up and down on baby's body. Finish by clapping baby's hands or tapping baby's feet. Improves body awareness and exposes baby to both movement and music.

Ball Play. Using a large inflated ball or exercise ball, put baby on her tummy on the ball. Hold her steady and gently roll the ball slightly backwards and forwards and side to side. Helps develop neck muscles and balance.

Mirror Time. Put baby in front of a mirror and let her play. She won't understand that the baby is her yet, but she'll love that when she does something, so will the baby in the mirror. Helps baby begin to realize what a reflection is.

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