Ideas for stimulating your baby

ideas for stimulating your baby

Stimulating your baby’s fine motor development in the bath and on the floor.

Successful play ideas are:

SIMPLE . . . FUN . . . AFFORDABLE . . . NOVEL . . . REPEATED

Successful play ideas:

STIMULATE THE SENSES . . . CHALLENGE THE MOTOR ABILITIES

REMEMBER TO:

TUNE INTO YOU :

  • Are you in the right mood?
  • Are you relaxed?
  • Do you have the energy?
  • Are you ready to play with love?

If YES, then you are ready for some fun.

TUNE INTO YOUR BABY :

  • Is she well fed?
  • Has he slept enough?
  • Is she in a good mood?
  • Is he in a quiet alert state?

If YES, then baby is ready for some fun. 

HAPPY HANDS – ENHANCING FINE MOTOR DEVELOPMENT

IN THE BATH – – – WITH YOUR TINY BABY (0-3 months)

Hands are mostly clenched at this stage, and they are often up close to the face and mouth to help baby “hold it together”, as she helps herself regulate.

  • With your loving touch, kiss and caress her hands, enjoying the miracle of such tiny fingers and nails.
  • Gently massage her little hands, palms and fingers.
  • Toward the 3 month stage, bring hands to the midline and use a soft sponge to rub her hands, encouraging her eyes to engage on her hands and the object.

IN THE BATH – – – WITH YOUR ENGAGING BABY (3-6 months)

Head and hands become steady in the midline. She is now fascinated with her hands, gaining some control of them so that she can swat, reach and grab.

  • Place a slightly textured sponge or a netting body scrub on her chest, and watch as she brings both her hands together, trapping it in the midline.
  • Place a face cloth on her chest and watch in wonder as she tries to scratch at it, learning to use her hands and fingers.
  • Drip water from the sponge or cloth, onto her hands, and watch as they come up to reach.

IN THE BATH – – – WITH YOUR INTERACTIVE BABY (6-9months)

Babies at this stage, love to interact with and copy you, so make the most of this ‘give and take’ play.

  • Encourage your baby to bang two toys together, by demonstrating or assisting her.
  • Hide toys in bubble bath foam. Your baby can practice reaching for and finding the toy.
  • Find toys with holes in, and demonstrate or assist your baby to poke with her index finger.

IN THE BATH – – – WITH YOUR BUSY BABY (9-12 months)

This is a time for exploration and self-discovery. Babies learn what they are capable of in order to make an impact on the world.

  • Collect a variety of sponges, scrubbing brushes and pot scourers to make water play a fun sensory experience. Make holes into the base of a plastic container and make rain.
  • Try spraying some shaving foam onto the side of the bath and encourage baby to use her index finger to ‘draw’ in the foam.
  • Give baby a bowl and a variety of items that sink or float e.g. toy car, cork, rubber ball, metal spoon. Baby will have fun retrieving the toys and placing them into the container.
PLACE A BASKET OR TOY BOX IN EACH ROOM, AND SLOWLY FILL IT WITH AGE APPROPRIATE OBJECTS AND TOYS

ON THE FLOOR – – – WITH YOUR TINY BABY (0-3 months)

At this age, you are your baby’s favourite play thing. He only has eyes for you, so indulge each other.

  • While gazing into your baby’s adoring eyes, gently take both his little hands up to your face. Rub his hands on your cheeks, mouth and hair.
  • While singing gently, take both his hands and rub them against your clothing, giving him interesting touch experiences.

ON THE FLOOR – – – WITH YOUR ENGAGING BABY (3-6 months)

Alternate time on tummy and time on back as baby learns to use all her muscles. She will also learn to reach from both these positions.

  • Playgyms are useful toys at this age. If you do not have one, string a thick cord between two chairs and attach some large, noisy, textured objects onto elastic, for your baby to reach for and grab.
  • Try some of the following: a rattle, a small sieve or tea strainer, a sock filled with a plastic bag, a set of measuring spoons.

ON THE FLOOR – – – WITH YOUR INTERACTIVE BABY (6-9months)

Remember to follow your baby’s interests and reinforce the importance of what he is doing.

  • Your baby will love banging, so sit him on the floor with a pot and a wooden spoon. Show him how to drum.
  • Attach a favourite toy onto thick string and place the toy out of reach. Show baby how to pull the string in order to pull the toy closer. Babies love string and cord as they develop a pinching grip.
  • Make a tower of blocks or empty margarine tubs, just out of reach and to the side of your sitting baby. Encourage him to reach for and knock down the tower.

ON THE FLOOR – – – WITH YOUR BUSY BABY (9-12 months)

There is a growing desire for independence and babies need to be given this space. Activities need to be novel and fun.

  • Place cooked rice or peas into a muffin tray and watch how baby practices picking them out with his index and thumb in a pinching grip. He will also love posting balls into the muffin tray.
  • Place a sucker stick or plastic spoon into a lump of playdough. Encourage baby to strengthen his fingers by pulling the objects out of the playdough.
  • Babies love opening and closing – Try using a hinged shoe box. Place a variety of shaped and textured toys inside for baby to take out and put in.
WARNING: ALWAYS BE WITH YOUR BABY WHEN HE/SHE IS ENGAGING IN ANY OF THESE ACTIVITIES.

By Kate Bailey