Activities: Ages 3-6 Months
1. picture cards
Developmental benefits: Visual stimulation
Instructions: Babies at three to six months are still stimulated by black and white images. At this age introducing images of animals and objects in this high-contrast format will create further interest and visual exploration. The bold images found in these printable cards contain images of everyday objects and animals in a way that will delight your child, and provide a visually stimulating activity that can travel anywhere you go! These images can also be seen in our So Smart! Sights and Sounds Video.
Print out the Picture Cards on your home printer and mount them to a sturdy cardboard. Use these cards as a "baby book," describing what you see. You can also use Velcro to mount these cards to a flat surface (test the surface first since the glue from the Velcro can damage many surfaces). Change the cards every couple of days to provide a novel environment.
Safety Tip: Cards should be handled by adults only. Print-outs from your computer are not baby-proof!
Developmental benefits: Physical activity and development; Body awareness; Motor coordination
Instructions: At this age it's important to give baby some time on her belly to exercise her neck muscles, and let her begin reaching in an attempt to crawl. While she is on her tummy, place a toy in front of her, and let her practice reaching for it. Make sure she is on a soft surface like a blanket, carpet, or gym mat.
Safety Tip: Remember to be gentle with baby. Never leave baby unattended.
3. batting puppet
Developmental benefits: Motor coordination
Instructions: Print out the images of the two faces provided. Using nontoxic glue, paste them "back to back" on a piece of cardboard or a paper plate. Punch a hole in the top and tie a short string (less than 3 inches) to it so that it can hang. Dangle the puppet in front of baby and watch her try to bat it. She will enjoy the transformation of one face to the other. Does she like one face better?
Safety Tip: Do not leave baby with this toy unattended. Make sure string is less than 3 inches
Developmental benefits: Bonding; Body awareness
Instructions: Massage is a wonderful way to bond with baby. It also has a wonderful effect on baby's health. Massage stimulates the vagus nerve responsible for digestion and helps baby digest and absorb food better. Studies have shown that massaging "preemies" helps them gain weight twice as fast as preemies that were not massaged! Try this infant massage technique, called the "Milking Technique." Using a cold pressed vegetable oil, massage baby's arms and legs with a milking motion. Gently squeeze and twist her arms and legs. Then massage baby's tummy and back with circular motions.
Safety Tip: Be extremely gentle with baby. Baby massage requires a much lighter touch than giving a massage to an adult.
5. clap hands
Developmental benefits: Rhythm
Instructions: While baby is in her bouncy seat, or your lap, listen to music and move her hands to the beat. Clap her hands together to the rhythm. Watch baby listen to music on her own. See if she can find the beat with her arm and leg movements. I bet you'll be surprised!
Safety Tip: Remember to be extremely gentle with baby.
Developmental benefits: Language acquisition
Instructions: Your baby is listening intently to her surroundings at this age and soaking up this buzzing world of words. It is important to talk to your baby at this age. One great way to do this (you might feel a little crazy doing this) is to describe what you are doing as you are doing it. For instance: "Now it's time to change your diaper…What a dirty diaper! Here I go...let's throw it out! Let's put on a new one..etc." Look at baby as you tell her what you are doing. Babies begin to understand language way before they utter their first word.
Safety Tip: Remember that quiet time is just as important to baby. Use your judgement in this area by reading baby's cues.