How your 5-month-old might play now

    • She can reach out and grasp toys
    • He smiles at other babies—and his own reflection!
    • She can now "multitask"—for example, babbling and reaching for something at the same time
    • When offered a toy, he adjusts the position of his hand to accept it
    • She can roll from belly to back
    • To explore his world, he begins mouthing objects

Open and Close

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For several months after your baby is born, she has a reflex to grasp objects in her palm, but she has trouble letting go. Here’s a game to help her gain further control of her hands and her grasp reflex.


  • Medium-size toys easily grasped in your baby’s hands, such as rattles, stuffed animals, teething rings, blocks, and so on
  • Table or highchair


  • Collect a variety of graspable toys that fit in your baby’s hands.
  • Seat your baby in your lap next to the table or in her highchair.
  • Place a toy near your baby, so she has to reach a little to grasp it.
  • Encourage her to take the toy.
  • After she has grasped the toy and enjoyed it for a mument, gently peel open her fingers and remove the toy.
  • Place it back on the table.
  • While your baby’s hands are free, sing the following song as you open, shut, then clap your baby’s hands.
    Open, Close Them Open, close them, open, close them, Give a little clap! Open, close them, open close them, Put them in your lap!


Since your baby is sure to put all toys into her mouth during these months, be sure they are clean and have no sharp edges or small parts that could come loose and become a choking hazard.

Learning skills

  • Grasping and releasing
  • Fine motor development
  • Fine muscle control
Your child can learn

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