Your eight-month-old may enjoy picking things up, passing toys from hand to hand, and starting to associate words with objects.
He may be able to crawl in both directions
She starts to connect two behaviors together
He's beginning to understand "object permanence," that objects don't disappear when they're out of view
She remembers recent events
His fine motor skills have improved, allowing him to pick up tiny objects
She begins to articulate sounds, beginning with vowels
Show me! Start by exploring all the features of a toy together—show your child how to press keys, flip pages, bat rollers. At this age, it's probably best to focus on action/reaction rather than moving into ABCs and 123s.
Words,words,words. This is the time when babies are building their receptive language, so the more words they hear, the more words they become familiar with. Reinforce receptive language skills by saying the names of the colors, shapes and animals that you see. "Do you hear the horn?" "Let's make the puppy move." "What do you think the monkey says?"
Surprise. Sit with your child on the floor and point out different surprises, colors and shapes on the toy. Most easy-to-activate features will be near the bottom, within easy reach for baby.
Use words and descriptive terms as much as possible in "conversations" with your baby; children of this age enjoy listening and vocalizing.
Move and groove. Exercise baby's growing muscles by encouraging her to push or crawl after a toy. Can she pull herself up and stand holding onto it? Give her lots of encouragement and you'll find out!
Before sorting shapes, help your baby learn "empty, full" and "in, out." Narrate as baby plays: "You're putting the red block in. It's round." Deliberately say the shape and the color, and whether it's going in or out. When all the blocks are out, say "empty." When they're all in, say "full."
When baby’s ready for shape sorting, put away all the shapes except the round ones. Let your child experiment with getting the circle in the correct opening. If it’s a struggle, point out the round opening and say, "Try this." Baby might get it, but if not, have the patience for trial and error.
Master of the round. Once round shapes are mastered, put those blocks away and say, "Now let's try the square ones." And when baby can sort that shape, try both together—this may be the same day, or the next day, or in a week or so. It all depends on when baby's ready.
You did it! Demonstrate activities on the toy, then encourage your child to do the same: "I turned the dial … now it's your turn!" "Do you think we'll hear a squeak when you press the button?" Simple mechanics will hold your child's attention – and improve fine motor skills at the same time.
Ready for red. Help your child learn to recognize colors by pointing out each one and slowly saying its name. Reinforce the learning by pointing out things in baby's world that are the same color: "See? Your shirt is red too."
Music calls up a host of emotions, making us laugh, cry, or feel exhilarated. We can use it to set a mood or tell a story. It's also a great way to stimulate your baby.
Age recommendations are guidelines for parents and gift-givers to use when purchasing toys for children.
It can be tough for parents to resist the temptation to interfere with baby's 'work.' But it's crucial for baby's development.