As thinking skills mature and your baby begins to understand more complex concepts, try games that encourage natural curiosity, and busy activity toys with lots of features to explore.
He can respond to one or two simple instructions
She may anticipate the "surprise" phrase in favorite children's songs
With you holding his hands, he may walk
She mimics more, copying others' actions
He likes to play peek-a-boo—and peek around corners, too
She can anticipate and remember simple sequences, such as expecting food when you open the pantry
He begins to show preferences for the different sounds he hears in language
Encourage baby to pull up and stand by pointing out features near the top: “I wonder what will happen if we push this button up here?”
Clear a path on all sides of the toy so your baby can pull up and cruise all around it. Babies who are learning to stand and balance appreciate sturdy support.
Reinforce language concepts by using descriptive words as you and your child play with the toy: “Look! His nose lights up!”
Basic learning. Educational toys like these expose your child to basic building blocks of early learning … simple concepts like letters, numbers, shapes and colors. Talk about these when you play with your child, extending them to other parts of baby's world to help them make more sense. "That's the number five. Here are five crackers."
Now for a game. Add interest by playing letter or number games. Pick a letter and find something in the room that begins with that letter. Say the name of the letter and the name of the item out loud for baby: "That's a D. D is for Daddy." You're extending his learning, but don’t worry about teaching actual letters or numbers at this age.
Surprise! Sit with your child on the floor and point out different surprises, colors and shapes on the toy.
Build baby's excitement and anticipation by calling attention to what might happen: "I wonder where the ball is?" That gets baby to think, even at this young age, about estimation.
Use words and descriptive terms as much as possible in "conversations" with your baby; children of this age enjoy listening and vocalizing.
Measuring up. When baby plays with his toy, let him see you using its “real-world” counterpart. Measure something with a ruler and watch your child make the connection between his toy and your tool.
Sing along with baby's musical toys. Once she hears you, she'll want to join in!
Shaping the day. As you go about your day, reinforce baby's understanding of shapes. “Look at your plate—it's a circle, too!”
Give baby a “taste” of real kitchen equipment. Set out plastic cups and bowls and let him stack and sort to his heart's delight. Add a spoon into the mix and he’ll make music for you, too!
1) Always pay close attention to the age recommendations on toys and choose one according to a child’s age, interest and skill level.
Parents often feel they must occupy baby's every waking moment or boredom will set in. Not so. Not only is learning how to play alone an important skill to grasp, but baby will be more cheerful overall if you don't play together 100 percent of the time.
Parents can foster problem-solving skills by creating a stimulating environment. Offer your baby an interesting toy; with a little encouragement, baby will become absorbed in the intricacies of a shape sorter or nesting cups.