Posts Tagged toys

Baby Play – Developmental Activities for Your Baby

baby activities, tummy time

Tummy Time
Tummy time is one of the earliest ways your baby will learn to play. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that infants always sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDs, but they also recommend that babies get plenty of tummy time when they’re awake and alert enough to play. Tummy time helps develop your baby’s neck and upper-body muscles for better head control and also helps prevent the back of her head from becoming flat. The AAP says you can begin tummy time the first day your baby is home from the hospital. Place her on her tummy for three to five minutes at a time, up to three times a day or as often as she seems to enjoy it. Increase tummy time as your baby gets older and stronger, and place toys in front of her to encourage reaching, creeping, and eventually crawling. 

baby activities, fun with faces

Fun with Faces
Babies love to explore the world through touch. Allow your little one to feel the different parts of your face and his stuffed animals’ faces with his hands. Say the names of the parts of the face as he touches them, and direct your baby’s hand to touch his own nose, mouth, ears, and more. Guide your baby’s hands to your face while you speak and make facial expressions so that he can get to know how we use our faces to communicate. 

baby activities, fun with boxes

Babies and Boxes
Boxes are so much fun! There’s no need to buy fancy blocks to build your infant’s motor skills. Wrap up some smaller boxes (such as cereal boxes or shoe boxes) with recycled newspaper or wrapping paper and allow your baby to handle them and learn to rip them open. She will love the sound of the paper ripping as she pulls on it. She will also enjoy stacking boxes, knocking them over, and rebuilding the stack with your help. 

baby activities, pull toy

String Along
You can turn just about toy into a pull-along toy. Simply attach a piece of yarn or a shoelace to your baby’s toy truck or the arm of his stuffed animal, and encourage your little one to give it a tug. He’ll be delighted to see the effect of pulling his toy on a string! As he begins to crawl, put the string just out of his reach so that he has to move to grab it and reel-in his toy. 

baby activities, silly time

Silly Stuff
What could be better than making your baby laugh? It’s not just good for your soul — it helps her develop her sense of a humor, which is an important part of human communication. Pay attention to whatever your baby finds funny, and repeat it. Use props like funny hats, big sunglasses, and mirrors to make your baby giggle. 

baby activities, feeling textures

Testing Out Textures
As your baby begins to scoot and crawl, try laying rugs, blankets, or items with different textures on the floor for him to explore as he travels across them. Nubby carpet remnants, sticky contact paper, and noisy bubble wrap are just a few ideas. Also, carry your baby around and help him feel the textures of different surfaces, such as a cool brick wall or a round staircase banister. 

baby activities, bath toys

Water Play
Splish splash! You don’t have to save water play for bath time: Fill a small plastic tub with water and various squirty toys, plastic cups, kitchen ladles, and other items that you and your tot can use to make a splash. Non-toxic bubble bath adds another fascinating element to water play. Just remember never to leave your baby unattended near water, even for a moment. 

baby activities, point and learn

Pointing Power
It’s not polite to point — unless you’re a baby (or playing with a baby)! Carry your baby around and point to different objects and things while saying what they are. Even if your baby isn’t showing signs of speaking or making many sounds yet, he is listening and observing as you speak. Point to things and ask, “What’s this?” You’ll be amazed one day when he is able to answer you! 

baby activities, soft catch

Floating Catch
Get it! Gentle games of catch give babies a thrill — and help develop their hand/eye coordination. Gather some lightweight, colorful scarves and toss them in the air so that they float down in front of your baby and she can attempt to grab them. If you don’t have scarves, you can use non-toxic bubbles in your game of catch. 

baby activities, kitchen fun

Cupboard Fun
If your baby is on the move, he’s surely curious to raid your cupboards. Instead of making them all baby proof, leave one designated for play — it’s a great way to allow some controlled exploration in the kitchen. Put some pots, pans, wooden spoons, and other safe objects within their baby’s reach so that he can entertain himself while Mom or Dad is busy in the kitchen. You probably have a talented little drummer on your hands! Before you know it, baby will be stirring up imaginary meals, modeling his parents. 

baby activities, three toys

That Makes Three
Hmm… which toy is the best? Give your baby two toys so that he’s holding one in each hand. Offer a third toy so that he can practice his decision-making skills: Should I exchange one of my toys for this other one? Can I try to hold all three?! It’s a physical and mental exercise for your little guy.

baby activities, reading to infant

Baby Bookworm
Reading is a fun escape and a mellow form of play — a great habit for a child to get hooked on at a young age. Hearing new words and seeing colorful pictures will stimulate your baby’s brain. At the end of a busy, playful day, make reading a bedtime story part of your bedtime routine, and carry it through to the toddler years and beyond. 

The Guide to Toy Shopping

 

Sure, all your child’s toys look like fun, but are they safe? Here’s a quick checklist of what to look for when shopping for playthings:

  1. Read – and heed – those warning labels. Don’t be tempted to buy a toy that’s labeled for an older child, no matter how cute it is.
  2. Look out for sharp points, edges, and corners. Run your fingers all around the toy, remembering that babies stick things in their eyes, ears, and mouths (and possibly their noses).
  3. Check out cords and strings. Too long a dangle is a definite no-no since babies can get entangled – or worse, strangled.
  4. Avoid loose or little parts. That includes sewn-on teddy-bear noses and eyes and anything small enough to be swallowed.
  5. Sturdy and strong are a must. Any toy you’re considering should be shatterproof, and if it does break, it shouldn’t expose any sharp edges.
  6. Too loud? Leave it behind. Your baby’s sensitive hearing can be damaged by loud noises, so check the volume (or volume control) in advance.
  7. Make sure it’s nontoxic. This is especially important with arts and crafts supplies or any toy that contains liquid.
    Check the recall list. A quick look at government-sponsored sites like Consumer Product Safety Commission and Recalls.gov will tell you if a toy means trouble.

Should I Get My Child A Pet ?

Your Child and Pet


Whether it’s playing with a pooch or petting a purring kitty, there’s no doubt that pets can bring their owners (young and old) plenty of joy. But the advantages of pet ownership go well beyond the fact that they’re cuddly and lots of fun. So if you’ve been wondering whether this is the right time to add a four-legged (or two-winged or multi-finned) critter to your family, here are a few reasons why getting a pet may be a very good idea:

THE BENEFITS OF PETS: THEY TEACH KIDS VALUES
With a pet in the house, even the youngest toddler can pick up a few pointers about responsibility. Of course you’ll take on most of the pet-care chores, but your tot will absorb a lot from your nurturing example, like the importance of being kind and gentle. He can even lend a tiny hand with the easier jobs, like pouring food into a dish. By pitching in, he’ll realize that pets, just like people, need food, shelter, exercise, and love, teaching him valuable lessons about empathy and compassion.

THE BENEFITS OF PETS: THEY BOOST SELF-ESTEEM
There’s research showing that kids with family pets have higher self-esteem. Why? Probably because they have a four-legged (or two-legged) creature to love who loves them right back, and a friend to talk to and play with when no one else is around. Later on, when your child starts school, your pet can even boost his academic skills. Studies show that reading aloud to a loyal (and nonjudgmental) companion, like a dog, can turn a reluctant reader into a self-confident one. What’s not to love about that?

THE BENEFITS OF PETS: THEY’RE GOOD FOR EVERYONE’S HEALTH
Experts say that children who grow up with pets are less likely to develop common allergies thanks to early exposure to certain bacteria. (Of course, some children are genuinely allergic to animals — so check on that before you take the plunge.) And some research shows that pet owners tend to get sick less often — in fact, a 2012 study determined that children who lived with dogs were generally healthier during their first year of life, with fewer respiratory problems and less frequent ear infections than kids without canines. Another pro to pets? Brushing, patting, or stroking a furry creature can lower stress levels — and that’s just as true for moms and dads as it is for kids.

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