Engage Your Baby’s Senses

December 27, 2018

Your baby is constantly learning, by soaking up every new sight, sound and sensation.
Provide her with a learning-rich environment by presenting her with these sensory
experiences.

Make eye contact.

Take advantage of those brief moments when your newborn’s eyes are open, and look right into them. Infants recognize faces early on—and yours is the most important! Each time he stares at you, he’s building his memory.

Have her compare pictures.

Try holding up two pictures about 8 to 12 inches away from your baby’s face. They should
be similar but have one small difference (perhaps a tree is in one but not the other). Even a young infant will look back and forth and figure out the distinguishing features, which sets the stage for letter recognition and reading later on.

Change the scenery.

Switch your toddler’s high chair to the other side of the table. You’ll challenge his memory of where things are placed at meals.

Narrate your walks.

Take your baby on walks in a front carrier, sling or backpack and narrate what you see—
“That’s a little dog” or “Look at those big trees!” or “Did you hear that fire engine?”—to give
your baby endless vocabulary-building opportunities.

Go shopping together.

When you need a break from your song and dance, just visit the supermarket. The faces,
sounds and colors there provide perfect baby entertainment.

Grab a tissue or two.

If your baby loves pulling tissues out of the box, let him! For a few cents, you’ve got sensory playthings that he can crumple or smooth out. Hide small toys under them, and thrill your tot when you “find” them again.

Get touchy-feely with different materials.

Keep a box of different-textured fabrics: silk, terry cloth, wool and linen. Gently rub the cloths on your baby’s cheek, feet and tummy, describing the way each feels.

Take a touching tour of the house.

Walk around the house with your babe in arms, and touch his hand to the cool window,
some soft laundry, a smooth plant leaf and other safe objects, labeling items as you go.

Let your child play with her food.

When she’s ready, serve foods that vary in texture—including cooked peas, cereal, pasta or chunks of cantaloupe. She’ll get to practice her pincer grasp and explore her senses.

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