Compiled from parenting.com
There’s nothing wrong with store-bought playthings, but here are fun, stimulating things you can do better:
1. Reinforce the “Aha!” Think of your baby as a budding scientist and watch for moments of revelation: the smile in the bath that means “Yes! I get the rubber duck when I’m in the water!” The waving arms that translate as “When Daddy makes that face, I’m going to be tickled!” Fulfill your infant’s simple expectations and share her joy at being right.
2. Hold your baby upright when he’s alert. Infants see most clearly when they’re vertical, not horizontal. So prop him up in your lap to show him new objects, and hold him up to look over your shoulder when you take him on a tour of his brand-new world.
3. Develop facial as well as verbal dialogues. Well before babies can even baby talk, you’ll see your infant attempt to replicate your facial expressions. Make different faces and watch how her interest perks up. “Listen” and respond to her expressions.
4. Rock ‘n’ roll. To satisfy your baby’s craving for motion, waltz him around the room, swing him gently to and fro, bounce him slowly up and down, sit in a swivel chair and see how he takes to a spin in your lap.
5. Encourage tasting. Think of her mouth as a sensuous space probe, gathering data about her personal cosmos. Avoiding objects too small, sharp, or grimy, let her lick that soup spoon, gum that cup, or chomp on a bread crust.
6. Read aloud. Don’t worry about “big words.” Nursery rhymes, books—the more variations in language a baby hears in his favorite voices, the more captivated he’ll be. Choose some books with lots of repetitive language, which babies like for their predictability.
7. Sing—with or without words. Forget the lyrics to your favorite lullaby? Hum it. Musical notes without all those consonants and vowels are a simpler and often more soothing form of stimulation.