Simple activities that help your baby learn
Little things you do each day, like talking, singing, playing and reading, can have a big and positive impact on your baby’s development — right from the very start. Try these simple activities and add them to your daily routine.
Newborn up to six months
- At feeding, nappy change or play time, spend some time face-to-face and close up. Experiment with different facial expressions and movements and see if your baby can react or copy you. This is early communication and your baby is learning to engage with you. Respond to your baby’s movements and sounds as if they are starting a conversation with you.
- Talk gently with your baby as you go about your day. It may seem silly at first but your child learns language by hearing it and every conversation counts.
- Sing songs and rhymes. Ones with actions and repetition are especially good. If you need a crash course on these, your local library rhyme time session is a great place to start. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to get out of the house and socialise with other adults!
- As your baby becomes more alert, play games like peek-a-boo and round and round the mulberry bush.
- Point out and name things as you experience them (at the shops, pictures in books). Use gestures to help with understanding (like waving for goodbye and hello or shaking your head for no).
- Look for black and white, sensory touch and feel or lift the flap books at your local library. While you’re there, sign up for a library card. It’s never too early!
Up to 12 months
As your baby grows, they will start pointing at objects to communicate. It’s important to respond with the words they’re seeking as well as provide opportunities to expand their knowledge. For example “Truck! That’s your toy truck. What noise does a truck make?”
- Join in at playtime and follow your child’s lead on sparks their curiosity. Talk about your experiences as you go.
- Sing and do the actions for nursery rhymes like Head, shoulders, knees and toes and Twinkle, twinkle little star. Try not to speed up the tempo as babies learn more following a slower pace.
- Take a trip to the local library together and join in on a free storytime or rhymetime session. Look for books together that interest your child. Allow them to explore books and turn the pages. It doesn’t matter if you don’t read it start to finish or read the words at all. What’s important is the conversation you have and the time you spend together.
- Keep books around the house and where your child can reach. Storytime is best when it can happen anytime!
- Repeat favourite books again and again. You may get bored but little ones love revisiting favourites and delight in knowing what comes next.
- Provide opportunities for your child to play and discover. Empty the plastics drawer and experiment with stacking. Pots, pans and wooden spoons make great instruments. Go outside and see what fun you can make with with some water, sand, dirt or all three!