BIRTH TO 4 MONTHS
General motor and binocular development
- Playfully move baby’s arms and legs, at first each part separately, then together
- Raise and lower baby while you look into each other’s eyes
- Bounce baby gently on the bed or on your knee
- Gently and playfully massage baby’s body with baby lotion or powder.
- Place a picture of a face 20-30 cm from the baby’s eyes. The face should be about 25 cm in diameter and the eyes 3 cm in diameter. Place the face on one side of the crib, but change sides regularly until about 2 months, then hang it from the middle of the crib.
- Hang a patterned piece of material on the crib with a bell attached.
- Provide a multi-coloured object for baby to look at. Place objects in various positions within view. Give opportunities to look in different directions.
- Make sure baby does not face one side of the crib or a wall, using one eye all the time. Change baby’s position, or the crib, occasionally.
- Hold baby on opposite sides of your body while feeding so baby gets a chance to use each eye.
- With your face 20 to 30 cm in front of baby, talk and sing to them while you slowly move to one side of his/her body then the other. This gives the baby opportunities to follow you with his/her eyes, to the right, left, upward toward the head and downwards to the toes.
- Take a large patterned object (eg. a doll or balloon) with a bell attached, then move it in front of baby’s face, about 20 to 25 cm from in front of eyes.
- Make a bridge between the two sides of the crib, and attach a multi-coloured object on it that can be made to swing.
Visual auditory co-ordination
- Place noisy rattles with different textures in baby’s hands so they can be shaken and put into the mouth.
- Put squeaky rubber toys in their hands 3. Speak to your baby, no matter where you are in the room.
- Make a bridge across the two sides of the crib and hang objects there that will invite swatting. Make sure the objects change pattern or make a noise as they move.
- Hang a mobile of a smiling face over the crib.
General motor and bilateral development
- Holding your baby’s hands, gently lift them from the crib, and then slowly lower them.
- Place baby’s face down across a large round cushion. Gently roll them over until their hands touch the ground, then roll them back until knees touch the ground.
- Place a kickable mobile at the end of the crib.
- Place small objects in baby’s reach so they can practise their grasping and holding abilities.
- Place a plastic mirror (without sharp edges) in a place where the baby will catch a view of itself.
- Place stuffed toys of different sizes and colours around the room for baby to look at.
- Roll a patterned ball toward baby as they sit on the floor.
- Play peekaboo with baby.
- Allow baby time everyday on their stomach with their field of view unobstructed so they can watch the comings and goings of objects in their field. Make sure there are interesting things to see at the ¾ to 1 metre distance.
- Call baby’s attention to you as you crawl behind a piece of furniture, and then emerge from the other side.
- Walk in front of your baby, pulling a desirable toy such as an animal on a string.
- Jiggle a set of keys approximately 30 cm from baby’s eyes to stimulate eye following abilities. Do this from left to right and back, then up and down, then towards and away
- Roll objects down an incline in front of baby so they can watch what they do.
- While lying on his/her back, provide an eye-hand gym for baby to reach out and explore. It should have objects that can be pulled and controlled. Some days place it so it can be explored with feet.
- Provide baby with objects of different textures, sizes and weights to explore eg. nesting toys, pots and pans, bang-able objects such as a drum, especially large ones.
- Tie objects onto the side of the highchair so baby can throw them to the floor, and you can retrieve them more easily. Make sure they make different sounds when they reach the end of the string.
Two eye teaming
- Attach toys to strings so baby can pull them toward him/herself.
- When bathing baby provide toys that can float towards and away from them.
- Play a choo-choo game with baby’s food as it goes into the mouth. Have him/her watch the food as it goes into the mouth.
- Have baby sit on the floor with legs apart and gently roll a ball towards him/her.
- Label by verbally naming any object the baby plays with and ask them to find it by calling its name.
General motor and bilateral development
- Allow baby to crawl through, around, over and under objects and furniture.
- Hold baby’s hands and encourage jumping off a small step.
- Play nursery games like Pat a Cake.
- Play games of identifying body parts.
- Label body parts as you dress baby.
- Allow baby to play with a toy car they can drive around an obstacle course.
- Provide baby with pull toys that make sounds.
- Allow baby to climb a safe set of stairs.
- Identify objects in large baby picture books.
- Make up a two-piece puzzle with a circle and square cut out. Identify each shape.
- Provide miniature toys of different shapes and design, and label each one verbally.
- Sort pictures of different family members. Ask baby to identify each picture.
- Provide a basket of different coloured clothes pegs to find.
- Provide water toys that float in different directions.
- Play ball on the floor. Occasionally use balls that have unpredictable movements.
- Provide a toy merry go round. Place toys on it and watch them go around and fall off.
- Provide an opportunity to stack objects eg blocks, plastic cups etc.
- Blocks and pegs.
- Picture puzzles.
- Squirting toys for the bath.
- Fillable objects and pouring toys.
- Toy xylophone or toy telephone.
- Fat crayons and paper to scribble on.
- When baby is on a swing, stay in front and maintain eye contact.
- Have baby use a large plastic hammer and pegs.
- Have baby pour water into a container. As skill improves, let them use containers with smaller openings.
- Have baby throw a ball or a beanbag onto an area on the floor or into a basket.
- Try balloon catches.
Size, shape and spatial concepts
- Try having baby put things in order by size or length.
- Have baby put different objects in a line, then describe their position: one, two, three.
- Have baby place object together that belong together: spoons, plates, cars etc.
- Hide an object, and have baby find it.
- Place objects in their correct containers.
- Scramble a stack of blocks, and then ask baby to find one.
- Scramble a stack of blocks, and then ask baby to find one particular type of block, eg. blue or round ones.
- Give baby a small magnet attached to a stick and provide small metal objects they can fish for with the magnet.