By 6 months, your bundle of joy has learned so many new things! A 6 months old baby can roll over on the tummy, can reach out to things that you are holding while lying on his tummy, transfer objects from one hand to another, use both hands to explore things, react to sounds around etc.
Well, all of the above activities are driven by senses that help the babies absorb and experience. Maria Montessori came up with a term for this – “absorbent mind” – which means children under 3 years simply absorb everything in their environment by experiencing it with multiple senses. Hence it is very important to provide an infant a positive, beautiful and enriching environment.
Apart from the store bought toys that babies soon lose interest in, there is so much more you can do with your child, by just using the stuff at home. There are ample activities for 6 month old babies and beyond, that follow the various philosophies like Montessori, Waldorf, Glen Doman approach etc, and thus support the development of motor skills and senses. Here are some examples and reference pictures of activities for you 6 months old…..
Infants are in a sensitive period of Sensory Perception, as Maria Montessori points out. You can use something as simple as a trashed cardboard piece and stick fabric scraps of different textures and shapes. It is a great stimulus for their developing tactile sense. You can also tell the name of the texture while they touch it – this is rough, this is smooth, etc. Sensory boards can be given to them while they are lying around on the floor or when they are sitting (if they can sit up by 6 months) or in the carseat while you are travelling.
Image source: laughingkidlearn.com
Do not shy away from outdoors even when your baby is just 6 months old. In fact it is all the more important for your baby to feel and smell the fresh air, while still an infant. You can use a baby stroller or a baby carrier to take your child out in the garden. Make sure you talk a lot to your child showing her different things like trees, flowers, cars, kids, anything and everything! Point and name what you are showing. This builds a foundation for their language skills and their visual sense gets stimulated. They are alert and are watching around too.
Gather small bottles lying around at your home and convert them into homemade colourful rattles. I used Amul milk small bottles that are transparent and filled each one with different things like pulse, rice, beads etc. Every bottle will make different sound depending on what is put inside. My son used to love exploring them at that age since they looked alike but made different sounds. You can even fill colored water inside the bottles. Make sure you seal the bottle cap nicely.
Use a scarf or just your hands and play the very famous peekaboo. Every child loves it. In the background it teaches your child about object permanence. It tells her/him if something is out of sight, it does not mean that it does not exist. Lack of this awareness in infants is one of the main reasons they cry when a parent goes out of sight or in another room! There is a traditional Montessori material, to help your child understand object permanence. It is introduced at around 8 -12 months of age, and I will discuss it in the coming articles.
Image source: mummypages.ie
New & Different Foods To Self Feed
Babies start developing their grip at this age and they naturally tend to take everything in the mouth. Take advantage of this tendency! Give them a variety of food to self feed. At 6 months, you can start with finger food like banana or steamed apple too! Their gums are strong enough to chew such food. But make sure they are seated upright while they eat. If your child cannot sit upright at this age, use a high chair or booster chair. Never use a car seat or a reclining position while feeding.
Allowing them to self feed, which essentially means toying around with food at this stage, builds their grip and stimulates the tactile sense while they pick up food of different sizes and textures. Even if they just want to rip the food apart, which is largely the case at this age, it’s fine! It is a skill they are mastering. No doubt, it will be messy when we allow them to self feed but this builds confidence in them apart from the immense learning that is happening at that moment.