Your 6 month old baby is beginning to exert her influence on the world and make herself known. Even the simplest moments you share are valuable interactions that help her grow. Looking for ways to play together that boost her development?
When my daughter Anya was born, my husband and I wanted to create an enriching environment for her at home but we had no idea what we were supposed to do. How do you play with a baby who is barely interactive?
I remember talking to a physical therapist when she was 6 months old who asked, “Does Anya bang on things all the time now?” I told her yes, ALL the time, and that I figured it was random baby movement. She responded, “No, that’s actually a sign of development! It’s her way of practicing to pick up objects.” I was so surprised! All of a sudden the random banging had new meaning and next time I saw Anya do it, I could actually engage with her, helping her to grab the thing she seemed interested in. In this simple moment, I connected with her in a new way and was thrilled to see her personality emerge as I engaged in a back-and-forth. Not only was it fun for me, it was also great for her development!
Luckily, it’s really simple to engage with our little ones in ways that encourage their growth. All we have to do is understand a little about their emerging skills and play in simple, developmentally appropriate ways.
Your Baby’s Development: What’s Happening Now
Your baby is becoming stronger and more active by the day. He can use his hands to reach out and pull objects into his world, then turn them, drop them, shake them, bang them, and repeat (over and over and over...)! Socially, he will respond to people’s emotions and observe their facial features. It’s a great time to make funny faces when you play Peek-a-Boo! Linguistically, you’ll notice that he can express a variety of emotions through different tones of voice. He may start babbling using sounds like “ba”, “ma” or “da”. And cognitively, he delights in seeing his face in the mirror (although at this point, he thinks his reflection is another baby smiling back at him).
The bottom line? As your baby becomes more active, a whole new world of play opens up and since you are his favorite playmate, you can expose him to new games that will also help him learn.
6-Month-Old Baby Activities: Playfully’s favorite picks
Find a cardboard box that is just big enough for your baby to sit in and make sure he can see over the top.
Line the 'sleigh' with blankets and pillows so that your baby is secure and cozy, then have him sit inside and push him around the house. Narrate all the things you see as you give him a tour, and vary your pace -- going fast and slow, and starting and stopping.
Your baby is learning how to sit for longer periods of time. This activity helps him build strength and postural control when he works to maintain his balance as you move around.
What Does The Cow Say?
Grab a few stuffed animals or find pictures of animals in a book or magazine. Show them one at a time to your baby.
For each animal, tell him the name of the animal and make its sound using a long, exaggerated tone. 'This is a sheep. The sheep says 'Baaaa.'' Feel free to be silly and have the animal interact with your baby - for example, kissing his feet or cheek.
You may find that your baby starts babbling back to you. He will likely use the same consonant and vowel combinations (ex: 'babababa'). Wait for him to finish and then repeat his babble back to him to encourage him to talk again.
Find a colorful lightweight scarf or dupatta and a cardboard tube (ex: an empty paper towel roll).
Thread one end of the scarf through the tube. You can also ball the scarf up into your fist if you do not have a cardboard tube.
Show your baby how he can pull on the edge of the scarf to pull it out of the other side.
Cheer for him as he makes the scarf magically appear (ex: you can say, 'Yay! You found the scarf!').
Look to see if your baby reaches for the scarf and grasps it with intention. At this stage, he is learning how to purposefully take hold of objects rather than just grasping out of reflex.
Place your baby on his side and place a favorite toy about a foot from his chest.
Encourage him to stretch out his upper arm to reach for the toy. He will have to roll to his tummy to get it. You can use encouraging words and tap the toy to draw his attention to it or bring the toy close to his arm and then pull it back away.
To increase the challenge, place the toy even further away so he will need to do a complete roll to get it.
This article is part of series in collaboration with Playfully.
Playfully makes it easier for busy parents to set their children up for a lifetime of success. By partnering with child development experts and distilling their knowledge into personalized, bite-sized, actionable chunks, Playfully helps you support your child’s growth and development through play and makes sure you have FUN while doing so.
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