To help you home in on what you can to do to encourage your baby’s brain development at every stage of growth, our experts helped WebMD put together the following age activity guide.
- Birth to 4 months
Read; make silly faces; tickle the body; slowly move objects in front of your baby’s eyes, like a brightly colored rattle; sing simple songs and nursery rhymes with repetitive phrases; narrate everything you and your baby will do, such as :
“We are going in the car now; we are putting you in the car seat; Mommy is getting into the car.”
- 4 to 6 months
Help baby hug stuffed animals; stack things (like plastic blocks) and let your baby knock them down; play music with different rhythms; show your baby books with brightly colored pictures; let your baby feel objects with different textures.
- 6 to 18 months
Talk and interact face-to-face to increase connections between sounds and words; point to familiar people and objects and repeat names; sing songs with repetitive verses and hand motions; play hide and seek.
- 18 to 24 months
Play simple recognition games like “spot the yellow car” or ” the red flower,” or put three objects in front of your child and say “Give me the …”; talk directly to your baby as much as possible; introduce your child to writing tools such as crayons and paper; ask “where and what” when reading to your child; encourage some independent play with favorite toys
- 24 to 36 months
Lavish your child with praise and encouragement as he or she perfects motor skills; bolster your child’s imagination by encouraging new ways to use toys; help your child incorporate ‘real life’ activities into play, such as pretending to talk on the phone, drive a car, have a tea party; when reading, incorporate your child into the story by asking questions; point to words while you read to your child; encourage identification of words on the page or their sound
- Ages 3 to 5
Teach sharing by example; play simple board games to foster learning rules and skills; limit TV/video watching to one to two hours per day, and watch with your child to make it interactive.
As children advance, offer simple choices (read a book or do a puzzle); limit the use of the word “no” and encourage exploration and natural curiosity; give your child respect and attention and show patience as your child tries to explain his or her new experiences; make time each day to sit with your child and discuss what he or she did that day, encouraging your child to explain and explore new experiences.