REMEMBER - if your baby doesn't seem interested the first time you try something, try again in a week or two.
This is an excellent tactile activity. Fill balloons (without air) with:
* Cooking Oil
Make sure to tie them off well. Allow your infant to squeeze the balloons. The many different textures will intrigue them! Do not let them put it in their mouths! This is great for manual dexterity.
PILL BOTTLE SHAKERS
When you have emptied a few pill bottles, clean off the labels. Put some rice, beans, or even small washers in the bottles and secure the lid. It is best to use child proof bottles! Babies will love to shake these! It helps them learn to grasp and move their arms they way they want. When their movements have a definite reaction, they keep trying!
Take a shower ring, cheap plastic bracelet, or any other ring you can find and tie different colors and textures of ribbons to it. Dangle it above baby's head so they have to reach for it. This is fun because of the colors, the textures, and teaches dexterity as they try to grab it. DO NOT allow baby to play with this without supervision as it could get wrapped around baby's neck.
Clean out a coffee can, or a yogurt, butter or cream cheese container or use one of those disposable plastic storage containers. Cut small round holes in the lid. Make sure they are small enough that you have to push the ball through. Show your baby how you push the pom poms through the hole! Once they get it, they will do this for a while! This teaches manual dexterity and also shows "object permanence". Once the pom pom goes in the hole, is it gone? Show them where it went!
BLACK & WHITE PICTURES FOR VISION DEVELOPMENT
Infants can only focus on things about 8 to 10 inches from their face. They can focus well on black and white images with big, bold lines. These images can help to develop infant's vision! The first 4 pages are for the younger babies, say 2 to 4 months. The 5th page is for slightly older babies with more developed vision, around 5 and 6 months. Print these out, cut out the squares and laminate. You can use them during diaper changes, feedings, and tummy time. Print the pictures out HERE!
This is great fun and you don't have to worry if they put this in their mouths! Put them in their high chair and put a couple of globs of different colored baby food around the edge of the tray. Show the baby how to run your finger through it and then use their finger to do it. Then let them go crazy! The texture will be great for them and this will also help them with their dexterity.
During Tummy Time, prop a mirror up in front of baby. Babies are fascinated by other babies, so they will love to look at themselves in the mirror. They don't know that it is just them looking at themselves! This will help promote holding their heads up and strengthening those important core muscles.
Get a collection of scrap materials at a fabric store. Hot glue them around a piece of cardboard. You can also use other interesting textures such as craft poms, puffy paint, different textures of ribbon, etc. *Make sure the items are secured so that they can't pull them off and put them in their mouths! Prop the board up in front of the baby and let them feel all the different fabrics. This is not only great for texture and dexterity, but can help give your baby a reason to want to sit up while they do this. You can sit them in the middle of a Boppy or in a Bumbo.
If you want to step it up, also attach a zipper and some Velcro to the board. This can be a fun little activity center.
Tape a piece of white (or other color) paper to the table. Put some paint in a sealable gallon baggie and smush out all the air. Seal it and then also tape over the seal (just to be safe!). Tape the bag over the paper and let them make designs in the paint. Great fun and no mess. Can't beat that!
BASKET OF GOODIES
Place a number of different toys and stuffed animals in a basket that the baby can reach into. Allow them to pull everything out. Then show them how to put everything back in. Some babies will do this over and over again!
Blow bubbles around a baby who can sit up and swat at things and you have instant fun! Easy and tons of fun. Gives baby lots of practice trying to reach things and sitting up practice.
Place Cheerios inside a plastic water bottle with no lid. Give it to baby and see if she can figure out how to get them out and into her mouth! Great for problem solving and manual dexterity.
Make ice cubes in different colors using food color or kool-aid. Put a piece of white paper on baby's tray and let them find out what happens as they rub the ice around the paper. You don't have to worry if they put these in their mouths! Good visual stimulation and creative expression.