Congratulations, you are halfway through the first year of your child’s life!
It may seem like the growth has peaked or rapidly happening that you can barely keep up. Whichever the case may be, know that your little one is continually learning and playing with her is still the best way to satisfy that need.
At this stage, your child may be more mobile as she learns the art of crawling, cruising and walking. There is no stopping her as she skillfully navigates her surroundings. That is why it is important to begin (if you haven’t already) childproofing your home at this point. You child’s safety should remain your number one concern as you encourage her to explore while playing.
How to choose learning materials for your baby
At around six months, infants will try to grab things around them and instinctively put it in their mouth. They also practice moving things from one hand to the other and this is very entertaining for them. Most children will also turn their head towards a sound and respond by making a sound as well. These milestones can all be enhanced by providing the child with suitable materials.
Choose toys that are easy to grab and attractive to the eyes. Take note of particular items that has caught your child’s attention. Use that more often to reinforce her interest. Make sure that the materials are always sanitized and there are no loose parts. Any piece that can easily fit through a tissue roll is too small for your baby.
There is no hard, fast rule when it comes to the number of toys that should be given to a child. You might prefer to buy a few with multi-purposes or a dozen, individual toys that are equally engaging. Whatever your choices are, just always consider the interests and needs of the child.
Appropriate activities for your 6-12 months old
Sensory activities. These are the types of play that stimulates a child’s senses. The most common are those that maximize the sense of touch, sight and hearing. Playing with clay or sand is one example.
Baby bell feet. String a few, small bells or use a bracelet with lots of trinkets for this activity. Let your child wear it on his foot and allow her to move around. She can also lie on her back and kick her legs up to produce sound from her “anklet”.
Sensory basket/box. Prepare a container with a few items inside. The goal is to let your child take something out of the box and feel the material. You can also identify the texture for her so that she will begin to associate the label with the feel of it on her skin.
Stacking cups. This is a simple yet very open-ended material that your child will enjoy exploring. She can stack them, fit them together or use them as containers for smaller toys. eventually, you can also use this toy for counting and identifying colors.
Clap, clap, clap. At around 6 to 8 months old, young children will learn to clap. Encourage her to do so by singing rhymes or counting while clapping. This is also an exercise to help develop her motor skills.
Reading. Children of all ages will always benefit from being read to. Do not be afraid to go through the same book daily. Repetition is key to learning for very young children. An early love for literature is also healthy as your child learns to process information as the story progresses.
Your older infant is developing on a daily basis and is becoming more interactive. Take the opportunity to turn every play time into a teachable moment as she becomes increasingly interested in the world around her.
Have fun playing while learning together!