Entertaining Babies from birth to 2½ years - Senses
Entertaining babies from birth to 2½ years through their senses. Educating and teaching pre-school children through play.
Up until they are around 6 months old, babies can only see things that are 25 cm away from their nose. Babies are more interested in looking at human faces than any other object. At this stage, they need physical contact, gentle voices to listen to and faces to look at.
From birth, babies can hear quite well. Although their attention span for listening is shorter than looking at things. They find comfort in listening to soothing sounds music and their parent's voices.
At 6 weeks babies like to look at different objects. Hang objects above their cot, pram, changing mat or chair or make a mobile.
Ideas of things to look at:
- Silver foil, crumpled
- Patterned wrapping or wallpaper or fabric
- Raffia mat or carpet
- Balloons (will move well in the breeze)
- Christmas tinsel.
- Foil bottle tops
- Yoghurt pots
- Measuring spoons
- Rubber glove stuffed with tissue paper
- Photographs of faces
As they like being in different places and positions, take baby to different rooms and she will watch you do the washing or sweep the floor while she sits in her chair.
Play peekaboo, they love the surprise of seeing a face appear from behind their hands. Or use a pop-up toy. Make one by drawing a face on a wooden spoon and popping it through a kitchen roll tube.
Taking baby out for a walk will give them a huge range of stimulating things to look at. Shops have loads of colours and shapes. On a sunny day, let baby watch the leaves on the tree or ducks by a river.
Talk to your baby using baby talk. Sing songs, recite nursery rhymes and play music to them.
Loud noises can make babies jump but they do like listening to washing machines, vacuum cleaners or a running tap. So get them used to different sounds around the home.
There are lots of toys that make sounds but you can make your own by filling bottles and pots with different things. Try filling pots with:
- Beans and lentils
- Paper clips
A bell amuses a baby when it's tied loosely to the arm or leg. But be careful once the baby starts rasping things this will need to be removed so it doesn't cause a choking hazard.
Make a noise with a rattle or shaker and see if your baby can see where the noise comes from. Then show the baby the noise.
Baby massage has a relaxing effect for babies and is perfect to do after a bath and before bed to wind them down. Make sure you have a warm room when doing this and use some baby oil to rub into your babies skin.
There are books and classes you can join to learn baby massage.
Babies learn a lot through the sense of touch. They will spend most of the first year learning how to hold things. Although they won't be able to hold things until they're 3 months old, when they start opening their hands place different things for them to grasp. Different textures will be stimulating for them.
Babies will enjoy objects hung above their cot or play mat that they can swipe or kick. If the object makes a noise, the baby will try and make it move more.