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infant activities

Holiday Baby Games
for Every Age

santa 1
{Photo by marythom}
With Christmas just weeks away, why not use the decorations and wrapping paper to bring your baby some early Christmas cheer? This month's issue is focusing on Holiday fun.

Is this your baby's first Christmas? Don't miss these great memory-lasting tips. And of course, if you haven't seen this year's award-winning baby toys, you're missing out on some excellent developmentally-boosting opportunties under the tree!

All holidayed-out? Either look through the newsletter archives or check out my reviews on popular baby activity books for other good ideas.

Also, check out these articles on your baby's development. It's fascinating to see all that's going on behind those bright beautiful eyes!

0-3 Months: Ribbon Tracker

From the moment they're born, babies are fascinated by the world around them. But it takes practice for those eyes to work together! Help your newborn along with this easy activity.

Hold a brightly-colored ribbon or ornament to one side of her head. As she focuses on the ribbon, slowly move it to the left and to the right. Don't go too fast or far afield! If she loses sight of the toy, she'll assume it doesn't exist and lose interest. (This activity will work with any Christmas bauble or stuffed animal! Anything that your baby seems interested in.)

Unless she's close to the three-month mark, she won't be able to reach out and grab it. If your baby seems to be struggling with this tracking activity at 17 weeks, set up an appointment with your pediatrician to check her eyesight.

What is she learning in this activity?

  • Listening Skills
  • Visual Development and Tracking

3-6 Months: Grab the Ornament

{Photo by nick see}
From four months and up, your baby's vision has clarified and he's starting to reach out and grab things. Encourage this motor skill!

Dangle a plastic ornament about 6 inches in front of his face. The bright color and reflection will entice him to reach out and touch the object.

Swing the ornament from side to side, and watch as he reaches across his body to swat the ornament himself!

What is he learning in this activity?

  • Eye-Hand Coordination
  • Problem Solving (I want do I get it?)
  • Visual Development

6-9 Months: What's Inside?

Since you're going to be wrapping presents anyway, do your baby an extra favor by loosly wrapping a few of her favorite toys for exploration. It may be her favorite ball, but she'll be thrilled to rediscover it under a layer of wrapping paper!

It takes a pretty high level of fine motor skills to coordinate those fingers together enough to open a gift! Add that to the exciting sensation of ripping paper and the satisifying sound of tearing into something and you've got a new thrilling game.

Use the old paper to re-wrap other toys. You're not going for Martha Stewart precision! One or two pieces of tape is all you need. Your baby should be able to get inside the package all by herself.

What is she learning in this activity?

  • Enhancement of the sense of touch
  • Problem Solving (How do I get inside?)
  • Fine Motor Skill Development

9-12 Months: Holiday Obstacle Course

Encourage your baby to start walking by helping him through a holiday obstacle course! This fun game helps him to keep his balance and develop his eye-foot coordination as he practices lifting them up and putting them down in a "safe" spot.

On a flat surface, arrange various Christmas pillows, soft decorations, pine cones, or other easily accessible holiday things lying around the house. Choose one particularly-tempting toy and place it at the other end of the room.

Holding your infant's fingers, help him to walk around the objects, praising him as he manuevers around to the "prize" at the other end of the room.

What is he learning in this activity?

  • Eye-foot Coordination
  • Balance
  • Building up his lower body strength

12-18 Months: Tube Talk

{Photo by anatomist}
Don't throw those empty wrapping paper rolls away! Cut them in half and use them to build up her little brain! Hold one tube to your mouth and talk to your infant.

Give the other tube to her and encourage her to imitate you. Try making animal noises, singing silly songs, and blowing raspberries into the tube. She'll laugh at all of it!

(Extra idea: Use some nontoxic felt-tip pens to decorate the outside. She will love scribbling all over them!)

Don't let her bite on the tube or let the ends become too soggy! Tubes are not good eats for babies!

What is she learning in this activity?

  • Articulation and speech improvement
  • Language Development
  • Listening Skills

On to Page Five...

An 'ole holiday favorite. Why shouldn't he enjoy the Christmas banquet as much as the rest of the family?

page 3
table of contents

Page 1:
Shh...Site Secrets

Page 2:
The Best Baby Bargains

Page 3:
Make Baby Reading Time,
Baby BRAIN Time

Page 4:
Holiday Games

Page 5:
A Baby Banquet

Page 6:
12 New Recall Alerts

Page 7:
Your EZ Guide to
Holiday Happiness

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