Extension Specialist, Family Life Education
Cape Cod Cooperative Extension
University of Massachusetts
Caregivers play an important role in helping infants grow and develop. Daily activities should stimulate infants and help them learn.
TRY THESE ACTIVITIES WITH INFANTS BIRTH TO SIX MONTHS:
- Talk and sing to the babies, when you feed, diaper, and clean them.
- Imitate the sounds that the babies make.
- Point to and say the names of the babies’ mouth, ears, nose, fingers, etc.
- Place toys and other colorful objects where babies can see and/or touch them.
- Shake a rattle behind a baby’s head, and let the baby turn and grab the rattle.
- When you hold or rock the baby, sing lullabies or other soothing songs.
- Place babies in different positions. For example, place them on their stomach so they can practice lifting their head and rolling over.
- Encourage hand clasping and kicking.
TRY THESE ACTIVITIES WITH INFANTS SIX TO TWELVE MONTHS:
- Play peek-a-boo or other games in which you disappear and reappear.
- Give babies a safe place where they can crawl, creep, and pull themselves up.
- Roll a ball or place a toy where babies have to reach or crawl for it.
- Give babies toys that squeak.
- Give babies teething toys.
- Read aloud books that have large pictures and not much writing.
- Talk to babies, and name objects as you and the babies handle them.
- Begin to teach what is allowed and what is not allowed.
- When babies indicate that they want help, provide it.
- Rock and hold babies when they are upset.
- Let babies fill containers with objects and then dump them out.
- Change toys often when babies get bored with them.
- Babies learn trust and that they are loved when you respond to their needs for food, comfort, and attention.
- Toys that go in a baby’s mouth should be cleaned before giving them to another child.
- Toys should be big enough so that infants cannot swallow them.
- Games and toys are the tools that infants use to learn.
- Unless the parents are harsh or critical, the way you and the parents treat the infant should be similar.
National Network for Child Care – NNCC. Part of CYFERNET, the National Extension Service Children Youth and Family Educational Research Network. Permission is granted to reproduce these materials in whole or in part for educational purposes only(not for profit beyond the cost of reproduction) provided that the author and Network receive acknowledgment and this notice is included:
Reprinted with permission from the National Network for Child Care – NNCC.
(1993). Helping infants learn. In M. Lopes (Ed.) CareGiver News
(December, p.4). Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Cooperative
Any additions or changes to these materials must be preapproved by the author.
FORMAT AVAILABLE:: Available only on the Internet
DOCUMENT REVIEW:: Level 2 – University of Massachusetts Cooperative
ENTRY DATE:: November 1995