The best brain-stimulating activities to do with baby

No one knows more about the importance of bonding with a baby other than Pampers. It’s because of this that we share the Pampers philosophy that baby’s wellbeing comes first and foremost above all else. That’s why – in light of National Children’s Day – we’ve decided to bring you the top educational and brain-stimulating activities for babies during their first six months of life…

The first two years of your baby’s life are a truly magical time. Right before your eyes, you will witness your little one transforming from a dependent newborn into a tiny little person who can sit upright, walk and talk.

In a bid to encourage their development, it’s essential that you as a parent use play to stimulate their bodies and minds so that they grow up to be as healthy and well-developed as possible.

“Stimulating your child’s brain during their first two years of life and providing situations where they can explore helps them to learn things that get them in touch with their environment,” says child and adolescent psychologist, Dr Robert Myers, founder of the Child Development Institute and assistant clinical professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine.

“Doing developmental activities with them also bonds parents to their child and makes them a better observer, so when they go to the paediatrician, they can give the doctor good information about where the child is, developmentally.”

Because Pampers knows the importance of getting those little muscles moving and brain juices flowing, along with Mumentoes, they have compiled an effective list of the best body and brain-boosting activities for your little one through every age and stage of their first six months of life:

ALSO SEE: How To Be A Yummy Mummy

0 Months - Swing, Swing

No, we don’t mean whip out your bub’s play swing just yet. Instead – until your baby gets better control of their little heads – experts suggest you try folding a bed sheet in half, lay it on the ground and place your bundle of joy in the middle. “Swing the baby slowly to watch for her reaction,” says Kimberly Lyons, MEd, CMT, founder and owner of Tum e Time, a baby play centre in San Francisco. “If your baby enjoys it, try singing a lullaby as he or she relaxes in the hammock.”

1 Month - Face Time

Even though their eyesight isn’t very strong at this age, infants can still identify movement, blurry shapes and shadows. According to Dr Stanley Greenspan, author of The Growth of the Mind and the Endangered Origins of Intelligence (Amazon), making funny faces at a baby won’t be in vain. “New infants are learning to read expressions and gain emotional intelligence through face play,” he says. “Sit down with your knees high, and prop your baby up until he’s comfortable, and gazing at you. Make a surprised face, flash a smile, or stick out your tongue. This contact keeps you and your little one in emotional sync through non-verbal communication, and will amuse your baby for hours.”

2 Months - Get Mobile

In a bid to strengthen your little one’s vision, build them a mobile. “Very young babies are attracted to contrasting colours,” says Gaby Merediz, an artist, writer and mother of two young boys. “So draw some simple shapes in black marker on white paper and hang them above baby’s crib or on a spot on the wall near baby’s line of sight.”

ALSO SEE: Feeding Babies: 3 Myths Debunked

3 Months - Drop a Beat

Babies naturally love music and respond well to all types of noises – especially music. The Northwestern University Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory has conducted various studies that suggest that melodies have a positive effect on children’s memory and mental skills. Along with playing songs and making a noise with various objects and instruments, copy your baby’s own noises. This will encourage them to make more.

4 Months - A Ball of Fun

Putting a fun spin on tummy time will further help strengthen their back, neck and abdominal muscles. “Hold baby securely and move him or her around in circles, forward and backward,” Lyons says. “You can even place toys close to baby to encourage reaching for them, or set out an infant mirror so baby can see himself or herself.”

5 Months - Three… Two… One… Take Off!

A tummy-down position (where you hold them in the air, where they look down at your face) can help strengthen your baby’s core. To achieve this, Lyons suggests: “Start by sitting on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor in front of you. Place baby’s belly on your lower legs and hold onto his or her torso as you lie back on the ground. Baby will rise up into the air like an aeroplane. Then you can rock your feet back and forth, move baby up and down or trace circles in the air.”

6 Months - Learn How To Sign

It’s not surprising that babies can learn how to sign. Both their understanding of language and their motor skills develop much faster than their ability to speak. The idea of taking this one step further and teaching babies a vocabulary of signs was inspired by child development expert Joseph Garcia. “Weave signs into everyday activities and eventually your child will be using signs, too,” says Moreno. “Using sign language with baby helps children to think and express themselves symbolically, long before he or she can talk.”

ALSO SEE: My Top Health Tips For Kids

Pampers: With You Every Step of the Way

From a newborn baby to a two-year-old toddler – when it comes to meeting your baby’s diaper needs, Pampers is there to protect your bub every step of the way giving you peace of mind so you can focus on playing and stimulating your baby for their first 24 months of life.

To find out more about Pampers, visit www.pampers.co.za and follow them on Facebook here

Disclaimer: All the above-mentioned content, including advice from health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of your child.