Checklist: Simple, Surprising Brain Boosters for Baby

Squirmy, active babies are developing auditory, visual, and tactile senses. Let your child play under your watchful eye, and stimulate his brain development with the following activities.

___ Splashing in the tub. Aside from being majorly fun, it teaches cause and effect and the basic properties of water.

___ Clapping. It builds coordination and, if the two of you do it along to songs, rhythm.

___ Banging on a pot, which lets baby learn the different sounds he can make.

___ Unraveling a ball of yarn (another mystifying cause-and-effect lesson)

___ Touching running water, while you turn the temp from cold to warm. It's a simple sensory booster.

___ Singing songs. It helps build language skills and is a great activity to do together when you're stuck in the car.

___ Playing with fabrics that have different colors and textures, especially if you explain how itchy the wool blanket is or how soft the white fleece is.

___ Listening to soft, bouncy music. Babies naturally love to sway and bop along to tunes (hello, coordination!)--and music like this has been shown to enhance intelligence in and of itself.

___ Stacking a big tower of blocks (you might need to help with the stacking part) and letting him knock them down.

___ Drinking from a cup. It makes your kiddo feel accomplished and all grown up--as it fine-tunes his hand skills.

One more tip: Be sure to narrate each of these activities ("ooooh, that water is cold! Ahhhh, that feels nice and warm") so that baby learns to connect words with their meanings. It's a great way to stimulate language development and make these little games more fun and engaging for both of you.

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