As soon as your child can hold her head up, sit her on your lap. Gently rock or bounce her while you sing or recite a rhyme. Surprise her at the end by dipping her down.
Why it's so great: Adding a poem or song turns lap time into a language lesson. "Exposure to language is important," says Jim Elicker, PhD, director of Early Childhood Programs at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. "The more she hears, the better. She's tuning in to communication."
How to make it even better: As your child gets older, she'll start anticipating the next word in the rhyme. That's a sign her cognitive recognition -- the ability to remember, process, and adapt -- is increasing. Follow her cues as to how much bouncing and dipping she feels like. "If she shows signs she wants to stop, stop," Dr. Elicker says.