If you are the parent of an infant, brainstorming activities to help entertain your baby is likely something you think about often. With so many gadgets and products out there marketed towards new parents, it is so easy to get caught up in buying a whole bunch of things, when in reality, it is the simple activities that will naturally capture your little one's attention and contribute to their development!
While swings, bouncers, jumpers and other activity based items can be helpful from time to time, try not to overlook the importance of allowing your baby to explore their natural environment. Many activity based items that are sold in stores aim to keep your baby in one spot, opposed to allowing them to move around freely and engage with their surroundings. Natural exploration is so important to avoid disrupting a baby's natural desire to learn and develop. One of the very best ways to do this is by allowing them to explore on the floor!
Start by laying down a large blanket in an area that you will be in. It could be in the kitchen while you cook, in the family room while you fold laundry, or you could choose to get down on the ground with them on their nursery floor. Just be sure that wherever you choose to set them down is in an area that is away from possible hazards (the stairs, sharp corners, small items, etc). You can lay them down on the blanket and allow them to explore at their own pace.
They can be on their tummy or on their back, just be sure to stay nearby so that you can monitor them. You may notice them take in their surroundings as you cook, do your chores or simply talk to them. They are free to observe whatever happens to be going on around them and this alone is a great way to stimulate their brain, aiding in proper cognitive development.
As your baby grows, this type of exploration encourages them to strengthen their bodies as they practice lifting their heads while on their tummy, rolling from side to side and practicing early crawling skills as they grow! You could also set out a few small toys for them to focus on and reach for. Things like a rattle, baby mirror, teething toy or stacking blocks work well for this purpose. For a fun way to change this activity up from time to time, take the blanket outside for some exploration in the fresh air! With birds and leaves and people walking by, there is plenty for your sweet little one to take in while outdoors as well.
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