As babies become more mobile they become more independent and eager to make new discoveries. Your baby “thinks" with her hands and mouth giving her many new and different items to discover.
Grasping (have 2 or 3 objects ready) Baby should sit in front of you. Offer her an item in different ways i. e. turn it upside down, twist it etc. Repeat this with all the items. This is an important exercise as it helps baby realise that the same item can feel and look different. It also helps the development of hand dexterity. Take a large container and a few blocks, balls or a range of objects. Encourage baby to put them in the container, then tip it out, then put them in again. If interest in the container and the items is lost, put them away so the game does not become stale. Next time you play, it will be a whole new experience. Babies love opening drawers because there is so much to discover! In the beginning it will be difficult for baby to open heavy drawers, but eventually curiosity will get the better of her. Fill the bottom drawer in the kitchen with things that are safe to play with, then ‘agree’ that it is ok to play with that particular drawer. Baby will enjoy having her own little compartment. By the way, if you worry about the little one having trapped fingers, stick some draft excluder tape on the top of the drawer. You can easily take it off without leaving any marks and it won't allow the drawer to shut.
7 to 8 months
At about 7-8 months your baby learns the relationship between her actions and the consequences. Through this baby develops the ability to think ahead. Give your baby a piece of baking paper. She should be excited to play with this. Eventually she should screw it up into a ball and put it in her mouth, she'll then see that once it is wet she can no longer play with it in the same way.
Helping Baby Crawl Put your baby on her belly and put a toy on the floor about 15cm/6inches away. You can move the ball slowly left and right to encourage movement.
For a slightly harder exercise hold the toy in the air a little. This is much more challenging for your baby as she has to reach up with one arm whilst balancing with the other. If your baby can't lift her belly despite a lot of effort, you can help him along a little. Take a length of soft fabric approximately 5" wide, put it around baby's chest like a belt and keep hold of both ends. Now lift your baby a little bit so she can balance easily on his knees and hands. If your baby does not like this, stop immediately and if she starts a ‘swimming’ motion, it is too early in her development for this exercise. You and a partner sit on the floor opposite each other with your legs out creating a ‘ladder’. Put baby at the start of the ladder and a toy at the other end to encourage her to crawl over it. To make it a little more tricky lift your legs off the floor slightly to increase the amount of co-ordination needed to overcome the obstacle. Set out some big boxes, chairs or other large items into a slalom course so your baby has to crawl his way through them. Your baby will learn co-ordination and how to adapt to new circumstances. If your baby is unsure what to do, you should demonstrate the slalom course to her.
If your baby is a confident crawler, she will soon want new challenges and will look for every opportunity to pull herself up. Nothing is safe: sofas, coffee tables, even dogs! Suddenly she'll be standing on her own two feet and tentatively taking small steps to the side holding on for support. Eventually she'll gain the strength and confidence to take her first independent steps. Football from the side: when your baby is standing supported by a coffee table etc hang a ball on a piece of string next to his feet. She will soon try to kick out at this from the side. This exercise encourages a sense of balance as baby moves from two feet onto one then back again.
If your baby can walk let her experience different textures underfoot. Carpet, wooden/laminate flooring, tiles, doormats and grass should all provide new interesting feelings.
It is important to remember that your baby only needs shoes when outside to protect her feet from the cold and wet. When indoors, she should walk barefoot (or perhaps slip proof socks if it is cold) as often as possible.
Tina Rychlik is the proud mother of two, and the owner of BabysBest.co.uk, an online store dedicated to the preservation of our children's health. Offering only organic and all natural baby products, you can find guidelines and advice for baby and their parents by visiting http://www.babysbest.co.uk