Take a soft brush and gently brush your baby’s arms and legs using a long sweeping action from his fingers to the tops of his arms and back again, then from his toes to the tops of his legs and back. You can also brush his back. But avoid the face, tummy or chest as it can be unsettling.
Baby boost: like massage, brushing is a calming sensation that will stimulate your baby’s sense of touch.
Go for a swing
From about 8 months most babies can sit unsupported and will enjoy going on a baby swing at the park. Sit her in the swing and show her how to hold the supporting bars. Gently push her from the front so that she can see you saying ‘weee’ or ‘hello’ as she swings towards you, and ‘bye bye’ as she swings away. (It’s best not to wave at her or she may copy you and let go of the swing!)
Baby boost: the movement is thought to stimulate the part of the brain that detects balance and movement.
Once your baby is crawling by himself, make things fun by creating an obstacle course. You can arrange piles of pillows and cushions for him to climb over and cover it with a duvet. You can also make a tunnel out of cardboard boxes. It’s also fun to let baby crawl over you. Pretend to be asleep, then wake up and growl when he’s climbed on you.
Baby boost: crawling is physical exertion, which will strengthen his arms, legs, back and tummy in preparation for walking.
Hide the toy
Box of bits
From about 9 months, babies love putting things into boxes and taking them out again. Give your baby his own box and fill it with a variety of household objects that are safe for him to put in his mouth – which he’ll inevitably do. Get your baby’s box out for special play sessions – if he has it all the time it won’t seem so special. Talk about all the different things in the box, but let him set the pace and make his own choices. Try wrapping up one of the objects in coloured tissue paper for your baby to unwrap.
Baby boost: hearing the names of various objects will extend his vocabulary, and guiding objects in and out of the box will help fine-tune motor skills and hand-eye coordination.