Spring has Sprung!

Hello there!  Apologies for the lack of consistency lately.  But we are back!

Now,  around here, the sun is shining and the breeze is warmer.  Which means, outside play!  Playing outside is a great way to get muscles moving, big and small.  Getting outside provides easy activities for gross and fine motor development.

Gross motor development involves the growth and use of big muscles and limbs.  Legs, arms, trunk, head.  Fine motor involves activities with the hands — pointing, grasping, opening, pinching (food, not people!) and more.

Every time you step outdoors presents a new sensory experience.  Which means less planning on your part!  Just step outside with baby and let him go!

Pre-crawlers: Lay a blanket outside and dive into some outdoor tummy time.  Use buckets, balls, hula hoops and bubbles to entertain.  Or roll on your backs and take in some sun and the breeze.  Don’t forget hats and sunblock but some sun is good!

Crawlers to Walkers: Blankets to grass to sandbox to playgrounds.  As cute as they are, baby sports teams are great (and expensive) but what babies really need right now is to be active, and you have that right outside.  There is so much exploring to do for babies that encourages development.  Save the team sports for when they are more interactive with peers, 5 years and up.  Right now, let baby work those muscles climbing playgrounds and sliding down slides.

All ages – Take a walk!  Bring along an empty container or bag and collect items along the way.  Sticks, stones, leaves, flower petals, acorns, pine cones, etc. When you get home, explore your findings.  Glue to a paper plate to make a nature wreath or seal in a clear bottle for a sensory bottle. You can also do your part for the earth and pick up trash along the way!

Let your baby feel grass, dirt, mulch.  It’s all sensory! Don’t be afraid of a little dirt.  That’s what baths are for!

Rainy day?  See this post for more indoor sensory experiences.

What was your favorite piece of playground equipment as a kid?

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For Crying Out Loud

There are 3 main components to bring forth language skills.

Look, listen, respond.

From the second babies enter this world, they are communicating.  Crying, cooing, body language, eye gaze, pointing, grunts, smiles, and more.  Eventually, those grunts turn into words and the crying turns into “But, Mom!”.  The point is, everything babies do before producing an actual word is communication.  It’s the only way they know how to get attention.

As infants, babies cry because they are hungry, tired, for pain and for comfort.  Parents and caregivers learn their baby’s signs and what they need, when they need it.  Months go by and babies start reaching for what they want, crawling to explore another room, and vocalizing for mom, food, toy, etc.

Throughout your day, recognize the signs your baby is giving you and respond.  This makes baby feel like a good communicator, and he will continue to communicate with you.  As you label items and people, baby will pick up on that too.

A 7 month old clings to his Momma while she makes dinner and he reaches towards a bottle on the counte, grunting.  “Ehhh, ehh, ehhh, ehhhhhh”  Mom turns around to see what he is reaching towards.  “Oh you want your milk?  Say ‘Milk’ ”  Baby responds “ehhhhhh”  Mom: “Good trying!  Mmmmmmilk, milk”  And hands him the bottle.

The baby gives mom a big smile and drinks.  He thinks “I made a noise, I pointed to my bottle, and mom gave it to me.  I’ll have to try that again, mmmmmmm, this milk is good.”

Mom didn’t force him to say milk, and she didn’t ignore him either.  She recognized that her baby was trying to communicate with her, and he was using the language skills he has.  Pointing and grunting.

The next time you are with your child, put something out of reach that he likes and see how he responds.  Respect the skills he currently has and respond to the vocalizations.  Or if you try to help with blocks and he turns away from you, that’s body language saying “I can do it myself!”

In the meantime, model language through books, songs, and everyday conversations.  Your body language is important to them too, so smile and give that baby a hug.