Raise an eager learner!

Your baby's mind is like a sponge. Here are some suggestions for how to keep that curiosity fired up:

Talk to your baby directly. Speaking about simple daily activities will help build her language skills and vocabulary. Go to different places (the zoo, a store) and do different things (swing together, feel the water pouring from a hose) and describe these experiences to her. Reinforce the idea that there's a big wonderful world out there.

Read aloud to your baby daily. Reading has the same benefits as talking to your baby, plus it promotes a love of books and stimulates the imagination. Choose a variety of books, including picture books, interactive books, and those that focus more on the sound and rhythm of words. These will interest your baby in different ways. Have on hand both regular read-aloud material and board books that can be chewed and handled.

Encourage different types of play. Your baby will benefit most from a combination of self-directed play, structured play, play by herself, and play with others. Give her the chance to experiment with different shapes, colors, textures, sounds, and weights. At this age, cause-and-effect play is a great opportunity for learning. Sometimes you can just let your baby explore, and other times you might show her how to make something work, then let her try it out. Watch for signs that she's tired or overstimulated, however, and make sure she has time to relax, too.

~ Courtesy of the BabyCenter

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