Finding meaningful ways to interact with a young infant can be difficult for both first-time and seasoned parents. Instead of struggling, use a subject matter that always seems to fascinate children regardless of age: animals. From barnyards to the jungle, you can entertain and educate your child by drawing inspiration from the animal kingdom.
Introduce your young infant to the animal world through sound. Find images of animals on the Internet or in books. While the infant is awake and alert, hold an image in front of him, tell the infant the name of the animal and what sound it makes. For example, hold a picture of a cow and tell your infant it says “Moo.” Once the infant begins to move into his toddler years, take him to a zoo or local farm and point out the real animals. Tell the child the animal's name and the sound it makes. Instruct your toddler to make the same noise, as well.
Visit a Farm
Although your infant is still young, he can interact with the world around him, including animals. Help your infant experience his world, and all the animals that inhabit it, by taking him on a trip to a farm. Choose a farm that features a family friendly petting zoo. Bring your infant to the animals and help him pet one. Introduce your baby to all the animals on the farm. If you're able, consider even placing a rabbit or barn kitten in your infant's lap. This will help your infant become familiar with animals of all types at a young age.
Help improve your young infant's motor skills by creating your own animal blocks. All that's required to create this craft is a set of large, plain wooden blocks and permanent markers or water-based paint in an array of vibrant colors. Paint or draw a variety of animal representations on the side of each blocks. For example, draw or paint representations of animals you'd find on the farm on one blocks, and animals that live in the ocean on another. Once the paint or markers are dry, introduce the blocks to your young infant. Guide the young baby's hands and help him feel the blocks. Point out the various animals on the blocks and what sound each makes. As the infant ages, allow him to stack, play and explore the blocks, and the animals painted on them, too.
A mobile featuring animals is an effective way to introduce young infants safely to your baby. If you cannot find a mobile featuring stuffed animals or representations of animals, make one yourself. Find a sturdy, inexpensive mobile and remove the existing toys. Attach small stuffed animals to the mobile, paying attention they're firmly tied to the string and won't fall off. The American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents to ensure the growing baby cannot touch or pull down the mobile. Once the baby is big enough to stand up and grab the mobile, the AAP urges parents to take the mobile down.
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