Be sure to always make time for you and your child. You may not remember the hour here and there spent together everyday, but he or she will fondly. And mentally stimulating activities are a great way to keep your child progressing developmentally — and making memories of the two of you.
Infants — Scrunch up a piece of paper into a ball and tie a length of string or a ribbon around it. Sit across from your baby and start to wave the ball in front of her face. Say to her, “Can you see the ball moving?” Does she look at the ball or does she try to reach it? Talk about what you see her doing. For example, “You reached out and touched the ball. Yeah!”
Young Toddlers — Place one of your child’s favorite toys on the floor and cover it up with a laundry basket. Say to him, “Do you see your brown bear on the floor?” Does he try to lift off or move the laundry basket to get his toy? Talk about what you see him doing to get his toy. For example, “You lifted the basket to get your bear.” Keep placing the bear under and behind other objects, like behind the chair leg or under the coffee table. Describe again what you see him doing to get his toy.
Older Toddlers — Go for a walk with your child and look for different types of vehicles. Talk about the types of vehicles and colors you see. Ask your child to tell you the different type of vehicles and colors she sees also. For example, “I see a red car. What type of car do you see?” or “I see a silver garbage truck. Do you see a truck? What color is it?”
Preschoolers — Hand a piece of paper to your child as you hold one also. Say to her, “Can you walk around the room and balance the paper on your elbow?” Take turns naming different body parts to balance the paper on. Now crumple up the paper into a ball and balance the paper on the same body parts. Ask your child if it was easier to balance the paper when it was flat or scrunched up in a ball.
School-Agers — You will need several magazines, scissors, paper and a pencil. Cut out various magazine pictures (about 15 to 20) and place them in a pile. Encourage your child to choose about five or six and line them up any way he wants. Make up a story based on the pictures in the order he placed them. Write down your story as you create it together. If your child is interested, choose more or fewer pictures and create another story together.