Every minute spent together with your child has the potential for a memory that will last her entire life. Increase the chances of your times spent together making a never-ending impression by joining together in mentally stimulating activities. They’ll keep your child progressing developmentally and provide opportunities to grow your relationship even more.
Infants — Gather several of your baby’s favorite toys and some shoeboxes with lids. Place one toy in each box, put the lids on and set the boxes in front of your baby. Shake one of the boxes and in an animated voice say to her, “I hear something. I wonder what is inside the box. Let’s see what’s inside.” Does your baby shake the boxes or does she try to open up the boxes? Discover what is inside together. Talk about the different toys inside the boxes. Do they light up when you hit them? Do they make noises when you squeeze them? Encourage your infant to explore the toys.
Young Toddlers — Place some toys that your child has a lot of, such as blocks, stuffed animals or cars, in a basket or box. Place several small baskets, boxes or containers on the floor too. Say to your child, “I see a lot of your blocks in that basket. Could you help me take them out?” Does your child take out the toys one at a time or does he dump them out? After exploring the toys, encourage her to fill the different-sized containers with her toys. Let him dump and fill until he loses interest.
Older Toddlers — Place a basket or a box on the floor away from your child. Hand her a soft ball (or you could roll up a sock into a ball instead) and say to her, “Could you toss the ball into the basket?” When she makes one in, congratulate her by saying, “Yay, you did it!” Now it’s your turn to toss the ball into the container. If your child seems interested, move the box farther away from her and encourage her to toss the ball in again.
Preschoolers — Gather various food containers, cups, plates and silverware. Make a simple pattern with them, for example, cup, plate, cup, plate. Say to her, “Can you copy and continue the pattern I made?” Now let her make a pattern using the different items while you copy and extend her pattern. Count the number of items you used in your patterns.
School-Agers — You will need some paper and a pencil. Ask your child to think of someone living or dead he would like to have a conversation with. Help him think of some questions he could ask this person and write them down on the paper. If possible, help your child call or write the person to get answers to the questions.