Hide baby’s favorite toy under a blanket as baby watches. When baby lifts the blanket up, say “You found the toy!”
When you feed your baby, sing about the temperature of the food! “This yogurt is nice and cool.” “These potatoes are nice and warm.”
When you read a book to your baby, you don’t have to read the words. You can tell your baby a story about the pictures you see.
When you're folding laundry, play peek-a-boo! Hide behind a shirt and say "Where's baby?" Move it quickly away and say "There you are!”
When reading a book aloud, name the things you see on the page to build vocabulary. Hearing words will help baby learn to read.
Talk to your baby about feelings. When your baby smiles, talk about what makes you smile, while you smile. Repeat with other feelings.
Newborns only see 10”-12” from of their face. Help baby learn to focus their eyes. Hold a high contrast toy this distance and move slowly left and right.
When settling down for bed, read your magazine/book/article aloud to your baby. Your baby will enjoy the sound of your voice and learn reading is fun.
Repeat the sounds your baby makes. If they say “Ba, ba, ba” repeat it back to them. Then try saying “Ma, ma, ma” and see if they copy you.
Before or after reading a book to your baby, slowly count how many pages there are.
Tell your baby everything you are doing, whether you are picking up toys or putting on their shoes. This will help them understand your words.
Reuse your wipes box. Cut the slit a little larger. Put a small cloth inside and pull it out a little through the slit. Let your baby pull out the rest.
Leave board books or cloth books with your baby’s toys so they can choose to play with them or look at the pictures any time they want.
Put an ice cube on a tray and let baby touch and taste it. Talk about how cold it is. Give them a bowl of warm water and talk about the differences.
Lay baby down on floor. Then trace your finger on baby’s leg and draw the letters A-Z on their leg, while singing the ABCs.
Hang laminated landscape photos at baby’s head height. Talk about everything you see in the photo, pointing at each object and color.
Play in waiting rooms. Pack a bag with some of baby’s favorite things. Reach in, asking, “What’s in the bag?” Pull something out in a fun way & name it aloud.
Sing WHEELS ON THE BUS to your baby, while driving or riding the bus. Songs help babies learn new words. Find songs here
It’s ok to skip words or pages when reading to baby or change the character’s name to your child’s name for fun. The most important thing is to have fun!
When baby can pick up small objects with their finger and thumb, let them feed themselves finger food. It will build the hand muscles needed for writing.
Ask your baby questions and then answer them. This helps your baby learn to listen and talk. “Where’s your blanket?” “Here it is!”
Does baby love to bounce on your lap? Bounce up & down, fast & slow as well as stopping & starting. Repeat baby’s favorites.
A newborn (1-3 months) can't see far away. Hold books or objects about 8 inches from baby's face, black & white books are best.
During tummy time, play peek-a-boo with your baby. Every time you uncover your face, make a sad or silly face to teach your baby about feelings.
Flip a colander upside down. Stick colored craft pipe cleaners into some of the holes. Let baby feel and pull on the textures.
Put on one of your favorite songs while holding your baby securely to your chest, sing and gently move around together in time to the music.
When feeding baby, pause and ask if they want more food, wait and see if they give a response. “More” is an important math word to learn.
Add sound effects to stories to make them come to life for your baby; a train whistle, chugging engines, honking horns, trumpeting elephants!
Put tape sticky side out over small toys. Use different types of tape: duct, masking, packing. If too sticky, rub on fabric to get rid of some tackiness.
Sort toys by color while you play to help baby learn organization, an early math skill. Say “I put the red ball with the red block.”
Look in a mirror with your baby and talk about who you see. Try it with other family members and stuffed animals.
When you read to your baby, talk about the pictures. If you see a banana, you can say “The banana is yellow. You like to eat bananas.”
Put 3-4 toys in a cake pan. Fill pan with curly pasta and cover the toys. Let baby find the hidden toys. Keep a close eye so baby doesn’t eat pasta.
Talk at the park. Point to where baby is looking & say what you see. "There are sunbeams shining through the tree branches." As baby moves, name new sights.
Babies learn by touching. Let your baby feel different textures; smooth, fluffy, soft, hard. Learning these differences will help them write later.
Sing songs that tell what you do with baby daily: leaving the room, turning off lights, wiping faces & washing hands, changing diapers, or counting toes.
Reading should be fun. If your baby doesn’t want to read, it’s ok to stop reading and try again later or keep reading while they play.
Make a sensory board for your baby. Use things you have at home. Babies learn a lot through feeling different textures.
As you play with your baby, make different noises for toys like trucks, dolls, or animals. Hearing different types of sounds helps develop language.
When you dress your baby, talk about what you are doing. “We are putting your arm in your shirt.” This helps your child learn new words.
Sing favorite songs over and over again. Repeating songs is a fun way to help baby get ready to learn words. Find songs here.
Check out an ABC book to read to your baby. Seeing the letters and pictures helps them enjoy reading with you.
Lay baby on a safe surface when folding laundry. Dangle socks or sleeves just above baby. Let them grab and try to pull the clothes. Vary textures.
Hide a Cheerio under a cup and see if your baby can find it. This helps baby understand that objects still exists, even if they can’t see them.
Play airplane while feeding baby. Say “Here comes the banana!” and fly the spoon to baby’s mouth. Repeat with each food to teach baby new words.
Empty food containers and wooden spoons can be used as drums for older babies to explore rhythms and sounds. Turn on favorite music and drum with the beat.
Hang a toy that makes sound within arm distance of your baby. If they do not touch it, guide them or demonstrate until they do.
Let your baby help you read. Help them turn the pages. Talk to them about what you see in the book and listen to their babbles about it.
Babies don't need fancy toys. Make silly sounds while you toss, roll or bounce a ball to baby. You will both laugh!
Help your baby learn numbers as you wash baby's hands. Count aloud "1, 2, 3, 4, 5! Where's the other hand? 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 clean fingers!"
Let baby use fingers to pick up cereal and move it from a bowl to the high chair tray and back to build hand muscles needed to write when baby is older.
Sing to your baby as you do daily activities. “This is the way we put on your clothes.”
Babies repeat sounds they hear and learn about language when you read aloud to them. Click here for booklists!
Give your little one a small ball to squeeze and roll. This builds hand strength for writing when baby grows up.
Count your child's fingers and toes, crackers at snack time, or steps you take walking from room to room in the house to build math skills for school.
Read aloud to your baby in your native language from any book, even cookbooks & textbooks. What matters most is hearing the sounds of spoken language.
Hide a toy in a visible spot, while baby watches. “I’m hiding the toy, can you find it?" When baby finds the toy, choose a new hiding place.
You can help your baby learn language by having quiet time. Turn off the television & music so baby can focus on the sounds they make.
Babies need to be surrounded by books. Keep books in the car, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and wherever baby hangs out during the day.
Bang on pots with spoons. Making noise together is fun! It also trains baby's eyes and hands to work together for eating, drawing, writing.
Build baby’s vocabulary by saying aloud the day's activities. Say “Put on socks” as you help them dress or clap your hands with them & say “clap clap!”
Music is a great way to develop the brain & explore sounds. Every day choose a different place & sing the ABCs to your baby.
As you feed your baby, use words to describe what foods taste, feel and look like. "This yogurt is smooth," "that yellow banana is sweet."
Babies like to put books in their mouths. That’s ok! You can clean a board book with a wipe, let it dry, then let baby have fun.
Put pillows on the floor and encourage baby to crawl around them to you. Use words like "around," "over," and "faster" to build math and language skills.
Hold your baby close during bedtime & sing a favorite song again & again. Singing the same song can help baby feel calm & safe.
Try reading a bilingual board book to baby. Hearing the sounds of a different language will expand their knowledge of conversation, an important skill.
Talk with a calm voice when baby first wakes up. As you change their diaper or feed them a bottle, make eye contact & let them see your happy face.
Place toys/books just out of your baby's reach. When they reach or move toward the items, clap & tell your baby that they did a good job.
The sense of touch is important in brain development. Use your finger to gently draw letters on your baby’s belly, while you say the letter aloud.
Babies love the sound of paper. Build listening and motor skills by helping baby rip up scrap paper. Crinkle into a ball for more fun!
Notice what your child is watching. Say aloud what baby sees so baby learns that everything has a name. “Look at the puppy’s tail wag. He’s happy!”
Build your baby's knowledge of sounds & rhythm in words. Do some knee bounce rhymes. Here are some fun examples.
Babies like to open and close books, hand them to you, or stack them like blocks. This makes books fun and trains baby’s eyes and muscles to work together.
Give your baby a ball to squeeze and roll. This teaches baby how to use their muscles and eyes, which will help later on when they write.
Books with high-contrast pictures & bright bold colors are easier for babies 3 months & up to focus on and see.
Sing any song you can think of, even if it's only part of a song. Whether it's Motown, hip hop, or a new Adele song! Baby will love bonding with your voice.
If bedtime is too late for your baby to listen to a whole book, read aloud anytime during the day--lunchtime, bath time, in line at the store!
Let your baby hold a crayon & write. Say the alphabet while they scribble. Patiently wait while they make the connection between sounds & writing.
Baby can learn new words during bath time. Take turns dropping toys in the water. Say, "watch it sink" or "it floats" or "splash!"
If you go apple picking, talk about the 5 senses. “I hear bees buzzing, see families smiling, smell doughnuts, taste sweet apples, and feel warm sunshine.”
Sing or just hum to your child. They love to hear the sound of your voice & will try to echo your sounds, building connections in the brain.
Talk during bathtime, put some bubbles on different parts of your baby. Say, "Fingers! Toes!" This is a fun way to help baby learn new words.