Developed by occupational therapists, the “Stimulate your Baby” series covers x5 developmental areas. The video series can be found on the Clamber Club YouTube channel.

What your baby is learning at this stage

During this stage babies learn to focus on smaller objects and those that are further away. By 6 months your baby’s vision will be clear and sharp.

Babies are now able to look at a toy in their hands and see their hands as they reach for a toy. This improves three-dimensional vision, and babies can judge distance more accurately, which is important for eye-hand coordination. Eye muscles are becoming much stronger, and babies can follow objects smoothly with their eyes, up and down and from side to side.

Activities and ideas

  • Faces and People – Your baby is fascinated by faces and begins to recognize familiar people.
  • Mobiles help your baby practice focusing on a variety of both large and smaller objects.
  • Puppets are a fun way of captivating your baby’s visual attention. Use them to practice focusing and eye movements.
  • Peek a Boo games are a fun way of practicing focus and eye movements, and help your baby learn that even if she can’t see you, you are still there.
  • Moving targets – Move toys in different directions, side to side, up and down, and forwards and backwards. This exercises and strengthens all the muscles of the eyes.
  • Vary Positions – Change your baby’s position and environment to give him different perspectives on his world.

What your baby is learning at this stage

Babies are becoming more and more aware of and interested in the sounds around them, turning their heads to find out where they come from and what they mean. Babies are learning social interaction skills and are interested in people, responding with sounds and babble in simple back and forth conversations. They begin experimenting with various sounds, making different sounds, and listening to themselves. Laughing and squealing are common sounds at this stage. Babies start to use consonant sounds such as “k”, “g”, and maybe the “b” sound. And they may start to grunt, or growl, and imitate sounds such as coughing, or blowing bubbles.

 Activities and ideas

  • Talking – Spend time talking directly to your baby.
  • Imitation and Turn Taking games are important for learning language and social skills.
  • Repeat Short Sentences as this assists babies to learn the meaning of words.
  • Label Body Parts while bathing, dressing, or playing with your baby. This teaches body awareness.
  • Tone of Voice and Facial Expression – Babies are sensitive to your tone of voice and facial expressions, and these give meaning to what you are saying.
  • Identifying and Locating Sounds – Give your baby a wide variety of sounds to listen to and show her what is making that sound, and where it is coming from. This encourages listening skills.
  • Sound Toys – Look out for or make your own interesting sound toys that attract your baby’s attention.
  • Rhymes and Songs provide repetition of words, close contact, and an element of fun.
  • Music – Classical or gentle music is organizing and calming for you and your baby.

Books stimulate language and teach babies that words have meaning.

What your baby is learning at this stage

Babies are learning how to make their hands and eyes work together and to judge how far away objects are to reach and grab accurately.  Bringing hands together, looking at them and playing with fingers is a first step toward coordinating eyes and hands. Arms start to reach forward together and swiping at objects begins. As control of eye and hand movements develops, babies progress to deliberately holding objects, and bringing them to the mouth to explore. Towards the end of this stage, babies can reach and grasp objects with more accuracy and ease. Some babies may start to shake a rattle and try to pass it from hand to hand.   

Activities and Ideas
Touch and massage – Touch, massage, stroking, and brushing improve body awareness, bonding, and emotional wellbeing.

  • Textures – A variety of textured surfaces and toys improves your baby’s sense of touch and encourages exploration.
  • Hands to midline – Encourage hands to come together in the midline and babies to look at their hands.
  • Encourage reaching – Babies love reaching for you. When this improves, hold textured objects in different places to practice this skill.
  • Practice grabbing – Use interesting toys or objects to motivate your baby to reach and grab. Practice grabbing from a variety of positions.
  • Shaking – Rattles are favourite toys towards the end of this stage, as babies learn that their movements result in a sound. Choose rattles that fit into your baby’s hand.

What your baby is learning at this stage

Movement activates the vestibular system, which is the sensory system required for balance and orientation in space. Fast, arhythmical movements can be exciting and alerting, while slow rhythmical movements can calm your baby. Babies at this stage are beginning to enjoy being moved through space, which gives them the experience of having their heads in different positions in space.  Movement promotes a sense of wellbeing, and it also helps develop muscle control and balance, preparing babies for gross motor skills such as climbing, swinging, and somersaulting later on.

Activities and ideas

  • Carrying your baby is calming and lets your baby experience a variety of head positions in space.
  • Songs and rhymes that incorporate movement are a fun way of introducing a variety of movement experiences.
  • Dancing with your baby is a wonderful way of connecting and promotes emotional wellbeing. It also fosters pleasure in movement.
  • Tilting and bouncing activates your baby’s muscles which is important for balance.
  • Rolling games provide the sensation that prepares babies for rolling on their own.
  • Moving for fun – Using a variety of equipment gives babies the experience of having their heads in different positions in space. This prepares them for gross motor skills.
  • Watch your baby’s response and move slowly when introducing new movements. Your baby needs to trust you and feel safe.

What your baby is learning at this stage

When tummy lying babies are now able to lift their heads up and take weight on their forearms and by six months push up on straighter arms.  When lying on their backs, babies’ kick vigorously and their hands come up against gravity to touch in the midline. As muscles strengthen, they can lift legs and arms up to reach for their knees or feet. At the beginning of this stage, babies start to roll in and out of the side lying position. They then progress to roll from tummy to back and at around six months, from their backs all the way over onto their tummies. In the sitting position, babies are learning to hold their heads up and initially require full support.  As their trunks strengthen and their backs straighten, they need less support. Towards the end of this stage, babies may lean forward and prop themselves up on their arms, or they may be able to sit independently.

 Activities and ideas
Tummy Lying is important as it strengthens muscles and prepares your baby for the milestones of rolling and crawling.

  • Back Lying encourage babies to work against gravity to lift their arms and legs up off the floor, strengthening tummy and neck muscles.
  • Rolling – Have fun practicing rolling. Rotation is important for motor coordination and balance skills.
  • Pull to Sit – Pull your baby into sitting through side lying so they must work against gravity, exercising important muscles.
  • Supported Sitting – Give your babies progressively less support in sitting until their strength improves, and they begin to practice sitting independently.

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