I adore all of Xaviana’s phases, but her 10th month has been a particularly momentous one for us. It seems as though every day brings not one but several new developments. She’s preparing to walk, vocalizing in innovative ways, and learning new concepts like opposites, animal sounds, shapes, pointing, and clapping her hands. I can only wonder what marvels her impending 11th month will bring!
With that in mind, here are some of my favorite educational activities to stimulate young brainiacs.
- Music Time – Every day, I sing Xaviana her favorite songs, which range from “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to “We Will Rock You.” To keep her interested, I accompany my voice with the maracas, tone blocks, and clapper from her Melissa & Doug Band in a Box set. She loves to play along, often grabbing the instruments and adding her own spin to each song. She also enjoys tunes like “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “If You’re Happy,” which incorporate hand movements. Finally, I play piano for her and let her experiment with various sounds and tempo settings on our MIDI.
- Animal Sound Activities – Xaviana and I go through her soft Fisher Price farm book every day. I sing her “Old Macdonald Had a Farm” while turning the pages, pointing to each animal as I make the animal sounds. Now she’s pointing, and also making some of the sounds! I also make animal sounds while reading some of her favorite books, like “Thank You Bear,” “If Animals Kissed Good Night,” and “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?”
- Shape Matching – I’m a huge fan of the Bright Baby Big Board Book, and we go through it every day. It contains vibrant pictures of first words, colors, numbers, and ABCs. One of Xaviana’s favorite activities from the book is the shape page. I dump all the shapes out of her Playskool Form Fitter and place each shape on top of its image in the book, naming each one. Somehow, seeing each shape come to life in 3-D makes Xaviana more excited, and it has helped her to master placing the shapes in the correct holes of the form fitter.
- Fun With Opposites – Another of our favorite activities in the Bright Baby board book is the opposites page. I point out the pictures, and I also demonstrate the concepts with her own toys or with hand movements. As a result, she can now differentiate between her “big” and “small” O-balls, and she can show me “up” and “down” with her arms.
- Baby Rhyme Time – We recently started attending Baby Rhyme Time sessions at the public library. During the 20-minute session, the librarian sings various kids’ songs and reads stories. The activities are similar to the ones that Xaviana and I do at home, but the environment is fun for her, with new friends and fresh stories.
- Exercise Classes – As I’ve mentioned before, I take Xaviana to Mommy and Me barre classes every week, and she loves them for the music, energy, and opportunity to play with her buddies. However, she’s actually picking up on some of the movements. Just the other day, she grabbed onto the railing upstairs, hoisted herself into standing position, and went up on her toes, extending one arm gracefully in an exact copy of one of the moves we do in barre! I think she absorbed this from seeing the repetition week after week. I’m expecting plies in second position next. 😉
Mamas out there, what educational activities do you perform with your little smartypants? Which of the ones I listed is your favorite? I’d love to hear your thoughts!