0-3 Months30 days of developmental activities for your newborn
Visual Tracking Game-Print out high contrast picture cards from this PDF: http://store.sosmart.com/downloads/0-3cards.pdf Allow baby time to adjust his/her eyes to focus on the card and very slowly move it from side to side to encourage visual tracking. Infants are attracted to & stimulated by high contrast patterns.
Skills: Eye coordination, visual fixation and following
Infant Massage-Baby lotion or baby safe oil and gently massage your baby’s arms, legs, back. Quietly talk or sing to your baby during the massage.
Skills: Promotes relaxation, bonding, language.
Imitation Game: Hold your baby in front of you so he/she can clearly see your face. Stick out your tongue & be amazed at how even newborn infants can imitate this facial gesture!
Skills: Imitation, eye contact, visual attention, socialization.
Tummy Time Play: Place baby on the floor on a blanket or lie down with baby on your chest facing you. Encourage baby to raise his/her head/chest in response to the sound of your voice, the sight/sound of toys or the sight of himself/herself in a mirror.
Skills: Trunk/neck strength, sensory input, receptive language, visual fixation/following.
Response to Sound Game: Move to your baby’s left and right side and call his name, shake a rattle or squeak a toy. Encourage baby to look toward the sound. Younger babies may not be able to locate the source of the sound, but will indicate they can hear it by widening their eyes, moving more or becoming still. Older babies will be able to find & locate the source of the sound.
Skills: Active listening, sound localization, parental voice recognition.
Sidelying Play: Place your baby on her right side. Prop a pillow behind her if needed to maintain this position. Lie beside her or offer her a toy, small ring to hold in her hand. Switch to left side after a few minutes and repeat.
Skills: Hands together play, fine motor skills-reach/grasp, hands to mouth play, gross motor skills.
Action Feet Game: When baby is lying on his back, grasp his feet/legs and pedal them in a bicycle motion. Sing or talk to baby.
Skills: Gross motor skills, language.
Please Touch Game: Support your baby in sitting in front of you or hold them on your lap facing you or lie down beside them on the floor when they are in a sidelying position. Encourage baby to reach toward and touch/explore your face, hair, etc by reaching and grabbing.
Skills: Eye-hand coordination, fine motor skills, sensory exploration, socialization.
Story Time-Start reading a bedtime story to your baby from birth onward. You can make up stories or read short books. It doesn’t matter what you say, your baby is absorbing every word, even though she cannot talk yet.
Skills: Listening, receptive/expressive language.
Song Time-Sing to your baby. Use traditional songs such as “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” or make up your own songs. Babies love music!
Skills: Language, listening, socialization.
Mobile Fun-Use store bought mobiles or baby gyms with hanging toys, or make your own mobile using string & cut out bright shapes (always supervise this activity). Hold baby within reach of hanging toys and encourage him to reach toward & bat at the toys.
Skills: Fine motor reach & grasp, hand-eye coordination.
Bath Games-Help baby kick feet and splash in tub or help her pop bubbles in the tub. Gently rub a warm washcloth over baby’s skin.
Skills: Gross motor, fine motor, socialization, sensory.
Find My Hands/Feet Game-Help your baby find his hands/feet, by placing brightly colored mittens or socks on or using wrist/ankle rattles (you can make your own by sewing bright shapes or bells to socks, mittens, but always supervise due to choking hazard). Bring baby’s feet up while on his back so he can see them or bring his hands toward his face or together at his chest.
Skills: Self-discovery, visual attention, gross/fine motor.
Back and Forth Game-Begin face to face with your baby and coo and babble at her. Wait, give her time to respond or imitate and then do it again experimenting with open vowel sounds “oooh, ahhh, eee” and moving to consonant vowel sounds “mamama, bababa, dadada” as baby gets older.
Skills: Receptive/expressive language, social skills, attention span.
Mirror Play-When baby is on his back, tummy or side hold or prop a mirror in front of him so he can see himself. He will not yet understand who it is in the mirror, but the his reflection will capture his attention and gaze.
Skills: Sense of self, visual fixation/following, attention.
I Can Move: Very gently rock, sway or dance with your baby while holding her and supporting her head. If she doesn’t like back and forth movement, try side to side movement or up and down movement. Sing or talk to her softly while moving.
Skills: Vestibular system development, socialization, gross motor skills, sensory skills.
Baby Sit Ups: Place baby on blanket facing you. Support baby under his arms, neck/head and says “one, two, three, UP WE GO!” and pull baby to a supported sitting position. As baby’s neck muscles get stronger you can give less support & let him do more of the work himself.
Skills: Gross motor neck, trunk strength & head control, socialization.
Grasping Game: Babies have a reflex that allows them to hold your finger or small toys. Place your finger or a small connector ring (from a baby gym or mobile) into your baby’s left hand & then his right. See how he is able to grasp onto your finger or the ring and how long he holds on before letting go.
Skills: Fine motor grasp, tactile input to hands.
Flashlight Game: In a dimly lit or dark room, turn on a flashlight. Don’t shine it directly in baby’s eyes, but shine it to his left/right side and above his head or slowly move it across a wall to see if he fixates on it and tries to follow the light.
Skills: Visual fixation, following, attention.
Hold My Bottle: Help your infant learn to hold her own bottle by making sure both her arms are forward (not stuck under your arm) when you are feeding her. You can do hand over hand, but placing baby’s hands on the bottle and your hands on top to encourage her to touch, pat and eventually hold her own bottle.
Skills: Self-feeding, fine motor grasp/arm & hand strength.
I Know My Name: Help your baby learn his name using it frequently. Make up songs using your baby’s name or insert his name into stories. Using a consistent name or nickname helps baby learn his name, using multiple names or nicknames can be confusing for a baby.
Skills: Listening, name recognition, language, social skills.
I Smile, You Smile: At first a baby’s smile may be reflexive, such as when sleeping . But soon she will begin to smile socially. Establish eye contact with your baby and smile often! When she smiles, you can help but smile back and call attention to it, which will help her learn to smile again!
Skills: Socialization, imitation.
Help Me Self-Soothe-Some babies take a pacifier which helps them soothe or calm themselves. Babies can learn to self-soothe by finding their own hands/fingers to suck on. Help your baby bring his hand to his mouth in a variety of positions, sidelying may be easiest because his hands will naturally come together and be closer to his face. Allow him to suck on his hand/fingers to calm himself or to get ready for feeding. Don’t worry about your baby being a thumb sucker at this point because bringing hands to mouth is an important developmental skill.
Skills: Self-calming, fine motor hand to mouth, feeding readiness.
Help Me Sleep-By the 3rd month it’s not too early to begin establishing a sleep routine for your baby. Rock your baby or feed him until he is just drowsy, but not yet sound asleep so that he starts to learn to go to sleep in his crib instead of being held/rocked by a parent. Establishing this routine early will help baby later on, as he awakens, he will know he can fall asleep on his own and not reply on his parents to put him to sleep.
Skills: Self-calming, establishing good sleep patterns.
Hold Me-Hold your baby in a variety of positions such as facing you, outward, at the shoulder, tummy down, sideways, etc. This allows her to experience the feel of her body in space in a variety of positions, allows you to discover which positions she prefers the most & helps her work on head, trunk, neck control strength.
Skills: Gross motor skills, head/neck/trunk strength, body in space.
Talk, Talk, Talk-Even though your baby cannot talk back yet, she is absorbing and taking in everything you say to her. Talk to her ALL the time about anything and everything you are doing. She may coo back or be silent, but one this is for sure, she is learning from your speech even at this early age!
Skills: Receptive, expressive language and socialization
Hands together, Hands to Mouth-An important skill for baby is to be able to bring his hands together at his chest, as well as the ability to bring his hand to his mouth. He will first do these skills without a toy and later as he gets older he will be able to do it while holding a rattle. You can help your baby with this skill by using hand over hand assistance to bring your baby’s hands together at the center of his chest (midline) and also by helping him bring a hand to his mouth in order to suck on or explore his fingers.
Skills: Fine Motor, self-soothing.
Shiny & Bright & Noisy/Musical-In addition to high contrast toys & objects, babies also like shiny reflective toys, or objects/ toys with movement & sound/music. You can use household objects such as cut up mylar balloons (supervised), which are shiny and make crinkly sounds, or let your baby lie under a mirror or ceiling fan. Toys with soft music are often soothing and enjoyable for young babies as well.
Skills: Visual fixation & tracking, auditory development.
Symmetrical Development-You should notice your baby moving his arms and legs symmetrically, meaning he will kick reciprocally and move hands /arms together. It is important at this age that babies are moving body parts equally. If you notice that your baby is using one arm/hand or one leg more so than the other, this can be a red flag for development and should be mentioned to your pediatrician. You can move your baby’s legs in a bicycle motion or gently bring hands/arms up over his head while singing or saying “So Big” to promote symmetrical movements.
Skills: Gross/Fine Motor development, symmetry.
Baby Circuit Training-Because there is a wide variety of baby equipment available today, it is advised that babies do not stay in one position or one piece of equipment for long periods. A baby who lies on his/her back for long periods and then goes into bouncy seats or swings for long periods runs the risk of developing a “flat head” otherwise known as plagiocephaly. Some children also develop Torticollis or a “twisted” or “stiff” neck due to spending too much time on their backs without being repositioned. So, if you use swings, bouncers, car seats, etc. be sure to limit their use to 15-20 minutes at a time and intersperse the use with lots of supervised tummy time and sidelying play to relieve the pressure on the back of your baby’s head.