Play and Learn Activity 1: Bath and Body

I am a SAHWM – Stay At Home Working Mom. Lately though, I have been morphing into a SAHM. I’ve been so addicted to taking care of the baby and teaching her stuff. She is in this uber cute phase wherein she parrots you – what you say and what you do. Her mind is such an absorbent sponge right now. She is busy taking in everything so I was quite hooked on planning developmental activities. I am enriching her mind with books and developmental toys (Sources are: The Book Depository and Amazon). Thank God for the internet!!! Seriously though, I think I need to get back to work since Christmas is our busiest season and working means more money to buy more stuff for Baby Bear, right? 😉

What I have been busy researching about the past few days were brain-boosting activities that I could do with Baby Bear or that I can teach the nanny to do with Baby Bear. As one of her godmothers told me, it’s not the nanny’s duty to teach her stuff… it is the duty of the parents to do so. It’s just a bonus if the nanny CAN teach her. Heck, it’s already a bonus if you even have a GOOD nanny who can do the basic nanny duties, right? Teaching your kid is above and beyond her call of duty already.

Anyhoo, I digress. I was able compile a list of activities from varied sources like parenting books, journals, websites, twitter, Facebook and other digests. Nerd Alert! 😛 Will share the activities that we were able to do successfully or the ones that were able to illicit a positive response. Note that activities posted focus on language, music and games that are age-appropriate for Baby Bear (around 18-24 months). It is our goal to have a new enrichment activity at least once or twice a month, maybe even more. With babies, the focus is always repetition since they are at the stage wherein repetition fosters memory retention. And hey, as long as you see them having fun, why retire that old trick if it still works, right? 😉 Whatever makes them happy, after all learning should always be fun since they’re just babies! 🙂

Play Activity 1: Bath and Body (Yes, I’m so corny. I couldn’t think of an activity title so this is what I used. No points for creativity here :P)

Objective: Focuses on learning about the parts of the body and other action words.

rubber ducky, you're the one... you make bath time lots of fun!
rubber ducky, you’re the one… you make bath time lots of fun!

There is still an opportunity to learn even if you are just giving your baby a bath. Get babies’ bath toys to do actions, tell her what each one is doing and urge her to tell you, too. Example, pick up her rubber ducky and say: the duck is splashing, splashing splashing on your back. Or grab the soap and say: look, the soap is washing, washing, washing your tummy and so on and so forth. Other action words that we use are: shampooing, massaging, tickling, etc.

Rationale: Studies say that repetition of words and phrases accelerates langauge development. It establishes early on that every sound has a meaning and solidifies that every thing that is named or every action has a corresponding word. That’s why in Baby Bear’s school, they post or name all of the objects that you will see inside their classroom. Everything is labeled accordingly. For instance, DOOR, CHAIR, TABLE, WINDOW, etc. You can actually do the same at home. Subliminal message at its best! 🙂

Remember that babies at this stage learn via playing. It is with playing that they are able to grasp the concept of things and events happening around them. Ain’t it fun to be a kid! 😉

Other fun activities:

30 Days to Hands on Play Challenge

Visit A Zoo

How about you? What are some of the activities that you do with your kids? Feel free to share them here! 🙂

Baby Bears’ Reading List

Even before our Baby Bear was born, I already started buying her books. I wanted to foster in her the love of reading. I left the shopping of clothes and cutesie stuff to her maternal grandma (gua-ma), while I took care of her books and educational toys. I bought different types of books… as in, a lot! That’s why I was super worried when we started reading to her at 3 months and she showed no interest whatsoever in any type of book! She would just rapidly close or throw the books to the floor. We tried every type of book — cloth book, Lamaze books, board books, books with sounds, with puppets, every type of baby book that I could conceivably get my hands on! Fast forward to now at 10 months, I am happy that my Baby Bear loves reading books. We now read to her the classics like The Runaway Bunny, On the Day You Were Born, and Goodnight Moon, among others.

Like I said, it didn’t start out this way. Here are some things I learned along the way that helped me:

  1. Try to discover what type of book interests her. For babies below 4 months, the most practical book to start with is a cloth book since it is light and soft for baby to touch and feel.
  2. Go for picture books that have the simplest execution. The best books are the ones with just the picture and the word. Flash cards are a good example of this type of reading tool.
  3. Invest in board books as your baby will just crumple and tear the paper pages. Believe it or not, my baby even uses the board books as a spring board to getting to another place and even tries to stand on it! Yikes!
  4. Point to the words when you read to your baby to help him associate that there is a word for everything. Take it a step further by pointing out objects as you go about your day to further associate that there is a name for everything.
  5. Size of the print is important – the larger the print, the better. Don’t make reading too hard for them.
  6. Pick a good time to read. Make sure baby isn’t sleepy or hungry.
  7. Have a special reading nook.  Read where there is no distraction. Separate the toys from the books.
  8. Read with passion – as enthusiastically as possible… with feelings! 🙂
  9. Consistency is key! If your baby is like mine and she doesn’t show interest at once, do as my husband did. Plop her down every night on your lap with a bedtime story until it becomes a ritual to her and she begins to like it. Warning: expect a lot of squirming!
  10. Last but not the least, kids love to imitate so show them also that you love and ENJOY books. Give her a book to read while you are reading your own book. Kids learn best if we model the behavior.

Make it a part of the daily ritual to read books. I am thankful to Papa Bear who persevered in this endeavor. He lovingly picks up the books that Baby Bear throws to the floor and goes back to reading from whence he left off. Her favorites are the Baby Touch book series that I got her from The Book Depository. She can already point out to where some of the objects in the book are like star, owl, pink bird, and can even pinpoint details such as the tiger’s tummy, wheels of the car, and others. I am one proud momma!

Here is the list of books that we read to her in rotation. Hope you can also share with me how you read at home and what your favorites are too! 🙂

flash cards - we started out with the black and white version for infants then moved on to coloured 🙂
she relates to the simple action and object books as those shown are so much a part of her own daily life
puppet books for interaction
books that "sing" and "talk"; the ni hao kai lan series' also teaches mandarin - talk about 2-in-1!!! 🙂
Baby Touch Books - 'nuf said! 😀
other books in her book shelf and more!!! 😀