When you cuddle, talk to, and play with your baby, you build an emotional bond. You also help stimulate his or her learning and cognitive development.
Show your baby new and interesting things. For instance, carry your baby around the room and show him or her pictures on the wall. Tell your baby what the pictures are. Go outside for walks. Talk about the things you see.
Between 3 and 6 months, babies seem to like toys that they can easily handle. They may fixate on a toy or task until it is mastered and then move on to another. Rotate the toys you have by taking them away for periods and then reintroducing them. Any household object, like a spoon or a measuring cup, can serve as a toy as long as it cannot injure or be swallowed by the baby.
Babies tend to like toys that match or challenge their motor and cognitive skill levels. For example, when they are able to pick up objects with their hands around 8 to 12 months, they may delight in playing with blocks. They might also enjoy more complex toys, in which an action triggers a response.
Reading to your baby also is a vital part of cognitive development. For information about nurturing your baby's language development, see the topic Speech and Language Development.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics Thomas M. Bailey, MD, CCFP - Family Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerLouis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics