Eight Activities To Do With Your Eight Month Old Child

17 Mar

I am always looking for new activities to do with my baby. I can think of lots of fun things to do with an older child, like playing restaurant or grocery store or house, but it’s harder to come up with new things that are developmentally appropriate for this age. The Mayo Clinic says that at this age to expect:

  • Advancing in gross motor skills such as rolling, sitting, crawling, creeping, pulling up, and cruising.
  • Advancing in hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills such as raking items into their hand, transferring objects from one hand to the other, using a pincer grasp with their thumb and forefinger.
  • Improving in communication skills such as laughing, squealing, distinguishing emotions through tone of voice, repeating, and babbling.
  • Stranger anxiety
  • Teething

I can’t think of any fun activities that deal with stranger anxiety or teething, so let’s overlook them for this exercise.

#1 – Go For A Walk

I have yet to meet a baby that dislikes being outside. Everything is new and interesting and engages all of their senses at once – the birds chirping, the scent of dead leaves, the texture (and taste) of grass between their fingers, the sight of tree branches silhouetted against the sky. Or if you live in the city, the sound of cars honking, the scent of restaurant exhaust, the texture (and taste) of playground mulch, and the sight of streetlights changing color. And instead of sitting in the backyard or on the front stoop, it’s better for mother to go for a walk. Getting a little exercise and those endorphins pumping, and seeing the rest of the world provides a sanity-fortifying dose of perspective.

#2 – Make An Enticing Crawling Course

This will help baby practice their locomotion skills. On a surface that provides good traction, like carpet, set up block towers in a path about six to eight inches. Babies love to knock down block towers (to the consternation of older siblings), and will do everything they can to get within swatting distance of one.

#3 – Rattles and Bangs

Put a variety of toys that can be rattled and banged within your baby’s reach, a few at a time. Toys such as

  • Rattles
  • Toy Xylophone
  • Blocks, particularly stick or mallet shaped ones
  • Cat Toys that are not a choking hazard
  • Wooden Spoons and Pots (or Tupperware)

#4 – Go On A Picnic

Pack a blanket, a water bottle, baby’s lunch, and a PB&J and hop in the car. Go somewhere you’ve never been before, and once you get there, spread out the blanket and enjoy the novelty. Pack up the stiller or a baby carrier if you want to go exploring after lunch. Given the season, consider also packing sun hats, sunscreen, baby-safe insect repellant, sweaters, or coats.

#5 – Read A Book

My baby does not have the attention span for more than four pages. But I try to read at least three books to her during the day. As we keep practicing, her attention span will grow and she’ll enjoy longer and longer stories. I struggle with the correct balance between letting Daisy interact with the book and help turn the pages, and keeping her from tearing the pages. In future posts I’ll review some of our favorite books.

#6 – Sing Silly Songs

If you can think of very few children’s songs, the first place to start is to create a Pandora radio station that is geared towards children’s music. I started my Pandora children’s music station with the seed of Baby Beluga by Raffi. There are also YouTube videos of many classics like Patty Cake, Itsy Bitsy Spider, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. If you want the sheet music for classic children’s songs, I highly recommend Lullabies: An Illustrated Songbook and The Library of Children’s Song Classics. Lullabies: An Illustrated Songbook is illustrated with works of art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is gorgeous.

#7 – Mommy Beatbox

This game is a little harder to describe because there aren’t English words for all the strange sounds we can make with our mouths. The only sound with a term that I know is “blowing raspberries.” But you can make so many other sounds other than blowing raspberries – singing a pitch and bouncing your finger up and down across your lips to cause breaks in the tone, sing a note while holding your lips loosely and shake your head so violently back and forth, or blow your lips like a horse. All of these are very funny to baby, particularly when you do them either in response to her vocalization experiments or as a surprise. To surprise your baby, sit next to her and look away. Then turn suddenly towards her and zoom in close to her face and make a funny sound – either a strange sound as previously described or a “real word” like “BEEP!” This will work when baby is in a good mood and not tired or hungry.

#8 – Go For a Swim

Most facilities that have indoor pools, like the YMCA, have family swim hours. Take advantage of them! Not only will you help your child to learn to be comfortable in the water, there will be other parents to meet. Playing in the pool with a baby is all about gentle exploration at their pace. Set them on the pool wall and encourage them to “jump” (scoot their bum off the ledge) into your arms as you hold them and say “YAY!” Hold baby on her tummy, with her face out of the water, and move her through the water as if she was swimming. Praise her if she kicks with a “Kick! Kick! Kick! Yaaaay!” Hold baby on your raised knee and help her splash and kick. By the time you get home from your adventure at the pool, baby will be exhausted and take a wonderful nap. And you can congratulate yourself on getting a good upper body workout from holding and lifting baby.

What are some of your favorite activities with baby that enliven your day?

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