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Learning Starts Early!
All throughout your child's months of life, there has already been several milestones they have achieved. At the 8 month mark, a new transition is in place. Certain games and toys will help spark their curiosity and continue their path of learning. Seeing the spark in your child's eye will help you see what interests your baby during play time. Take those first cues as what will work best when playing with your 8-month-old child.
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Hide and Seek Games
Right now, playing hide and seek games along with peek-a-boo will entertain your little one for hours. These are some fun games that can help with brain development. They will see that both their toys and you are there. The repetition of leaving a room or taking a toy, teaches your child that they both are still around. This will start to develop a seeking skill, where they will learn to seek out both objects and people.
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Blocks can be one of the best toys for a child. If you stack up the blocks yourself, show her how to knock them down, she will be amazed at the creation that you came up with. Taking these small blocks and making a huge figure out of them will fascinate your child. Over sized blocks, such as the Especially for Baby 6 Piece Soft Blocks Set from Babies R Us, is a great idea at this age group.
If you also have toys that you can take apart and put back together again, this is the perfect step to use those. Things like puzzles, toy parts, and toy animals are some great ideas. They will want to examine how to take those toys apart and watch you put them back together. Then, they will start to do it on their own.
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Children love to watch what adults do. From facial expressions to daily activities, your little one is well aware of your movements. Get out a pot from your kitchen and try banging on that. Your child's eyes will light up with excitement. Try putting a hat on your head and then taking it off. Pass the hat to our baby and have her put it on her head. Doing simple show and tell things throughout the day will help her develop into your family.
Little containers, dolls, and smaller objects that your child can hold will make for an enjoyable time. Make sure that all objects given to your baby don't pose a choking hazard, either by the size itself or parts that may come off. The ExerSaucer is still an excellent way for your child to be entertained. Mark off the parts of the house that would be dangerous for your little one, and create good play area for her. Children are not to be left alone playing in the ExerSaucer or any stationary activity center. One of my favorite ExerSaucers that my daughter loved was the Fisher-Price Little Superstar Step 'n Play Piano Entertainer. We are a very musical family so this was a great starting point for her to learn new sounds.
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Reading to your child is the best thing you can to for them. This helps them to hear new words, sounds, and get acquainted to your voice. At this point, children love both black and white books as well as vivid picture books. Soft books that babies can hold should be used for more of a toy than a learning point. Sitting your child on your lap and reading to them at the same time every day, helps set in a good schedule.
I would suggest reading short stories and nursery rhymes to your baby throughout the day. Books that have textures on them as well as books with sounds will go over well with infants in the 8 month mark. Babies enjoy being close to you and hearing your voice, so just grab a book and get to reading! I would suggest books by Sassy, such as their Sensations Book and Baby's First Sound Books. Both of these are soft for your baby to touch, yet they give enough interest to keep their mind racing!
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Well Balanced Play Time
In order for your child to continue to develop in a forward rate, using several different techniques will do the trick. Play around with different toys, books, sounds, and games to see what your child likes best. Please remember that all children develop at different times, so your child might not be doing the something as your friend's child at that age. This is normal, so do not panic. If you have any concerns about your child's development, bring them up with your doctor during the routine checks. Doctor's will point out any issues that they see, but be honest with them about your schedule and what you do with your child.
At this pivotal 8-month mark, knowing the best games and toys can make a huge difference in your child's development. A mix-and-match of your favorites will help your baby continue to grow and want to learn. Make learning fun with your little one as a bonding tool. This special time to just sit on the floor and play with your baby will be a rewarding time for the both of you. So sit back, enjoy those smiles, and help your baby learn. They will thank you in the long run.
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Self, Personal Experience
See Bright Hub Education's Guide to Creative Educational Activities for Infants, assembled by Kara Bietz
8 Month Old Baby, on What to Expect.com