Enjoy the give-and-take of early “conversations” with your seven-month-old. Because those coos and babbles are not only adorable, they’re really important for language development.
How your 7-month-old might play now
- He rocks on his hands and knees and may creep on his tummy
- She responds to her name, recognizes voices and different tunes
- With full color vision, he enjoys looking at complex objects—and might even move for a better view
- Her eyes help her explore, and she uses them as a gauge when reaching out for objects
- He starts cupping his hand around toys and can push them into his hand with his thumb
Help your baby learn more:
- Your turn, my turn. Start with an interactive game between you and baby, maybe just rolling the toy back and forth. Set up pillow bumpers for boundaries so the toy can’t roll too far. And put words with actions as you play: “back and forth,” “your turn, my turn.”
- Ready, set, crawl. Boost baby toward crawling by picking a target and encouraging her to roll the toy to it, then retrieve it. As the toy rolls, she’s likely to move toward it to start the fun all over again!
- Where is it? Help baby learn to locate things by listening: show him the toy, then put it behind your back and activate the sounds. Do this several times to see if he’ll crawl to you to find the source of the sound.
Help your baby learn more:
- In and out. This is a great time to focus on concepts like “in and out” and “on and off.” Encourage your baby to put a hand or a shape inside the shape sorter toy … what will happen? If he’s greeted with a funny sound or musical surprise, you can bet baby will like playing the “in and out” game over and over!
- One at a time. When you progress to introducing shapes, start with just one: identify it and let baby get the hang of sorting that shape before you move on to a new one. Name the shape as your child picks it up and tries to figure out where it fits.
Help your baby learn more:
- Talk about things as baby makes them happen—you’ll help him understand the idea of action/reaction: “You made the music play! Listen … do you hear it? Let’s spin the ball again.”
- Color me fun. Use a toy’s features to introduce your baby to various colors, saying each color name clearly as you point to it. This is the time when babies are building their receptive language skills, so the more words they hear, the more they’ll become familiar with.
- You did it! Use descriptive language as your baby activates a toy: “Hear the sound the dino makes? … Look what happens when you bop the bug!”
Help your baby learn more:
- One, two, three… Sit on the floor with baby and playfully point out a toy’s features, colors and surprises. Say color names out loud as you touch each one: “This is a blue bead, this one’s green and this one’s purple. One, two, three beads.”
- Let’s get physical. Encourage your baby to get physically involved with the toy to strengthen muscles and confidence. That could mean pushing it, rolling it back and forth, crawling through it or using it to pull up to a stand.
At the Zoo
Pop Goes the Parent
Sink or Float
Touch ‘n’ Tell
Cup & Container Games:
Containers: Babies at this age like to put stuff in containers: Fill a large bowl with balls, different shaped toys , ribbons etc. Help your baby to throw it out and pack it back in again. Touching and handling the different toys will help with small muscle development.
Coffee Tin: Take an old coffee tin. Cut a hole big enough for baby food jar lids to fit in. Keep all your empty baby food jar lids and help baby to put them into the old coffee tin.
Empty Cartons: Use any empty cartons that you buy loads off—e.g. milk cartons and use them as huge blocks for your baby. Build towers with these and let baby throw them over.
Empty bottles: Use empty plastic bottles and throw sand/ tiny balls or tiny sweets or any object that can make a noise if you roll the bottle towards your baby.This is a great way to encourage your baby to crawl: roll the bottle away from the baby and let him crawl after it, or push it along.
Lava Bottle: Throw a bit of washing liquid and a bit of food coloring in a bottle nearly half filled with water. Show your baby to shake it and look at the colored bubbles in the bottle. You can also roll the bottle towards your baby.
Stick a pencil or piece of wiring through the bottom of an empty polystyrene cup. This wiring must be long enough so that it can go beyond the top rim of the cup. Attach a ball/ face puppet/ stone with a face painted on it to the end of the wiring. Pull the face back so that it is hidden within the cup. Show it to your baby by asking: where’s the piggy and then gently push the face over the rim of the cup like a jack in the box jumping out of the cup.
You can use different size plastic bowls and fit them from big to small— and show it to your baby. You can also use plastic measuring cups for this.
Empty cups with food: Place snacking food (preferably dry) underneath empty cups, lift the cups and let the baby eat the snacking food from the cup you just lifted- you can make turns eating the snack.
Give your baby his own spoon to play with whilst feeding him.
Whilst feeding baby: Try different alternatives to the: “Here comes the train, open the station” like:
Here comes the air plane—Take the spoon high above and let it “fly” into your baby’s mouth.
This little spoon wants to see your tongue: show your tongue, etc.
Take a toy along with a spoon and make as if the toy/doll feed your baby. Tell your baby that his got company.
You can also make as if you are feeding baby and the toy- give both bibs and pretend that you are feeding both.
Hide & Seek Related Games:
Peek-a-boo. Hide behind doors, different hats, towels, sofa’s – everywhere in the house etc.
Hanging bells: hang bells close enough to the ground where baby can reach it—they love to shake these and hear the sound that it makes.
Play hide and seek with bells. Surround your baby with toys. Shake a bell and then hide it underneath one of the toys. Ask: “where’s the bell?”, whilst picking up the toys one by one. Once you pick up the toy that has the bell underneath, say: “Here’s the bell!!”
Put a bell toy around baby’s ankle or arm so that he hears the sound every time he moves. You can also attach the bell to the baby’s sock.
Favourite toy: Hide baby’s favorite toy in one room in the house and walk around to each room asking: where’s your bunny? Can it be in the Kitchen, in the bathroom, etc.
Put three different toys in different places in a room. Sit in the middle of the toys and ask baby to crawl to his teddy. At first, join him in crawling towards the toy you’ve asked. He will later be able to do this on his own. (More toward 9 months and even later).
Water & bath:
Drop several objects in the bath that sink or float—tell baby: “See it sinks”. Or: “Look it’s floating”. Give baby a turn to drop it in the water.
Sponge blocks: Cut sponges in to different size and shapes and let baby build towers with these in the bath. Show your baby how to ‘drown’ a sponge and if you squeeze the water out, how it pops up again etc.
Holes in the bottles: Making holes in a old plastic bottle, pour water into the bottle and show your baby how the water pours out of the wholes- You can also make holes in a lid of an old bottle and use it in the same way(taken from 3-6 months). This is a great way of introducing water to babies face — showering water over his head. Never force this, some babies hate water in their faces, others seem to enjoy it. You can also use it as a play ‘shower’ for babies other bath toys.
Water Balloons: Put water in balloons and blow them up. Now let the balloon go and see the water splash out of it—this is fun to play outside in the sun.
Open & Close Taps: If you open, water comes out. If you close, water stops – fascinating for babies
Cause and Effect:
Show your baby how light switches work. Cause and effect. Press the button and the light goes on!
Put a toy at the edge of a table and push it off. Make a noise when baby lands on the floor.
Blow up balloon and give them to baby untied— show them how the balloon flies away. Always ensure that your baby does not put the balloon in his mouth.
Throwing Ball games:
Throw balls in the air, and if they land shout bang or any other silly sound.
Roll balls towards your baby. Show them how to stop it. Let them try and push it.
Put a ball or any tiny object in your hand and close it. Now ask baby: “Where’s the ball?”. Then open your hand and show baby.
Hold your baby upright and show him how to ‘kick’ the ball. This can just be his foot touching the ball—make a fuss of him getting it right!
Large Box games:
Tunnel Box: Keep a large box and make a tunnel out of it. Show baby to crawl through it.
Jack in the box: Let one of the parents climb into a the large box and let someone bring the baby towards the box whilst asking: “Where’s daddy?”- Slowly jump out of the box and surprise your baby. This is a fun game to play with baby and other siblings. You can also sing the Jack in the box song:
Jack-in-the-box, you’ve gone away,
Won’t you come out and play?
Jack-in-the-box, you’re hidden away,
Pop out so we can play! ( Once you get to this part, pop out of the box!)
The idea is to surprise your baby, not to scare him!
Pull around box: Let your baby sit in the box. Whilst watching your baby, so that he doesn’t get hurt, pull or push him around on a carpet.
Gym Ball: Put baby on his stomach on a huge gym ball. Hold his feet and slowly roll the ball forwards and backwards.
Row row your boat on the carpet.( if baby is able to sit, If not sit behind baby).
Put obstacles of cushions and blankets in front of baby— let baby crawl over the obstacles.(More toward 9 months and even later).
Give baby objects to bang together like pot lids, spoons on tables etc. Sing a song, and help baby bang to the rhythm.
Pull the string: let your baby grab onto a piece of cloth or ribbon, gently pull the other end and let go, then gently pull again.- This will built your babies upper body strength.
Show baby books with animals and teach them the sounds animals make. Also when you are outside and you for example hear a bird—tell baby to listen to the sound and repeat the sound.
Felt boards: Cut out object out of felt or buy the already made pictures and tell baby stories using the felt. Introduce each object or picture onto the felt board if it makes its appearance in your story.
Humpty Dumpty:Say Humpty dumpty with baby on your lap, and when you get to the ‘FALL’ part, let baby fall backwards (still holding baby firmly). You can also put baby on his tummy and when you get to the ‘FALL’ part, roll baby over etc.
Shakers for baby to hold: Use light-weight containers that seal tight and put rice, pasta, sand etc. in that make different sounds.
Sand Surprise: Hide a bright colored toy/ball/block in the sand and ask baby where it went. Now start digging and show the baby the toy. You can do the same by hiding babies’ feet in the sand and then scrapping the sand away and ‘find’ his feet or leg or hand etc.
Too much to hold?
Give your baby a toy to hold in one hand, and offer a second. Watch what he does if you offer a second- does he prefer to take it in the other hand, does he put the one toy down and then takes the next? Now give him a toy in both hands and offer a third, and watch what he tries to do with the third toy- does he put a toy down, does he try and grasp all the toys etc.
Staircase: You can teach your baby to crawl up the stairs. Just make sure you’re also behind baby ready to catch! They enjoy the sense of climbing very much. Don’t under any circumstances allow your baby to play on the stairs without supervision
Toy suggestions include toys that encourage mobility of baby.
- Toy phone or old mobile phone (with battery and card removed)
- Push-along truck or trolley to support early walking
- Chunky bricks for building and knocking down
- Small pans with lids – fitting a lid is a real achievement (real pans are probably too heavy at this age)
- Balls of different sizes for rolling, kicking and hiding