If given lots of opportunities, children will discover that they can get to things they want that are out of reach. This is a period of excitement, pushing themselves physically to achieve and simple environment arrangements can support their learning while keeping them safe.
Encourage lots of play in sitting, placing toys just out of reach and encouraging the baby to reach out to get it. Turning, shifting weight and reaching to the sides encourages the development of stability, and balance. As they gain strength, motivate the child to move toward objects and people, providing support as needed.
This is the age of discovery so remind the caregiver not to be too quick to do everything for the baby. Instead, they should encourage children to figure out waysto get things they want to play with and praise effort rather than success. If a child is getting frustrated, show the child a way to get the toy and encourage the child to imitate.
Give children a range of toys that encourage manipulation. Encourage basic imitation through songs and rhymes and use simple language to go with actions like pull and push, give and take.
Babies at this age attend to adults, their actions and their expressions. Caregivers can play games face to face with the child, hiding their face and getting the child to remove their hands to “find” it, singing simple action songs, making silly sounds and encouraging the child to imitate and take turns, hiding and finding toys together and playing with simple cause effect toys like a toy piano or toys that move when pressed.
Allow children to touch and hold food and one by one, introduce new textures and flavours into their diet. Let them play alongside you asyou go about your routine work in the home. Babies this age are easily occupied with a few bowls and containers with pulses of different colours and will build attention, sensory exploration skills and motor skills as they play. Have a pretend conversation, repeating the sounds the baby is making and inserting comments about what you or the baby are doing or maybe feeling.
Ideas for homemade toys are available in Disabled Village Children: Chapter 49: A children’s workshop for making toys. Chapter 35 has suggestions for early play activities and toys.