As a new parent, watching your baby grow and change on a daily basis fills you with anticipation and pride. You may notice that your 6-month-old is acquiring exciting new skills — learning to roll over and sit up by himself and hold, chew and handle objects. By this age, your baby can enjoy more movement-based activities, more complex and stimulating toys and can be introduced to more interactive experiences both physically and socially.
Since your baby can hold her head up unassisted by 6-months of age, it's an ideal time to introduce simple 'flying' games and bouncy knee rides. You can hold your baby up over your head and fly her through the air, pretending she is an airplane. You can sit your baby on your knee and bounce her up and down, pretending she is on a horse. Your 6-month-old will delight in the variation of movement. Incorporate tummy time into your 6-month-old's daily routine. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents participate in supervised tummy time with their baby on a daily basis to help bolster growth and development. According to neonatal and pediatric occupational therapist Michelle Emanuel, 6-month-olds should spent most of their waking hours in tummy time, sitting up or learning to sit. During play time with your 6-month-old, place objects just out of her reach to motivate her to propel her body forward to the desired toy or object.
Your 6-month-old is now ready to explore different toys and environments that will stimulate his developing senses. Provide your baby with a variety of sensory skill building toys like shape shorting boxes, simple puzzles, stacking blocks of various sizes and basic musical instruments such as shakers or jingle bells. Play music for your 6-month-old on a consistent basis and sing simple songs to him like "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "The Wheels on the Bus." Introduce your baby to various spices and other pleasant smells in the kitchen. Offer supervised, experiential tactile activities like water play, shaving cream play or sand play. At this age, your baby will try to put things into his mouth, so be sure to supervise closely during play sessions.
Babies who are 6-months old are already beginning to absorb language and speech patterns for later developmental stages. Talk to your baby throughout the day to familiarize her with different aspects of language such as vocabulary, sentence structure and general verbal expression. Explain to your baby what you are doing when involved in a specific activity such as preparing a meal or giving her a bath. Babies love hearing your voice, and describing your actions helps your baby's language acquisition. Read short books to your baby every day. Keep baby-friendly books in your home such as board books, soft books and books that include various tactile components for your baby to explore. Your 6-month-old will most likely enjoy simple picture cards that incorporate a lot of color and shapes. Picture cards are a useful way to begin introducing different words for objects in our world.
Your baby is now developmentally prepared for more interactive activities. At this age, you can begin to play peek-a-boo, make silly faces, play games like "This Little Piggy" with his toes, tickle him and hide objects for him to find. Simple interactive games develop your baby's social skills and introduce him to different moods, sensations and temperaments. You can get down on the floor with your 6-month-old and allow your body to be a jungle gym for him to climb and explore, encouraging muscle development and strength building. Sign up for a parent and baby yoga class at a local yoga studio, or simply follow along to a parent and baby yoga video in your own home. Hang up a baby-safe mirror in your home, making sure that the mirror is placed down low enough for your baby to see himself. Practice making different expressions with your baby in the mirror, encouraging him to notice himself and watch his reflected movements in the mirror. Observing his movements assists in early stages of recognizing cause and effect. Watching your and his own expressions shows that we have variations in emotion.