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Everyday Ways to Boost your Baby's Brain Development: Part 2
By Claire Gagne
5. Grocery shopping
When you’ve got your babe in the cart, it might be tempting to keep him busy with a phone or tablet. Instead, Shaw suggests broadening his world. “Describe the sites, smells, shapes,” says Shaw. “Let the baby touch a kiwi, and show him how it feels different from an orange.” You can also call out colours, and count fruit and vegetables as you place them in a bag. And your babe will love a game of “Where did it go!” (and you’ll love that he’s learning object permanence) you plop items in the cart behind him.
6. Taking a walk
There are so many things for your baby to see when you’re out for a walk, says Shaw. Point to things like the sky, trees and birds and name them, and boost baby brain development by using words to describe the rhythm of different terrain you’re going over: “This sidewalk is bumpy” and “The road is smooth.” If your stroller can adjust so your baby is facing you, she’ll be able to watch your mouth while you’re forming words, which helps her learn to talk.
There’s a universal game babies play when they’re in a high chair: Let me drop this food (or spoon, or cup, or toy) on the floor and see what happens! But it’s not just a fun—it’s another chance to learn object permanence, says Shaw. She’s also working on her pincer grasp as she picks up small finger foods, an important fine motor skill. You can also use mealtime to teach your baby new concepts, like different textures, and to describe the difference between hot and cold.
Many parents include a bedtime story as part of the end-of-day routine, which is a great way to boost baby brain development, says Shaw. “Make time, right from birth, to read or just look at pictures in a book,” she says. “You don’t need to read a story from beginning to end.” The bedtime routine is also a wonderful bonding time. “We know that when babies and children have a secure attachment, they learn best,” says Shaw. Then they fall asleep and the brain gets refreshed for another day of discovery and development.
Ms. Kaylie is our Infant Room teacher.