The holidays can be a time of joy, thankfulness and wonderment for you and your baby. It’s also a time when parents get excited to give their children the gifts they’ll love and enjoy for years to come. Here are five gifts you can give to your baby this holiday season to bond, build LSL practices and make memories that will last a lifetime.
Looking for the perfect gift for your baby this holiday season? The solution is simple, you don't need to buy a thing! Your presence is the best present for your baby and will be their favorite gift this year. There's no better toy to grow your baby's brain for listening and talking than your engaging interactions. It’s important to help your child use listening and spoken language (LSL) strategies throughout the holidays, and the right gift could bring your child enjoyment while also promoting early learning, language and brain development. Rather than focusing on material gifts this holiday season, concentrate on the activities that you and your baby can share together and will bring you closer. Shown below are activities, homemade gifts and ideas for the holiday season using the most important element of their joy – YOU!
1. Baby in a Blanket: Try laying your baby on a blanket. With you and a partner holding opposite ends, lift the blanket and swing them gently back and forth. Coo, smile or sing a song to your baby, such as ‘Rock-a-bye Baby.’ When you stop the movement, also stop singing. Wait patiently for your baby to “tell” you when they want you to continue. This could be a requested vocalization, a leg kick or even a smile. Acknowledge their request for more by saying, “Oh, more!”
2. Shake, Rattle and Roll: Make your own rattles with plastic spice bottles. Fill them with sand, dried beans, pebbles, uncooked macaroni or any other small objects around your house. Secure the lids tightly with glue (remember everything goes in the mouth to explore so all activities need to be safe). Tell your baby to “Listen” and then “Shake, Shake, Shake.” Wait for a response. Act very excited when you hear the sound and ask your baby, “Do you want a turn?” Remember to wait, wait and wait again for a response rather than immediately anticipating their needs.
Want an added element of fun? Turn on some music and shake your new rattles to the beat of the music. This addition also creates a positive association to music.
3. Baby’s Favorite Book: Try creating a custom “All About Me” book for your baby. Using a notebook or journal, photos, a glue stick and marker, you can put together a fun book that will make your child smile while reading and practicing LSL strategies. This book could have pictures of family members with lots of smiles, facial expressions or even a family pet. You can also create pages using pictures of your baby playing with their favorite toys! Share the book together, and talk through all the enjoyable pictures and elements. Ready to add to your book bonding time? Check out our blog post about How to Make Your Own Flap Book!
4. Makeshift Musical Instruments: Is your baby a musician in the making? Of course they are! Set up bowls and boxes, and give your baby a wooden spoon to bang on their new set of drums. They may just hit them accidentally, but they will soon learn to make intentional music on their own! Hearing the different sounds the “drums” make will help them learn about those objects while enjoying a fun musical activity. Want to continue to enjoy the sounds of music with your baby? Check out our Get Silly and Sing handout or Winter Songs for Language and Literacy blog post for lots of fun tips!
5. Material Magic Trick: Hide a scarf or colorful fabric in an empty paper towel tube. Try having your baby pull the material out of the other end and make wonderful noises such as “ooooohhhh” or “aaaaaahhh” as they pull the scarf out. Looking for more magic? You can also use empty tissue or baby wipe boxes to pull scarves or colorful pieces of scrap material. Add language to the activities such as, “Where did it go?”, “Here it is!” or “Peek-a-Boo!”
Give the gift of your presence this year! It’s important to remember you are the greatest gift you could ever give to your baby. The memories you share together are treasures you and your child will cherish forever.
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