(Ages Birth to Eighteen Months)
Think you don’t have time to be creative? We can’t give you more hours in the day, but we can find creative activities to do with your child that don’t require any “extra” time.
From birth to eighteen months, creative play is very essential to development. When children participate in creative play, they are actively learning about their world. Activities in music, dance, art and story-telling can enrich their play and stimulate self-confidence and language development.
For the young child, these activities will mostly be one-on-one with their caregiver. Caregivers have the closest view of each child’s interests and responses and can quickly cater to those interests.
Birth to Three Months
Maybe you’ve noticed your baby turning toward sounds and voices. Now is a great time to encourage your baby’s growing awareness of language and music. For instance, when your baby begins to coo, respond by repeating those sounds. Encourage your baby’s interest in music by singing while rocking your baby, patting your baby in time to a song, or holding your child close and swaying to music.
Three to Eight Months
Now your child is beginning to make sounds such as cooing, babbling or maybe even some repetitive sounds like Dada or Mama. Your child may also be turning toward voices and focusing on faces or objects. Watch for new responses from your child when you try some of the following activities:
- Let your child touch objects that have texture or make sounds.
Name objects as your child touches them.
- Listen to singing or instruments.
Clap or sway in time to the music.
- Read nursery rhymes, sing lullabies, or play pat-a-cake.
- Read picture books and point to pictures while naming objects.
- Tell stories and songs while making faces, gesturing and adding sound effects.
Eight to Eighteen Months
What great changes you will see at this age! Since each child develops at their own pace, keep in mind that the following may happen in any sequence:
- Anticipates in peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek
- Understands “all gone” and “bye-bye” and may begin repeating some words
- Stacks blocks
- Holds large crayons and can make marks on paper
- Crawls, pulls up to standing position, walks, climbs
- Shows affection and expresses frustration
You may already be doing some of these activities with your child, but look for a few new ideas to add.
- Encourage making sounds with voice or clapping
- Play instruments such as shakers, bells and toy drums
- Practice balance by swaying while sitting or standing
- Show emotion through voice and facial expression
- Move to different play areas inside or outside
- Play music and move child’s feet, legs and hands to the beat
- Play clapping games within songs
- Touch and talk about shapes, textures and colors
- Hang pictures at child’s eye level then count, describe or compare
- Read stories using character voices and gestures
- Finger paint with water or draw with large crayons
Now relax and have fun with activities to spark your child’s attention and creativity! You will soon be seeing the world through their eyes!
Explore more developmental milestones in our NebGuide, Ages and Stages 0-12 months https://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/pdf/g2103.pdf
We also invite you to check out our Beautiful Day video on Infant Games https://mediahub.unl.edu/media/12768 or click here to view Reading with Infants and toddlers https://mediahub.unl.edu/media/12665
Linked Resource: Creative Connections: Young Children and the Arts
Published by the Maryland State Department of Education in May 2013
LA DONNA WERTH, EARLY CHILDHOOD EXTENSION EDUCATOR | UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA
Peer Reviewed by Jackie Steffen, Lisa Poppe and Lynn DeVries, Early Childhood Extension Educators
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