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Baby Basics

Q&A: Smart Ways To Play With Baby?

What are some good ways to stimulate and entertain my baby that don't involve television?

When baby gets bored with her toys, it's so easy to pop in a cartoon and let the TV work its magic. Baby gets hypnotized by the screen for one simple reason: The animation. The colors, sounds, and movement really engage and stimulate her. The take-away? Add a little animation into playtime. By playing to baby's senses, you can entertain and educate her—no TV necessary! Here are some guaranteed crowd pleasers:

[ ] Sing songs
Babies love music so let your playtime have a soundtrack. Turn everyday activities into a sing-along by making up fun songs while you're setting out lunch, folding laundry or cleaning. The more you change the tone and pitch of your voice, the better.

[ ] Play music
From classical music to The Beatles, listening to music has been linked to math aptitude. So play a variety of pleasing rhythms and melodies to stimulate baby and you'll be on the right track to raising a pint-size genius who can really groove!

[ ] Make errands fun
Take baby grocery shopping. The colors and new faces are great stimulation and an interesting change of scenery from your house. Plus, you can cross another item off your to-do list.

[ ] Become a storyteller
It's never too early to read to baby. The best storytellers use lots of voice inflections and tone changes. Hey, baby's the only one watching so why not ham it up and have some fun?

[ ] Play with blocks
Find ones in fun shapes, sizes, colors, and even textures. Or, bring out the pots and pans and let baby channel his inner rock star. You don't need the most expensive toys when baby is content to play with things you can find around the house.

[ ] Go for a walk
But not just any walk—stroll near a park or lake, letting baby see new things in nature. Fill the walks with the sound of your voice. Talk throughout your stroll, pointing things out to baby and engaging her in your surroundings.

By Paula Kashtan