Activities for Hand Development

Babies learn through playing. The activities below may help your baby to develop sensory awareness in his hands and in addition, to develop his hand skills. The key is starting right from birth, but it is never too late if you did not. Let your baby play wearing just his diaper/nappy, weather and safety permitting. So often, baby is bundled up all the time and thus his body isn't able to experience tactile input fully, particularly in the hands and feet. Hold off on re-dressing him until after the play sessions has ended. Many parents find that the ideal time to play with your baby is after a diaper change. It is really important to learn to read your babies cues. A baby needs to be in the right "state" to be open to playing. If he is tired or uncomfortable or even overstimulated, then the play session will not be successful. I will offer some guidelines for helping to recognize your babies cues in the coming posts.

Note: A Newborn is usually able to stay awake for approximately 40-50 minutes at a time, before starting to fuss. This is a very short period of time. By the time that you have nursed him, burped him, changed his diaper and had a short play session, he will be ready to sleep again. Keep play sessions short during the newborn period and gradually increase as baby is able to remain awake for longer stretches of time.

Activity 1:

Have your baby touch and feel a variety of textured surfaces such as flannel, sheep skin, tile, wood, linoleum, skin, terry cloth, silk, nylon, wool, grass and sand. I recommend grading from soft textures in the early weeks to less soft as baby gets older. You can take a clean, soft, large make-up brush (e.g blush) and firmly stroke baby all over (including hands and feet), providing him with tactile input. Select playmats that offer a variety of textures. Infant Massage is a wonderful way of offering baby firm tactile input which is very calming. Learn more about Infant Massage during the month of June.

Activity 2:

Provide baby with a variety of shapes, weight, texture, firmness, size for your baby to touch and grasp and bring to his mouth to explore. Please ensure that the toys that you select are non-toxic, safe for baby and safe for babies. Please supervise baby at all times during play.

More activity ideas for hand development will be introduced in the coming weeks.

1 comment:

Anne said...

Thank you for sharing these great ideas. I am really enjoying reading your blog and am learning so much. I can't wait to learn more about Infant Massage, Signing to Baby and Tummy Time next month. :-)