After 5 months of parent-child snuggling and rapid sensory development, most babies will begin taking their first steps towards independence - even if not towards walking quite yet. Maybe you’ve detected certain changes in your baby such as the ability to recognize the faces of extended family members, or to sit unsupported for short periods of time. Little by little, she is learning how to carry herself as a functioning and sociable individual. And you can encourage your baby every step of the way with these fun, brain-boosting games for the growing 5-month-old.
Maybe you’ve already leafed through several photo albums with your baby balanced on your lap. Take things to the next level by purchasing a smaller album and filling it with pictures of the friends and family members whom she might see on any given day. Then, find a cozy place to cuddle up with your baby and go through the album together, one face at a time. This will strengthen her visual recognition skills.
If your baby has one plaything that's more precious than the rest, you can use that toy to teach her about object permanence. Begin by putting your baby’s prized toy in a cloth bag. (Plastic bags are too dangerous for babies.) Then, place the bag in a larger bag and keep adding bags until the toy has 5 layers of concealment. Once you have your baby’s attention, slowly open the first bag and remove the others. Repeat the process until her toy is suddenly revealed. Feel free to add an ecstatic, “Here it is!” when reuniting the two.
The next time you take your baby for a stroller ride, try attaching a small bag to the stroller. Take an extended detour through the park and point out little natural objects that she might be interested in bringing home: colorful leaves, funny looking sticks, and blooming flowers are safe options, while small round objects such as acorns pose choking hazards and should be left for the squirrels. Before long, your baby will likely start pointing or making sounds to let you know which “treasures” she wants you to add to the stroller bag.
To boost the odds of your baby becoming a Grammy-winning singer and buying you a retirement cottage in Oahu, find an audio-capture device such as your phone and set it up next to her. Hit RECORD and encourage your baby to start making noise, whether by talking to her or giving her an exciting toy. Once you’ve collected enough sound bites, play the recording back so that your baby can listen to the sound of her own voice. That game-changing realization, “Whoa, this is me!” should kick in after a few plays.