April 7, 2017

6 Ways to Make Play Time & Learning Fun with Your Little One


It happened so quickly... but some how I have a "big girl". She may only be 7 months but she's sitting up, giving standing up a try on occasion, and so full of sass each and every day... I like to say she's seven months going on seventeen. While she's already a little diva, I will say I know we are just so blessed to have this little life in our hands.


This little life has been given to us to nurture, to play with, to enlighten. It's pretty incredible, sometimes intimidating, occasionally infuriating, and absolutely almost always blissful, all at the same time. If you're a parent, you likely know what I mean.

On that same note, you'll understand what I mean when I say playtime has gotten more intense with D's new sense of self. She no longer just needs me to be in the same room while she plays with her toes and stares at the fan. She wants a little bit of interacting, a lot of stimulation, and dare I say, she's interested in learning?! This age is so fun, everyday she discovers something new and watching her do that is so rewarding. With that said, here's 6 different ways to make playtime more fun with your 6-12 month old!

Learning doesn't have to be boring, here's 6 ways you can make learning into playtime for your little one!

1. Sensory Play - Sensory Play can involve everything, from playtime fun with Lamaze's Freddie the Firefly to colorful blocks and water inside a tray! We just try to encourage Delainey to learn through hands on activities. So sometimes I make the water a little warmer than others and I teach her that it's "warm", then we toss the "green block" around and "splash" in the water. I repeat these words over and over, while letting her play and learn. It's not the fanciest way to play but she loves it! While this is a simple example, we look forward to more sensory play activities and that leads us to...


2. My Friend Emily - This adorable little Lamaze doll may very well be D's new favorite. Emily is the perfect first doll for my little princess and with all kinds of interesting textures, bright colors, and different sounds, she's a great toy for my baby who loves sensory play! Not only is she stimulating to D's senses, she is a wonderful introduction to role playing and will even help D develop social skills. The best part is, she can go with us everywhere and not get lost. We can just clip her to D's stroller and off we go with Delainey's "Friend Emily". Do you want to get your little one a doll like this? Find out more here.


3. Outdoor I-Spy - Another way to teach Delainey about her senses and the world around her is playing outdoor I-spy. While the game is a little different because she can't exactly talk yet, it's still fun for both of us. We lay in the hammock and look up, with parrots, doves, colorful leaves, and all kinds of foliage surrounding us, it's easy to find items to have her look at... but I will say the screeching of the parrots is her favorite sound to follow. She just loves those loud little buggers! While you may not have parrots in your backyard (unless you also live in Florida), you probably have cardinals, blue jays, or a chipmunk or two... use the opportunity when a leaf crosses your path to talk about what you're seeing.

We don't just do this outdoors either, sometimes we narrate what's happening inside the house too. Like when I'm washing my hands, I'll tell her what I'm doing. If I'm petting the dog, I'll tell her that too. It sounds a bit like a Morgan Freeman narrative of my life sometimes, but I imagine it can't hurt to tell her what she's seeing. I like to think I'm even developing her language skills by doing this.

4. Stacking Rings - Speaking of developing skills, the Lamaze Stacking Rings are a great way to teach your baby dexterity and coordination. With crinkly rings and so many colors, D is a pretty big fan of knocking these over and digging through her pile of pretty colors until she finds her favorite... She also LOVES the rainbow ribbons on the top--like that's possibly the coolest thing she's ever seen. We're still working on stacking the rings back, but she loves this toy with all of its crinkly sounds and bright colors... plus it gives us another thing to narrate in our house! Haha. If you want one of these cool stacking rings, check it out here.


5. Dress up - Playing dress up may be my favorite thing to do with my sweet girl. She doesn't hate it either though... and it allows her the opportunity to learn new things and laugh a lot. We do everything from dressing up for tea parties to taking photos for our modeling (well, brand repping) gigs. She loves being able to see all the pretty fabrics and since I've already told you all about how we narrate, I'll just say that I love talking fabric and pattern detail and such with Delainey too. My little fashionista has become so stylish, it's a bit ridiculous... but oh so cute.


6. Art - Speaking of cute, that's what baby art is. We love making art together too. For almost every holiday or special occasion, D and I have gotten creative and made something beautiful! From Frankenstein feet paintings in October when she was only a month and half old to little Dr. Seuss inspired one fish, two fish foot paintings at 6 months old, she loves being able to feel the coolness of paint on her digits and I love seeing what she comes up with!

So there you have it, 6 fun and easy ways to make play time and learning fun with your little one! Do you have any special tips or fun ways to make learning fun and playtime a productive time in your child's life? I'd love to hear all about it in the comments below!

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