At 4 months old, babies have discovered their hands and feet, they are refining their grasp and are very aware/fascinated with the outside world. Since Anika’s awake time has increased to 2 hours, we can do lots more than feed, change, concentrate on Montessori mobiles and tummy time 🙂
I recently posted several activities we love doing at 4 months old on Instagram. I am thrilled with all the feedback. Anika will be 5 months on this weekend, so I thought I should share all the various activities we have enjoyed doing this past month. To reiterate from my last post, these are all extra’s, the most important thing a baby needs is you (primary caregiver) and your loving attention.
Let’s start with the activity that got over 30 K views and 750 likes on Instagram :-O
- Balloons loosely tied to the wrist- Between 3 and 6 months, the robotic arm and leg movements begin to disappear and this is replaced by more conscious and graceful movements. One of our favorite ‘rainy day’ activity for concentration + movement refinement is exploring loosely tied helium balloons on wrist. If you watch the video, you will see how much babies enjoy balloons. Any play with balloons should always be supervised.
- Dance with bell socks- Here is a proof that babies learn through imitation. That’s why its always important for me to reflect on all I do and say. Dancing together with bells is a great way for us to connect and for Anika to practice rhythmic movement. She had been gifted these rattle socks and I made mine from inserting 2 loose bells in a pipe cleaner and tying it around my ankle.
- Wooden figure mobile– Mobiles are a wonderful aid to concentration in the first few months of life. We have loved the Montessori mobile sequence during the first 3 months. At 3.5 months, we changed to this whales mobile, which helped in visual development through realistic shape and movement. At 3.5 months Anika started ‘grasping’ the whales instead of watching and batting them, so we changed to the ring/ bell chimes mobile.
- Bell chimes mobile– This is a fun and exciting extension to the Montessori ‘ring on ribbon’ mobile. I did a DIY ‘elastic on ring’ mobile, but Anika didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as she loved clashing the bells (cause and effect) on her bell chimes mobile.
- Provide grasping opportunities on back and tummy– At 4 months, it’s all about ‘grasping’. Apart from trying to grasp everyone’s nose, lips and hair :-D, Anika has loved working with a variety of grasping toys.
- Water play in the sink- One is never too young for water play! Most babies love playing with water. At 4 months old, babies can’t sit independently but they are developing stronger spine muscles to hold the supported sitting position for few minutes. We do a short water play in the sink every afternoon before getting changed and recently its become the highlight of the day for Anika. She splashes with her hands and feet and loves feeling her hands under running water. She is incredibly fascinated with the tap as well and is trying to figure it out.
- Go Outside- We go outside everyday (unless windy) and Anika kicks with excitement as soon as I bring her warm clothes out. She cooes and chats with the trees and loves each minute outdoors. I have spoken more about exactly why and how we do it in ‘Forest school for babies’.
- Play with various textured balls- Balls are such a wonderful open-ended and sensorial toy. At 4 months old, we are using them to refine our grasp, feel different textures, taste them 😉 and encourage movement.
- Science for babies- We have not introduced any bath toys yet. Anika is too busy cooing with me, splashing or chewing on her face cloth during bath time. So this set up with stones sinking at the bottom and duck floating was really fascinating for a little 4 month old.
- Let them feel– the world and people around. Babies love feeling people’s faces, hair, clothes etc with their hands. They also love feeling everything in the environment, from a metal tap, wooden door to sand. Since their hand to mouth reflex is still not super quick, this is a wonderful age to let them feel their world.
- Read with them- We have tried to instill a love for books from birth. I have earlier blogged about our ‘Top 10 Montessori approved baby books”.
- Introduce the home environment- In the first 6 months, babies make a mental picture of the home environment so they are ready to go, once they start crawling 🙂 Anika absolutely loves it when I take her around the house and show her how the washing machine works or how to rotate the door knob. These are their “first practical life” lessons. We aid this by baby wearing and doing tummy time in various nooks and corners of home.
- Give them real-life things to explore-More than any toy, Anika loves to observe us do “real-life” things, like eat and brush. What intrigues babies the most at this stage is how our hands and feet move while doing those things. With the recent introduction to solids, she is figuring out how to hold a spoon and loves exploring this. She also loves playing with random things like my wooden bangle, house keys, remote control for heat pump etc. Please note, we only started giving her these ‘real objects’ towards the end of 4th month, once she had mastered the hand control enough to not hurt her face/ eyes.
- Let them watch the world- At 4 months old, babies are now more comfortable with the world around them. Every little thing amazes them, so we try to give Anika as many real-lie experiences as possible. She loves watching rain fall, watching cars drive past, people walking by….
- Yoga with mum- For the past 3-4 months, I have found it impossible to take out time for self-care (yoga for me). Until recently, I figured yoga with Anika on the same mat would be kind of fun + my bit of ‘role modelling’. Yoga has had an immense impact on my life and as Anika is busy absorbing everything I do, I hope this becomes an integral part of her life too. Anika is obsessed with hands and feet and seeing my body move in different ways and from a different angle inspires her to move and ‘experiment’ more with her body too. Sometimes we do it for 2 minutes and sometimes 10 minutes, but something is better than nothing. For Anika, she is fascinated and trying to move too!
- Give them pictures to look at- We have loved these black and white cards from etsy in the first 4 months. Since she now moves 180 degrees and sometimes even moves 360 degrees during tummy time, I set up various cards/ pictures to encourage movement.
- Give them space and time to work on themselves- As a rule of thumb, Anika does tummy time (since day 4) as soon as she wakes up from a nap. We dont disturb her concentration, unless she calls us. This time/ space is essential for babies to work on their skills. We let her do this wherever we are and always respond to her needs but if she chooses to just work by herself, we respect that too. If you do use swings, bouncers or walkers, ensure that baby has ‘floor time’ as it is crucial for their growth and development.
- Practical life for babies- is watching adults do chores. In a Montessori classroom, adults do “presentations” to demonstrate the work. In home environment a baby is constantly watching the adult and absorbing “how things are done”. We like to include Anika in our daily life by getting her on our eye level while one of us do the chores and let her see us. This absolutely fascinates her! Concentration while absorbing chores is 100%.
- Sing and play instruments- We can’t play any musical instrument but randomly strum this ukelele (last Christmas present for hubby) and sing songs and dance every night. Hallelujah to screen free house! And I promise, babies think music is music even if you don’t know what cord you are playing 🙂
- Play dates- While babies love looking at other babies pictures in the books, what they love even more is seeing them in real-life. At 4 months old, babies are increasingly aware and bonding with other babies is a wonderful opportunity for them. During Anika’s first play date, she and her little buddy looked at each other and both simultaneously squealed in excitement and disbelief!
Hope this post gave you some ideas on fun ways to explore the world while aiding your babies development. Even though, I have tagged this as ‘4 month old’ activities, these will be enjoyed on repeat for us till at least she is 6 months old. Any more to add?