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Are you looking for some tips on play ideas for and 8 month old? Eight-month-old babies are in that delightful stage where they're starting to express their personalities and show off their unique quirks.
They're curious little creatures, constantly exploring their surroundings with their hands, feet, and mouths and everything is a potential toy, from the remote control to the dog's tail!
Babies are born with a natural curiosity to explore and learn about their surroundings, and as they grow, play becomes a crucial part of their development. At eight months old, babies are at a stage where they are starting to develop new skills, such as crawling, pulling themselves up to stand, and exploring with their hands and mouths.
Play at this age is not just about having fun, it is an essential part of their cognitive, physical, and social-emotional development and helps them learn cause and effect, problem-solving, and social skills.
Play can also be a secret weapon for parents trying to get their little ones to sleep, as babies this age usually nap 2-3 times a day, lasting up to 2 hours each. As babies explore and play, they burn energy and stimulate their minds, making them more likely to feel tired and ready for a nap.
The physical activity involved in crawling, pulling themselves up, and playing with toys can wear them out in the best possible way.
Plus, let's be honest, watching an eight-month-old baby play can be hilarious and heartwarming. Keep reading for tips on how parents and caregivers can support and encourage their play.
In general, an 8 month old baby is;
Keep in mind everyone is different, including babies, so don’t be concerned if your baby is not doing these things. This is just a guide, and remember to seek advice from your doctor or local Maternal Child Health Nurse to find out more about hitting milestones.
The outside world is incredibly fascinating to babies as there are so many sounds, smells, people and objects in the world that your baby has yet to experience! Not only is it great for their development to spend time exploring and observing outside, but going for a walk with your baby is a great way to bond.
Read simple books with bright pictures and basic text. This can help develop language skills and foster a love of reading.
Many babies are sitting and crawling by 8 months, so tummy time isn't as important as it is for younger babies.
However, it is still nice to have baby spend some time in the tummy time position during play.
Encourage your baby to spend time on their tummy, which can help build upper body strength and prepare them for crawling. You can place toys in front of them whilst in tummy time.
Listening to music and dancing around is an uplifting way to spend some time together and is sure to bring out some giggles!
At 8 months old babies will begin to say words and eventually place meaning to them. To encourage talking early on, it’s important to build their confidence by agreeing with and mimicking their ‘talking’ or ‘babbling’. Sitting down with your baby when they’re especially chatty to ‘talk’ with them is a wonderful way to encourage their language development.
At an age where babies start to develop separation anxiety, playing hide and seek with some of their toys is a great way of teaching them that whatever goes out of sight can come back again, and can help to ease that anxiety.
Head outside - not just for a walk, but some time on the ground. Be in in the dirt, on the grass or on a mat. This is a perfect way for baby to get to know the outside world a little bit more. Make sure you are in the shade, or with some sunscreen on as babies burn easily.
There are so many different materials and objects that you can fill a tray or tub with to create a DIY sensory tray. Some of our favourite options include:
Similar to the trays, sensory bags can be filled with many different textured materials to help your baby learn and explore new things. From shaving cream to water beads to slime, as long as the bag is well sealed and playtime is supervised the possibilities are endless!
Go outside and lay down different materials, such as a bathmat, soft blanket, towel and rug and encourage your baby to crawl and move around on all of the surfaces. You wont need a play room for this one.
Grass, sand and dirt are also wonderful options for your baby’s tactile exploration, just be aware that they’re likely to get dirtier.
Teaching an 8-month-old baby sign language is a fun and exciting way to improve communication skills and promote cognitive development! Not only will it strengthen the bond between you and your little one, but it will also reduce those frustrating tantrums that come from not being able to communicate effectively.
Plus, it's pretty darn cute to see your little one sign "more" when they want another bite of food or "milk" when they're thirsty. It can take a while for your baby to pick up the signs and use them in context so be patient and practice as much as you can throughout the day.
No, your baby won’t be reading independently for a while, but reading to them will be the building blocks for that skill. At this age, it’s all about exaggerated movements, pointing, voices and touching the book to build that engagement and connection to reading.
Singing nursery rhymes together will help with language development and is also a great way to bond. Tunes are easier to learn as they’re often fun and catchy so your baby is likely to pick them up quickly.
Montessori activities are designed to meet the developmental needs of children at different stages of their development. They are focused on promoting the development of sensory awareness, fine motor skills, language, and problem-solving skills.
They often use materials that are designed to be self-correcting, so that children can learn from their mistakes and develop a sense of independence and self-confidence!
The key to successful Montessori activities is to provide a prepared safe environment that encourages exploration, independence, and self-directed learning to allow children to work at their own pace, following what interests them.
The best way to encourage independent learning and play for an 8 month old is to prepare the environment and place a variety of different everyday items in a half circle on the floor. These items could be small pots, pans and baking utensils, a cup of water and a tub, washable paint and some paper.
Then just step back and allow your child to explore the items at their own pace with little to no directions given.
There are so many different play options for your 8 month old to explore and they don’t have to all be super messy or time consuming to set up. The most important thing to remember is that play at that age is critical for their development and can also help to tire them out for much needed nap time, both for baby and parents.
So give a few of these ideas a try and let us know which ones worked best for your little ones!
Written by Laura Agrimi, mother of 2 and owner of Grace & Maggie
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