Tracking Game

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We’ve played a lot with Veronika to train her eyesight… Now today’s game engaged both the eyes and the ears.

Holding your baby close, lock eyes, then move your face, speaking first on one side of their head and then the other, with the goal that they will turn towards you as you speak. They may not get it right away, but it will definitely encourage hearing on both sides, as well as visual tracking and the social concept of turning towards a speaker.

This was hard to photograph, so after holding her in my arms, we played with Veronika in her bouncy seat, too. Where is that voice coming from?

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Over this way?

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As babies get older, you could also try playing while baby lies flat on a playmat. Encourage older siblings to talk to the baby, and see if the head will turn. Veronika really responds to Travis’s voice (no doubt from hearing his loud games for 9 months!) so she might turn towards him more readily than towards me!

Update: We did this game again at 6 weeks of age, but this time we stood in various places around the room. This is a great way to help baby coordinate his or her hearing and eyesight.

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Travis loved testing her. “Can she find me now?” he asked, moving all about the room. Good fun for both siblings!

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Swat the Toy

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Much like the activity for watching ribbons, this game is a great way to engage your newborn’s eyesight, as well as encourage gross motor activity. Of course don’t be disappointed if your child can’t really reach for the toy yet, much less grasp it – he or she won’t have great control over those arm muscles until about 2 or 3 months old. But this might encourage them to try!

Choose a soft small toy to dangle from a ribbon – a round lion rattle was perfect for the job.

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I swung the toy gently over Veronika as she lay on a playmat, hoping this would encourage her to follow the toy with her eyes or even her head.

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Up went the little arms when the toy swung close to her!

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Big brother Travis loved being the one to swing the toy, too, although I had to remind him to swing it slowly and not make her dizzy. All in all, a simple and engaging activity.

Turkey Napkin Holder

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We put together this cute craft from High Five magazine just in time for Thanksgiving. In our vegan household, we love adorning our table with turkey-themed crafts, not a real turkey to eat.

But as we sat down to make these napkin holders, Travis and I discovered that we had every color construction paper except… the brown that we needed! Some quick thinking and we decided to color white paper in with brown crayon. Travis declared this so fun, and seemed so proud of our improvisation.

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Next we needed to cut the brown paper into kite shapes. This was a bit tricky for Travis, so I trimmed things up into neat diamonds while he had fun with safety scissors and extra paper.

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Armed with our kite shapes and a few recycled toilet paper tubes, we glued the tubes to the center of each piece, and folded up over the tube.

Next we glued on facial features, a good chance to talk about shapes – circle eyes, triangle beaks, and a semicircle for the wattle.

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Travis favorite part was the feathers at the end. Add dots of glue to the paper behind the head.

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Crumple bits of fall-colored tissue paper (we used reds and yellows and pinks) and attach each to a dot of glue.

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Slip in a Thanksgiving napkin, and enjoy the feast!

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