Nose Day

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As a quick follow-up to other body part days Veronika and I have explored, today we had a nose day.

First, we sang about noses. Need ideas? Don’t forget ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes’ features it near the end!

Then we walked around the house to find family photos with noses.

And of course, talk about what your nose does best – smell! I lined up spice jars and held each in front of Veronika’s nose.

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Some earned a smile and some received a very confused look.

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The point is, you can have a day like this for just about any given body part. What will you choose next? Knees? Belly buttons? Please share in the comments!

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Ears Day

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In the past, Veronika and I have focused on a single body part for the day, like hands and feet. Today was all about ears!

Rather than just pointing out ears, we focused a lot on what ears can do – hear! That meant pulling out all her toys that prominently feature sounds. We listened to doorbells and animal sounds:

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Squeaky suns:

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And musical instruments:

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Find things around the house with a strong sound (like running shower water), and for each one, say “I hear with my little ear…”

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I also read a book from the library called I Hear, and made sounds alongside the pages.

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“I hear with my little ear… rain!”

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“I hear with my little ear… the telephone!”

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We also walked around the house looking for ears in family photos and paintings.

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What body part should we explore next? Stay tuned!

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Seek Out the Squeak

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This cute little activity will hone your baby’s skills in a number of areas: fine-tuning their hearing; playing with their sense of object permanence, and exciting them with a little anticipation!

First, I rounded up a few toys that squeak. I guess in our house that tends to be little pigs!

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Hide one squeaky toy under a scarf (or a dish towel would work), and make it squeak.

The muffled sound was less distinct than Veronika is used to. Where was the sound coming from?

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She homed in quickly on the scarf – although this may have been because the scarf itself looked novel and interesting.

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Tada! A squeaky toy. I squeaked it again as her reward, and praised her efforts.

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Uh oh, is that another faint squeak she heard?

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Now she knew how to locate the second toy.

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Okay, so maybe she was more thrilled with her little scarf toys than with the pigs underneath but she still was reaping the benefits of this game tangentially – and having lots of fun in the process!

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Grocery Store Game

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When she was very little, I grocery shopped with Veronika against my chest in the Ergo carrier, napping more often than not. Now that she’s big enough to sit up and look around, I highly recommend a seat cover with an infant booster. Veronika sits happily ensconced and gets to take in all the sights and sounds of the grocery store – one of my very favorite locations for language-learning and texture exploration!

Instead of racing through my list today, I set aside extra time for Veronika and I to shop slowly and talk about each item we purchased. There was a crinkly bag of lettuce to scrunch in her hands.

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Next we talked about colors – like bold green zucchini!

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She loved the papery feel of a head of garlic.

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And playing with the wrappers of energy bars.

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Temperature is another fun area to discuss, like the cold items from the refrigerator case. And a dehydrated soup cup makes sounds like a maraca!

Engage your child’s senses fully in this way and you might just get lucky and be that parent at checkout whose baby is not fussing.

Name Familiar Sounds

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Whenever I come across auditory activities for a baby, there’s a part of me that feels bored with the idea; I prefer activities that are craftier or cuter, I guess! But then I remember: if I don’t tell Veronika the name of a sound, who will? Everything at this age is new, including what might feel ho-hum to a grown-up.

So all that said, today Veronika and I focused on sounds. We started inside, finding familiar, noticeable noises. Some good candidates included: the tea kettle;

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The laundry machine;

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and running water.

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She was fascinated by my phone when I programmed it to make an old-fashioned telephone ring.

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Give your child time to absorb each sound, and name what it is, and some descriptive words about it.

Next, we headed outside for further exploration. The first thing we noticed was the wind rustling leaves. It was beautiful to pause and hear the whisper and whoosh together.

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We also paused to hear the splash of a fountain.

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My girl was listening intently!

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Other sounds included barking dogs, footsteps, and chirping birds. She got to hear several modes of transportation, including cars and a train roaring by.

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There was even a helicopter making noise overhead.

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What else did you hear on your exploration? Please share in the comments!

Clothesline Sensory Adventure

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Okay, this activity is probably best done on a warm late spring day, when the air feels good against your skin, and the sun is shining bright, and baby can have bare arms and legs. Not on a winter day with wind gusts up to 60 mph! But I had been wanting a new sensory activity to do with Veronika for some time, so we headed outside anyway!

If you have a clothesline, string it up between two trees or fence posts in your yard. Lacking a true clotheslines, I strung up a length of twine, which worked just fine.

Add a few soft towels and sheets, securing with clothespins.

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Now take baby out for a sensory adventure. (You’ll notice a very bundled up Veronika!).

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First we just walked up and down the line, as I showed her the colors and let her feel the textures. She had quite the grip on the green towel!

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Next we played a sort of peek-a-boo through the sheets, having the fabric drape over her before she emerged with a “pop!” I was hoping this would get big smiles, but she looked a little alarmed by the wind more than anything!

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Perhaps we’ll do this again in the springtime… But oh well, we still had a little sensory adventure today.

Visual Discovery

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A relative praised Veronika’s strong eyesight over the weekend, a nice compliment and a reminder of why I take the time to play little games at each stage that strengthen her vision. At three months old, we’ve moved beyond black and white and beyond¬†bold colors, and now she can start to enjoy complicated patterns.

I sat her down comfortably and pulled out a variety of household objects with colors and contrasts for her to enjoy. First up, a ball of multi-hued yarn.

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Then I showed her one of daddy’s ties. I talked about what the item was, as well as descriptions of the color and images on it.

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This bandanna from big brother Travis was a hit!

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So much so that we tied it in her bassinet for visual fun later in the day.

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Even a two-tone hairbrush can be fun in this game.

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Just be careful; unlike some games we play, items from this one weren’t meant to end up in the mouth!

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If you’re stumped for what items to show your baby, head to the closet. There are sure to be racks full of interesting colors and patterns.

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She especially loved one of mommy’s dresses!

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Smell New Scents

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As you help your baby learn about the world and develop their senses, don’t neglect the sense of smell! Your infant is born with an acute sense of smell already, but new items will be a delight.

While she was happy and alert today, I sat Veronika down for this little game, and gathered together a plate of items with strong smells.

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The vanilla bean was a great hit. Her eyes went wide.

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Hmm, she wasn’t so sure about pungent nutmeg.

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Cloves also got a big wide-eyed look; offer the whole jar in this case, since the cloves are so tiny.

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She also really seemed to love the rosemary.

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And was tickled pink for fresh lavender.

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Fresh flowers make a great option, too.

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As you play, definitely let your little one feel the items as well (just be sure to supervise closely, as several are choking hazards).

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Since the sense of smell is strongly linked to memory, I had the fond thought that these scents might imprint in her brain. Will vanilla forevermore take her back to a feeling of infancy and comfort, now? It’s a nice thought!

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Textured Talk

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This game is a nice extension of the hand control activity Veronika and I played a few days ago. This time, I was less concerned with her grip, and more interested in using language to describe what she was feeling. You can use the same toys from that activity, or introduce a new set.

I did present her with mostly fresh toys, to keep things interesting. As I handed her each object, I said words about its texture out loud.

This one is smooth and plastic, Veronika.

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This one is soft and squishy.

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Bumpy was fun!

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It’s definitely okay for your child to move all these items right from hand to mouth. Babies learn a lot about the world through their mouths, so as long as the item is too big to be a choking hazard (use the toilet paper tube test), then it’s safe to hand it to your child.

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Veronika loved testing each one in her hands first, and quickly in the mouth second!

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In sum, this was a nice activity for language and sensory development, plus it was a delight just to watch her happy expressions!

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New Household Sounds

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Today was all about the auditory for Veronika and me! I devoted our together-time today to exposing these cute little ears to a variety of sounds – it helped that big brother was at school, and the house was quiet!

Even the most mundane sound will be new to your baby, so do a walk around the house and pause at anything that makes a noise. The kitchen was full of interesting examples, from the hum of the microwave…

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…to the splash of water from the faucet.

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The kitchen timer startled her a little with its beep! Perhaps she would have preferred an old-fashioned ticking timer… I get nostalgic for childhood evenings whenever I hear that noise.

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Other good noises include the hum of a dishwasher or fridge. Some won’t be as obvious, but tune in to sounds like the opening of a drawer…

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…or the crinkle of newspaper pages.

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Even diapers make a cool noise, at changing time!

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Veronika’s favorite seemed to be the ticking of Travis’s clock. We paused calmly together to listen to the second hand work its way around.

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Overall, I liked taking a day to zero in on noises. I tend to be more tuned in to the visual than the auditory, but I could tel Veronika liked our emphasis today, too!