Learning Guide 4 – 8 Months
By Olynda Smith
Let the Exploration begin!
Your little one is now waking up to the world in a new way. Finally they are able to use their hands to explore - and it is likely that they are spending a lot of their time holding, shaking, passing, tasting and throwing things. In these months your baby will gain so much coordination, concentration and knowledge of the world. With conscious effort and a prepared environment we can greatly assist our little explorers in their endeavors.
Your tiny infant is learning and developing so much. As they work with the tactile mobiles and other items in this kit they will be doing monumental work to develop their capabilities to explore the world around them. Of Course they are developing so much coordination, but they are also developing concentration.
The ability to concentrate on their work is the first step towards successful learning. A gift we can give them - is to support their emerging ability to concentrate on their work. It can be so easy to break a baby's concentration - a word, cooing sound or even a look can shift their focus. When you see them start to focus on a task, refrain from interfering in any way. Give them time to practice, fail and practice again. Wait to celebrate their victories until you feel they have finished concentrating! This takes some practice, but it shows your baby the respect they deserve while they are doing their incredible work!
The Tactile Mobiles
A major element of the prepared environment for this age group are the tactile mobiles. The tactile mobiles offer your growing baby the chance to explore mobiles with their hands as well as their eyes. Being able to play with these tactile mobiles helps babies practice hand-eye coordination. Through their attempts to reach out and touch or move the mobile, babies learn about depth perception, about cause and effect, and they greatly increase their kinesthetic awareness. It is also, often, very fun for them and for you!
Hang the tactile mobile so it doesn't touch your baby's face or body, but so that it can be reached with their arms when they are outstretched. One way to do this is by using the baby gym. Place your little one on a soft playmat under the baby gym, and hang one item at a time from the gym.
Placing your little one near a mirror that is mounted close to the floor will allow them to see themselves. The reflection in the mirror will offer them another point of interest and visual feedback to learn from. Another way to hang the tactile mobiles is by hanging them, one at a time, from a hook on the ceiling. You will need a hanging cord long enough to bring the item close enough to the baby to be reached, but not too close so that it becomes a hazard.
We have included many items in the kit that you can use as a tactile mobile for your baby. Ideally you will hang them one at a time and rotate them every few days. At first, your little one’s contact with the objects will be by accident, but soon you’ll notice more intentional movements.
A fun way to play with your baby at this time is to find other objects around your home that you can use as supplemental “tactile mobiles”. You can rotate these other items with the ones we have provided. Here are some things to keep in mind as you do that:
Keep the items simple. Too many patterns or colors will be overstimulating to your little one.
Make sure they are safe. Watch out for any little components that could drop off onto your little one’s face - glitter or glued on eyes, for example.
Make sure there are no choking hazards or long strings they could get wrapped up in.
Make sure that these things are interesting from the viewpoint of your baby - when viewed from below.
Keep away from anything that moves mechanically on it’s own. Using these items works against our goal in helping your baby learn about movement and gain coordination!
Keep away from items that flash or make sound, these will again be overstimulating.