10 Activities that optimize the growth of your 12 month old baby

10 Activities that optimize the growth of your 12 month old baby

Recent research on 12 week old baby milestones and which activities and baby sensory toys promote optimal motor, language, and social skills. Before choosing Montessori baby toys for your infant, find out what new studies have to say about nurturing your baby’s brain.

This is it, mommas! 

The beginning of the golden period of adorable infanthood! Watching your newborn grow day by day is a wonderful and precious experience, but the cute and funny misadventures of your 12 week old baby will be on a completely different level of glee as they go through these milestones:

Milestone 1: How you can help boost your baby’s muscle and brain growth with massages and Montessori baby toys

New research has established that the 12 week old baby can be supported in developing gross and fine motor skills by including a 15-minute massage two times a week. In the study, babies who were given the massage met more milestones in motor skills and cognitive development than babies in the control group.

How to support: 

  • Tummy time and massages can be done in sync by placing your baby on colorful play silk over a fluffy blanket and giving them a back massage. 
  • During tummy time, wooden dolls and other baby sensory toys can be placed nearby to encourage your baby to reach out and practice gripping. 
  • A wooden ring can be tied with colorful ribbons, or play silk and dangled in front of your baby while lying down, so they can practice batting at it and get those muscles stretching.  

Key takeaway: To stimulate muscle growth and baby brain development, 15-minute massages two times a week have been recommended by experts.

Milestone 2: How speaking with proper grammar and syntax may help teach language during early years of baby brain development

What researchers call “Parentese” is different from “baby talk” because it uses real words with correct syntax when talking to babies. It has been found to improve how the baby learns language because of its tone, tempo, and elongated sounds act as a ‘social hook’ for the baby brain, according to a 2020 study.

How to support: 

  • Engage your baby with “face time,” by putting your face close to your baby’s and talking Parentese. As your baby’s brain develops, there are more play ideas to boost language development in babies
  • Themed play silk sets are great for conversations with your baby because you can name the illustrations on the sheet while they explore and move around during tummy time. Varieties of play silk include astronauts, mermaids, dinosaurs, and more!

Key takeaway: To nurture language development and improve social skills, talk with real words and correct syntax to your baby.

Milestone 3: How code-switching can help if your baby learns multiple languages

Since debunking that children should only learn 1 language at a time, many speech pathology experts have given the go signal to teach the baby brain multiple languages. Multilingual parents can take advantage of this by switching from one language to another while talking to their babies, a recent study found.

How to support:

  • Verbally labeling baby-sized objects or baby sensory toys, such as wooden toys and teethers using the multiple languages your baby is learning will increase their vocabulary for every-day use.
  • Taking the musical route and singing multilingual songs while using wooden bowls and spoons as percussive instruments can also be a fun way to expose your baby to more than one language.

Milestone 4 : How you can increase the neural connections in your baby’s brain with socialization activities

A recent study found that your baby’s brain benefits a lot from social experiences in the early years. Particularly, the brain’s white matter which makes long-range connections between brain cells possible. On the other hand, babies who experience social isolation may grow up with impairments in social and cognitive development.

How to support: 

  • Socialize your 12 week old baby by playing with facial expressions through games like peek-a-boo. You can use play silk and make different faces while also practicing maintaining eye contact. 
  • You can also tickle your face and your baby’s face using the corner of the soft play silk fabric and take turns in laughing with them. 
  • Among Montessori toys, there are many play ideas for the play silk that can provide many socialization sessions for your child as they grow, including pretend play activities, and story telling sessions.

Key takeaway: To promote stronger neural connections, socialize with your baby through eye contact, facial expressions, and talking.

Milestone 5: How motor and sensory play can teach your baby’s brain “cause and effect”

The link between motor and cognitive development has been proven since the early 2000’s, but a recent research found that this link may be caused by how physical activities increase neural connections between brain cells, and of course, more connections mean more cognitive power!

One cognitive skill that your 12 week old baby learns through motor and sensory play is “cause and effect,” or the understanding that their actions can cause something to happen.

How to support: 

  • Playing with durable baby sensory toys, such as wooden toys by gripping, dropping, and banging them together will allow your baby’s brain to understand that their actions are causing the sound.
  • Wooden balls and wheeled toys that will roll when your baby pushes them are other play ideas in making sure that your baby learns in both cognitive and motor motor skills.

Key takeaway: To support babies in developing cognitive skills such as “cause and effect,” use baby sensory toys that they can manipulate and affect. 

With new research backing the use of the play activities above with baby sensory toys and Montessori materials, you can add the play silk and wooden sets to your baby’s sensory toy collection.

To learn more about the benefits of these toys, read about how baby sensory toys affect the baby brain.