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Brain Building Activities for Baby with First 5 California

October 7, 2015

Every new mom has doubts. When Fox was born I was full of them, and truth be told I still am. But we all have something in common: we want what is best for our children.

From day one I talked to my baby, read him books, and sung him nursery rhymes. But one day I stopped and wondered if I was trying too hard to get my little one to learn. His pediatrician let us know that at his age all he needed was to be loved (aside from the obvious food, diapering, and sleep), but I didn’t pry harder to ask about other important things like brain stimulation.

After doing some digging, I was shocked to discover that research shows that 90% of a child’s brain develops in the first five years of life. (And 82% in the first three years alone.)

I suddenly felt a sense of validation and continued our regular Talk. Read. Sing.® sessions.

Talk. Read. Sing.® is a reminder of the brain exercises as suggested by First 5 California, a government sponsored program that promotes children’s early development. The program emphasizes a continuous dialogue between parent and child involving talking, reading, and singing and makes it easier for parents to have access to the tools needed to help their children succeed.

Earlier today we decided to spend some time with Fox and some of his more engaging toys and books. Here are a few of the activities we ran with.

Build Up and Topple Down

Target areas: hand-eye coordination, cause and effect, gross motor skills, visual tracking skills

Brain Building -

Brain Building -

Tyler bought these elemental building blocks for Christmas last year – over a month before Fox was born! He’s very proud of this find.

Ribbon Play

Target areas: hand-eye coordination, visual tracking skills, sense of touch

Brain Building -

Brain Building -

I used ribbons tied to a wooden ring for this one, but you can also use scarves straight from your closet. Find out more about this activity by clicking here.

Reading Time

Target areas: language awareness, listening and memory skills, bonding

Brain Building -

Brain Building -

Brain Building -

Brain Building -

Brain Building -

Some of our favorite books to read with Fox tend to be primers. The ones pictured differentiate big versus small and English versus Spanish.

Color Recognition

Target areas: verbal communication, pre-reading skills, creative expression

Brain Building -

Brain Building -

Color flashcards are a really fun way to introduce color for babies. It’s also been a fantastic way for me to try to see through my baby’s eyes. When he was first born he gravitated towards warm colors and now cool.

After realizing what a great, free resource the First 5 California website was for facts and activities, we were even more delighted that the items we needed to perform the activities suggested for his age group. The site caters to parents of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers up to age five.

My favorite part of the site is the Video + Downloads tab which hosts a variety of books (Potter the Otter!) and cookbooks, coloring sheets, activities, educational clips, and more.

What are some of your favorite activities to stimulate your little one’s brain development? Let me know in the comments below!

Oh, and don’t forget to check out the hashtags to see other ideas on engaging with your children to boost brainpower: #talkreadsing #first5california #first5CA


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  • Reply sue October 7, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    Oh what darling! It is never too early to stimulate your child and I’m a great believer in reading to your child even in the womb. Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos and ideas with us at #AnythingGoes

    • Reply Sarabeth October 7, 2015 at 7:29 pm

      Absolutely! Thank you so much for hosting. It’s my first time linking up with #AnythingGoes and I loved seeing everyone’s amazing posts.

      • Reply sue October 7, 2015 at 7:57 pm

        Oh an extra big welcome to you Sarabeth linking up with us at #AnythinGoes. You might also like to link up with another I co-host #WednesdaysWisdom. You can access via my website if you like. No pressure of course. Look forward to seeing you next week.

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