The wonderful fact about infants is that parents and caregivers do not have to teach them to be curious. Infants are naturally curious and interested in the world; the parent’s job is to channel and encourage that curiosity. Many of the activities that parents do daily capitalize on an infant’s curiosity and help infants learn about the world around them.
Shake, Rattle and Roll
Your infant will love toys that shake, rattle and roll. Consider balls with different textures and sizes for him to roll or hold. Look for rattles that are clear so that your baby can see the contents as he shakes them. Toy blocks with bells or other noisy objects inside will give your baby something to look at, listen to and stack. Don’t discount the value of everyday objects. Your curious infant will love playing and making noise with plastic containers, measuring cups, and wooden spoons.
Look, Touch, Taste
Curious infants explore the concept of object permanence, which is the notion that an object continues to exist even when it's out of sight. Play with your baby by hiding a favorite toy under a small blanket. Leave part of the toy visible and encourage your baby to pull away the blanket and find his toy. Give your baby blankets or safe toys with different textures for him to taste and feel. Sit in front of a mirror with your baby and make faces or let him lean forward and look in the mirror.
Go, Go, Go
Once your infant learns to get places by rolling or scooting, he won't stop. Create a child-proof space for him to play and stock it with interesting toys. Place toys on top of the couch and encourage your older infant to pull to standing and see what is there. Give your older infant toys to push, pull and walk behind. For a younger infant, place toys inside of other toys and encourage him to overturn containers and see what is inside.
Because infants put everything in their mouths, safety is a primary consideration. Any toy that fits through a toilet paper tube is a potential choking hazard. Check plastic or wooden toys regularly for splinters or cracks and steer clear of toys with lead paint or detachable parts. Keep toys free of germs by either putting them in the dishwasher or wiping them clean with soap and water. Many fabric toys can be washed and either machine or air-dried.
- Polka Dot/Polka Dot/Getty Images