Your three-month-old baby is ready for a new set of rattles.
These rattles are larger than the ones you offered in the newborn months. They are heavier and come in different shapes. Some may even have a few different parts. They will challenge your baby’s grasp and strength in new ways. Wood continues to be the best material for rattles, as it offers more information for your little one to explore. Since they are wooden, the rattles will be different weights based on their size. They will also change temperature if they have just been warmed by being held. Your baby will enjoy holding their different rattles and then bringing the rattles to their mouths. Their mouths are full of nerve endings, and this is the part of the body they have had control over for the longest, so it gives them a lot of information about their world! At this age, your baby is starting to have control over their arms and hands. This means they can begin to reach for what they want and make choices. You can put two or three rattles in a basket and let your baby choose which one they want to play with. Then you can rotate the rattles as your baby loses interest. By keeping the choices limited, you allow them to experience choosing between a few objects without becoming overwhelmed.
Even though your three-month-old does not yet understand the meaning of words, every sound they hear is preparing them for the moment that language begins. Reading books to your baby, even when they are very tiny, offers many benefits. First, babies crave attention, and this kind of attention is good for them. When you take the time to sit with them, and spend a while fully absorbed in a shared activity, you are giving them a sense of connection. Secondly, by incorporating books into their routines from a very young age, you are assigning value to reading. Even if they don’t have a conscious memory of these times, the importance of the written word will be inscribed on their psyche. Finally, you don’t know the exact moment that your baby will start to make sense of the words around them. By giving them repeated experience with beautiful language from well-written children’s books, you are exposing them to the best kind of vocabulary, sentence structure, and rhythms of language. When they do start to speak, they will have the experiences with these books in their subconscious minds.
A soft ball will help your baby to strengthen their core muscles and also give them more opportunities to practice reaching and grasping.
You can place a soft ball in front of your three-month-old during tummy time. A fabric ball with places for their hands to grasp will not roll much. This means it will stay within their play area even if they bump it with their head or hands. They can push up with their hands and lift their head as they look at it, building the muscles in their back and tummy. They will try to grab the ball and bring it to their mouth to explore it. Reaching for the ball from this position will give your baby practice moving their arms and hands in a new way. As they begin to have more control over their body in the next few months, the very slow movement of the ball away from them will encourage them to coordinate their body to scoot towards it.
An adjustable wooden activity gym is a perfect place to hang different small educational toys so your baby can practice reaching and grasping.
First hang one of your baby’s rattles, a soft ball, or a large ring from an elastic string that hangs from the center of the gym. Adjust the gym and string so that the toy hangs about five inches above your baby’s chest. You may need to experiment to get the toy at just the right distance for your baby’s arms and abilities. The purpose of this educational toy is for your baby to practice reaching and grasping in an isolated setting. They will look at the toy and then attempt to move their arms and hands to grasp it. Once they get it, they will want to bring the toy to their mouth. Make sure the elastic is stretchy enough that they can do this successfully. They want to explore the toy as thoroughly as they can! You can rotate the toys you choose to hang from the string to keep their interest in the activity. This is very rewarding work for a three-month-old!