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50 Fantastic Things to Do With Babies    by Sally Featherstone & Phil Featherstone order for
50 Fantastic Things to Do With Babies
by Sally Featherstone
Order:  USA  Can
Gryphon House, 2013 (2013)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

'There's plenty of research to show that babies and children who enjoy a stimulating home environment learn better and more quickly,' write Sally and Phil Featherstone in the introduction to their book 50 Fantastic Things to Do With Babies.

Since parents and caregivers lay the groundwork for learning early on, it is important that they do everything they can to maximize the opportunities to engage infants and young children in activities that will create a firm learning foundation.

Using objects found around the house, this collection of purposeful play experiences will help babies develop key skills at their own pace. Each activity featured here includes easy-to-follow instructions.

As the authors explain, 'All the ideas here are suitable for newborns to around 20 months, and in many cases beyond. Some are more suited to younger babies, and some to older.'

As you page through the book, select the activities that look interesting to you. This isn't a course to work through. Pick and choose at random and then repeat the activities that your child seems to enjoy. Remember that babies love repetition and benefit from it, so keep returning to those activities that seem to elicit a positive response.

You'll find this a very user friendly book. In addition to the What you need and What to do explanations for each activity, the authors also include a Helpful Hints box, plus more information under the headings Did you know?, What is your baby learning? and Ready for more?

For example, you'll learn that babies find it easier to see objects and patterns that have a strong contrast like black on white. Also, babies are sensitive to rhythm from their earliest days and although babies have poor vision, they do learn to recognize their parents' faces very quickly.

Under the Helpful hints icon you'll discover that to help your baby uncurl his or her fingers you should rub gently on the backs of his or her hands.

As you engage in the suggested activities it is important to remember that if the infant shows any signs of agitation to stop at once. Also, do so if the child seems to be not enjoying the activity.

The numerous activities range from reaching out to touch things, playing peekaboo, holding and letting go of objects, using greetings like hello and goodbye, to an anticipation game called Here comes Teddy, and playing with fingers and toes.

Well illustrated, this little guide will be useful to not only new parents and other family members but also those who work in daycare centers and other child care providers. Again, if one activity doesn't seem to engage your baby, move on to another one and when you find the ones that work well, keep repeating them.

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