Developmental PLAY Dates

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New moms: Break out of the house, and take baby to these fun and educational places.

Written by Tracey C. Velt

Going stir crazy inside with your baby … all … day … long? Get out! I know, I know, leaving the house with baby in tow can seem like more trouble than it’s worth. After all, you’re timing your departure with feeding times and your little one’s nap schedule (not to mention packing that darn diaper bag). But, did you know that you can boost your baby’s development by engaging his or her senses in outside classes? We’ve got some winning ways you can help your bundle of joy reach milestones by engaging the senses of touch, sight and hearing.

Cognitive and Motor Development
Rock Out at a Music Class 

Are you a rocker, or a classical music buff? No matter, all types of music are known to have an instant effect on our moods, and that goes for our babies too! Musical activities stimulate every area of the brain, and during a baby’s first year, that brain will grow more than it will any other year. “During this growth, activities using music — listening, vocalizing, rocking, dancing and rhythm play — are essential to cognitive, motor, physical and language development,” says Holly Lesnick, owner/director of Kindermusik and Grow and Sing Studios. “Music speaks to everyone and naturally connects humans together. Watching peers dance and sing will benefit your baby’s social-emotional development,” she says. You are your baby’s first important teacher; go ahead, sing, bounce, dance, and have fun!
Shake your baby’s booty:
• Attend Kindermusik class with Grow and Sing Studios.
• Take the kiddos to a Mr. Richard concert.
• Beat it with 3rd Wheel’s baby drum circles at Amaya Papaya.

Fine Motor Skills
Infant Massage Therapy Classes 

Who doesn’t love to tickle a newborn’s little toes? Structured infant massage can help improve your baby’s fine motor skills and development skills, and regulate behavior. Say what? Yes, it’s true, according to Douglene Jackson, a registered and licensed senior occupational therapist with Nemours Children’s Hospital. “Firm, deep-pressure massage can help soothe your child. It’s also key for physical bonding and attachment,” she says. “The more massage sessions, the better the physical connection you have with your baby.”
Massage your way to happiness:
• Check out Helen Moses’ Infant Massage Class recommended by Orlando Health. Helen Moses says it could even help your baby sleep better through the night. 407-822-0171

Memory and Vocab Development
Veg Out at Story Time 

Eloise, Corduroy, Franklin — relive your childhood by catching up with your fave book characters. According to Tracy Zampaglione of the Orange County Library System, reading to your baby introduces him or her to learning concepts that eventually will make your baby a better student once he or she reaches kindergarten. “Reading to babies engages them in listening and builds their memory and vocabulary skills,” she says. And, according to KidsHealth by Nemours, “By the time babies reach their first birthday they’ll have learned all the sounds needed to speak their native language. The more stories you read aloud, the more words your child will be exposed to and the better he or she will be able to talk.”
Be well-read:
In addition to story time at your local library, check out these free
community reading events for you and the babe:
• Monthly Leu Gardens story time events
• Story time every Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Pottery Barn Kids at The Mall at Millenia
Animal stories at Central Florida Zoo

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