Milestones: My Daughter's Early Learning, Part 3 (February, 2016)

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Milestones: My Daughter's Early Learning, Part 3

This month I continue to repeat my 'Milestones' series with Part 3 to, once again, give new parents ideas about how to play with your 1 year old. In addition, I share with new parents the toys and games I that introduced in the 'Milestones' series in 2013.

Drums and Music

In some of the baby classes that I have attended, there were large drums provided for the children.   At the time, I noticed that the babies in class did not know any consistent beats and typically hit the drum randomly.  This was fun for them at first, but eventually became boring.  My daughter was 11 months old when I decided that it would be better to introduce to her a consistent beat that I was familiar with from the song 'I Like to Be in America' from the play West Side Story.  
 The popular hand/foot clap combination from this song was a favorite of mine from my youth.  I played this beat on the classroom drum for her several times, then let her attempt to repeat it.  This was the only beat I played on the drums, or on a box at home, so that she would become familiar with it and, possibly, repeat it.  Below is a video that I made in which I play this drum beat slowly for everyone to follow along:

Drum beat, West Side Story song,  00:47

Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA

The day before she was 13 months old, we visited the Peabody Essex Museum's children's area in Salem, MA and I wanted to show her the wind/sand exhibit that included a large circular wind machine with a thick glass top to allow the children to view the movement of the sand.  When I placed her on the machine to view the sand, she took a few minutes to observe and then began using the glass top as a drum.  I was amazed when she repeated the 'I Like to Be in America' song's drum beat that I had introduced to her one month beforehand! She repeated the beat using both hands for percussion.  It was an exciting moment for both of us, and made me realize that babies could learn something like a drum beat quickly and make it a part of their play time. I was finally able to capture her repeating the drum beat in the short video below at 13 months old:

 Playing drum beat from West Side Story 10-12-12, 00:33

Also, at 1 year old (12 months), I decided to introduce her to some new classical music pieces that I thought she might enjoy.  I have 'The Nutcracker' music on a CD and played the entire playlist for her one morning as we both sat together on the couch.  The music was coming from my portable cd player/radio and she liked touching the speakers as well as some of the buttons on the front of the player/radio. 
Over the next few weeks, I noticed that when she spoke in her 'baby talk' she sounded like she was singing some of the songs from The Nutcracker!  I was pleased to hear her 'singing' these songs because these songs were meant for children and since classical music has a more organized beat, I felt it was probably easier for her to recall (as opposed to other genres of music).


In addition to the music, at 1 year old (12 months), I thought that it might be fun for my daughter to experience playing with magazines and exercise her fingers by turning the pages. I had a few Dwell magazines, an Elle Decor and a few Parents magazines available for her to explore (I chose these magazines because they did not have inappropriate or indecent pictures).  She went through each magazine and moved the pages back and forth. In some cases, I had to open the magazine in order to get her started.  I noticed that she didn't rip any pages, she just looked at them carefully and enjoyed moving the pages along to look at more pictures.

Over the next few weeks, I noticed that she enjoyed picking up her books and flipping through the pages, examining the pictures and speaking as if she were reading a storyI enjoyed watching her entertain herself in this way. I could see that she was very happy and was enjoying her fantasy play.

Relaxing Scent

I noticed that my daughter really loved the scent of my Coconut Body Mist spray from The Body Shop. I noticed that she would relax more when she smelled this scent on me.  

I wondered if I sprayed this mist anywhere, would she relax once she smelled this scent (because it smelled like mommy). Since she had become resistant to riding in the stroller, and didn't like being strapped in, I decided that I would pump the Coconut Body Mist spray a couple of times over the stroller seat to make it smell desirable to her in hopes that she would sit in her stroller without resistance when we were ready to leave. 

As it turned out, the Coconut Body Mist spray was very effective in encouraging her to sit in her stroller and not resist being strapped in.  I was so happy to see that the mist worked - and I noticed once I stopped spraying, she became resistant again to sitting in the stroller. I sprayed the stroller every couple of days so that the scent remained present in the stroller.  I think she might have been comforted by the smell because it 'smelled like mommy' and made her relax.  The successful use of this scent as a way to get my daughter to relax in her stroller was one of the best accidental discoveries that I have had, here is the link to the spray:

Mommy elephant with baby 

Once my daughter started to crawl at 12 months old, I crawled along with her and sang her name like elephants do for their young to get them to follow the mother elephant.

                     Crawling and passing flower, 10-12-12,  01:00

In the cell phone video above (pardon the graininess), you can hear me singing her name as she crawls towards me.  While playing 'mommy elephant', I would sing her name after every third thump (my elephant moved very slow because of this). 

Full body roll and chase (beginning at 1 year old)

In this activity, I would lay on the ground on my back, extend my arms over my head and slowly roll over onto my stomach and then over again onto my back.  My daughter loved this because she could chase me and, at times, push me over onto my stomach.  I loved doing this activity with her because she always laughed very hard and enjoyed turning over her mom.
After about 6 weeks of this activity (she was 13 1/2 months old), my daughter would lay on her back sometimes after playing with her toys.  I decided that this was her way of signaling to me that she wanted me to play the 'game' full body roll and chase with her. As soon as I completed one full body roll, she immediately rose up, crawled over to me and attempted to roll me onto my stomach.  This activity was really fun for both of us - she had a chance to play with me, get some exercise and I had a chance to rest a little bit on the floor

Chewbeads Necklace and Block Sorting

With all of the little milestones that she had so far, I was most pleased on the day that she turned 13 months old and was playing with my pink Chewbeads necklace ( This was the day that she put the necklace over her head and wore it as a necklace for the first time!  She then removed the necklace by pulling it carefully over her head again, unassisted by me. She did this a few times while I sat and observed.

Once she was done, she left the necklace on and began to crawl away - that is when I removed it immediately - for safety reasons, I did not want her crawling away with the necklace around her neck. As she grew older, I made sure that this necklace was always in a safe place.

What was most amazing about this event is that I had not shown her how to wear the necklace in our play time. She had only seen me put the necklace on in the morning every day. She obviously learned to wear the necklace by observing her mom and decided to try it on herself.  By the way, if you decide to buy this necklace, the brighter, solid color (pink or green) necklaces are better than the darker ones.  I noticed that my daughter's baby pals were more attracted to my pink necklace than a darker colored necklace. Her baby pals that had not been introduced to a brighter colored Chewbeads necklace became very excited once they saw my pink necklace and wanted to play with it, bite on the beads and wear it (including many of her boy pals!). Color, in this case, mattered to these babies.

My daughter's favorite blocks, chosen by her, 10-10-12
Between 13 months old and 13 1/2 months old, my daughter became more selective with her blocks. She would collect her favorite blocks and place them in a see-through container (the blue container shown is originally from her infant toy the Melissa & Doug's Deluxe Fishbowl Fill & Spill Soft Baby Toy, ).

At this point, I decided that I would record which blocks she chose as her favorites. I took this picture above immediately after she was done choosing these blocks, placing them in the blue container and had crawled away.  I found it interesting that she had chosen blocks that had animal printing as well as two different shapes of the non-printed blocks.

It was nice to see that after 2 1/2 months of playing with her blocks how much she appreciated these shapes and colors. Also, since these were her favorite blocks at the time, I decided to pay closer attention to her color choices and use this as a reference for future toys. 

Open Creative Play Time

I decided at 13 1/2 months that my daughter's play time would include time in which I would quietly observe her play with toys and other items that she found interesting.  I never expected her to have the type of creative play as she did in this next video.

During this video of her play time (she is 13 1/2 months old) I was able to capture her using new packages of diapers as drums and playing her own beat. This was an activity that she made up herself on the spot without any suggestion or intervention from anyone.  I was so surprised to see my daughter creating her own 'toys' from items in the baby supply area of her nursery.  Additionally in this video, she puts on the Chewbeads necklace and uses her feet for the first time to kick away some of her blocks .

Kicking blocks away, putting on necklace and 
 playing a beat on 'drums' 10-20-12, 00:22:05


By 12 1/2 months old, she was using the words 'hey', 'this', 'that', 'that's', 'Dad' and 'Mama'.  By 13 1/2 months old, she had spoken a few more words including 'why', 'look' and 'yes'. I was happy to see that by 13 1/2 months old, my daughter was using more than half of these words regularly.

As far as I was concerned at the time, speaking these words was another one of her milestones and showed me that her mind was progressing rapidly and that her level of knowledge was compounding at an accelerated rate.

Also, at 12 1/2 months old, I bought her a wonderful book called "Hugs" by iBaby. My daughter enjoyed this book like a toy and she played with it all of the time.  The ribbons made the book interesting to her and allowed her to 'play' with it and the characters in the story.

I placed each baby animal into the proper sleeve with the matching 'Mommy' animal character. When I read each page, I pulled out the baby animal and identified the name of that animal, then placed the baby animal back in the sleeve. Since this story is all about hugs between mothers and babies, it is a very pleasant and loving story.  This book can be purchased FOR @$9.00, here it is with FREE SHIPPING!:

My daughter's 12th and 13th month were a lot of fun for both of us. I was very happy that she was learning about her toys, other objects in our home and new ways to play with me.  Just as a recap, here is my list of the categories of my activities and ideas shown above:

1. Drums and Music
2. Magazines
3. Relaxing Scent
4. Mommy elephant with baby
5. Full body roll and chase
6. Wearing Chewbeads necklace and block sorting
7. Open Creative Play Time
8. Words

I hope my fellow new moms and buddies have enjoyed this installment of the 'Milestones' series.  Again, I will repeat more of this series in the upcoming months.

Happy play time everyone!

- Joy E.
Posted February 24, 2016

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**Please do not use my articles, photos or videos without permission from me.

Play time at home

Searching for candy in the advent calendar tree 12-25-15.

Finding candy in the advent calendar 12-25-15. Yay!

Playing my favorite videos on our computer, 2-10-16.

Me happily playing nursery rhyme music videos, 2-23-16.

Trying on my new hat, 2-23-16.

Dancing to music videos, 2-23-16.

Playing with Lady Captain America wand, 2-23-16. supports supports
Keep up the great work!!