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You are your baby’s best toy

This week we’re highlighting the fact that everything you do together with your baby helps their brain develop. It’s never too early to start from bump, to babies to toddlers – your baby recognises family voices, even before they are born.

You can do all these things together with your bump and baby:

  • Reading
  • Talking
  • Copying
  • Singing
  • Cuddling
  • Chatting
  • Laughing
  • Dancing

What works well?

  • Playing and talking face-to-face
  • Doing things again and again, babies and toddlers like to repeat things
  • Copying your baby’s sounds and babbles
  • Wait for your child to respond, they need time to form their responses
  • Play for short periods of time, and look for signs your baby needs a change

If your child is looking or pointing at something, pay attention to what they are focused on and make a sound or facial expression to let them know you have noticed the same thing. Take turns allowing time for your baby or child to respond. Encouraging words and gestures rewards your child’s interest and curiosity. Name what your baby or child is seeing or playing with as this makes important connections in their brain even before they can talk or understand. Use the language you are most confident in.

How it helps

This type of playing and communicating together helps give your baby the best start. It is called “serve and return interaction”. It helps support your baby’s:

  • brain development
  • co-ordination
  • ability to learn to speak and understand
  • happiness and confidence

For more information on serve and return, visit

You can use everyday things for activities

To have fun and interact with your baby you can also play together with everyday things you have at home.

  • a cardboard box – you can draw on it, use it as a pretend car or train, or anything you want it to be
  • a wooden spoon – let your baby feel the texture and play with the spoon
  • a silky scarf or fabric – play peek-a-boo, let your baby feel the fabric
  • a plastic bowl – let your baby feel the texture, play with it, pick it up, make a noise by banging it
  • a metal pan – use a wooden spoon to bang the pan like a drum
  • a squishy sponge – let your baby feel the texture, telling them what it is

The most important thing is you, your baby will learn so much from these simple activities.

Useful link:

Download our little book of ideas