Hesperian Health Guides

4 to 6 months old

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HealthWiki > Helping Children Who Are Blind > Chapter 5: Activities for the Young Baby (Birth to 6 Months) > 4 to 6 months old

When a baby gets a little older she can:

  • smile in response to a familiar voice or sound
  • explore her body to learn what it is like
  • make sounds that are like words but do not make sense (babble)
  • bring an object in her hand to her mouth
  • move an object from one hand to the other
  • reach for toys she hears, feels, or sees
  • roll over from her back to her stomach, and from her stomach to her back
  • get ready for sitting and crawling (for example, by trying to balance while sitting on someone’s knee)

To encourage your baby to reach for things and hold them

a girl speaking to a baby lying on a blanket with toys.
Neva, reach for your bumpy ball!

Let her touch objects that have a different feel — for example, furry, smooth, or bumpy toys. After she begins playing with them, move them just out of her reach. Tap the objects on the floor, so she knows where they are.

a baby playing with a rattle.

Shake a noisy object until she reaches for it. (At first you may need to gently push her elbow toward the object.) Then encourage her to shake it and move it from one hand to the other. This will help her learn where sounds come from and will also strengthen her arms.

a baby holding a rattle at the end of a ribbon tied to her dress.

Fasten objects to your baby’s clothes or hands with a short string. If she drops a toy, guide her hand along the string until she reaches the top. This will encourage her to reach on her own and to learn that things she drops have not disappeared.
a baby reaching for toys tied to the handle of a storage chest.

Keep a few objects
in the same place so
she can learn where
to find them.

To help your baby roll over

If you did the activity to help your baby roll over, you helped your baby roll over by pulling on a toy, or by putting something behind her back. Now she can learn to roll over with less help.

a woman speaking and holding a rattle as a baby reaches for it.
Can you find the rattle, Simi?

When your baby is on her stomach use a noisy object to catch her interest, just as you did before. But when she reaches sideways for the object, move it upward so she has to reach farther. If she is strong enough, she will then twist onto her side, and then onto her back.

a woman speaking as she holds a rattle above a baby.
Now where did the rattle go, Simi?

When your baby is on her back, encourage her to reach for a noisy object held to one side. Help her roll toward the noisy toy and onto her side or stomach.

To prepare your baby for sitting up

a woman speaking to a baby she holds in her lap.
You’re such a big girl now, Sekai. Sitting up all by yourself.

If your baby is not yet sitting up by herself, these activities can help her get ready to sit.

Hold your baby on your knees, facing you, and supporting her back.
a woman speaking while sitting behind a baby on the ground while 2 children play nearby.
Listen to Tata and Pai. They are making balls with clay.
Sit behind your baby, giving her some support with your body.
a woman speaking as she holds a baby on her lap.
Here is how we ride a horse, back and forth, back and forth.
Hold your baby loosely on your knees. Slowly lift one knee so she leans a little to one side. Then bend the other knee. She will learn to shift her body to balance herself.

To help your baby prepare for crawling

To crawl, a baby needs strong arms and shoulders. She must also be able to balance while shifting her weight from side to side. These activities can help.

a girl speaking to a baby positioned as described below.
Stay up if you can, Suni.

Place your baby on her hands and knees over a roll or cloth. The roll should be big enough to give her some support, but small enough that she has to bear some of her own weight. Slowly rock her forward and backward, and from side to side.

a man speaking as he shakes a rattle and a baby reaches for it.
Can you find the rattle, Majoya?

Place your baby over your leg or a roll of cloth. Encourage her to reach for a toy on one side, while her arms and knees on the other side take some of her weight. Repeat on the other side.

To help your baby enjoy moving and feel safer moving on her own

You can help your baby enjoy moving by letting her move in many different ways. Keep talking to her as you do these activities. This will help her feel less afraid when doing something new. For example:

a woman speaking while she and a man rock a baby on a blanket.
Up you go, little one.
a man speaking while reaching for a baby in a woman's arms.
Now it’s my turn, Aurel.
Rock her back and forth in a large cloth or hammock. Play a game where you and
another person pass the baby
back and forth between you.
a man speaking while he holds a baby's hands together.
Clap your hands, Alba.

Make up body movements to do together. Bend her legs and move them back and forth. Help her bring her hands together across the center of her body and back again. Bring her hands together and clap them. Use the same words each time to name what you do.

a man running with a baby on his back.
Do you like that, Juanita?
Strap your baby on your back and run or jump.