Your growing baby will benefit from an environment that is stimulating and "enriched". An enriched environment is one that provides a variety of physical and social experiences. You don't have to have a lot of money or expertise to create an enriched environment, just your time and a little creativity. You can use everyday household items and activities to enrich your toddler's daily experiences. When you share these experiences by attending and talking about the new experiences, you are encouraging curiosity, learning and imagination! Check out the ideas below on how to create an enriched environment for your little one!

Brain Science for Your Baby

Scientists have studied the effects of environmental enrichment on rats.  Rats are not people.  And people (generally) are not rats.  But science learns a lot about how the brain develops from studying rats.  Scientists can manipulate the environments that rats are raised in.  They put some rat babies (pups) in a large cage with lots of toys and opportunities for play and other rats in a bare cage with limited toys and limited opportunities to play with others.  They found that rats raised in an enriched environment learn faster and have better memories (yes, you can measure that in rats!).   They also have less stress and are more willing to explore.  Scientists believe the same is true for babies too!  

For more on environment and the growing brain (in babies and not rats) 

For more on mothering styles in rats and how that changes baby rat behavior

A Baby Buffer Prescription for Your Baby

Get plenty of fresh air and explore what comes with the great outdoors (e.g., dirt, water, sand, leaves, etc.) Talk to your baby about what you see.


Allow plenty of opportunities for baby to move around by crawling, cruising or walking.


Limit time spent in equipment such as play pens, jumpies, strollers, walkers, and highchairs.


Offer simple household items for play and imagination (e.g., plastic bowl, spoons, cardboard box, washcloths, socks for puppet play).


Talk to your baby while you do everyday tasks such as, dusting, folding laundry, stirring foods. 


Create a special reading spot where baby can reach and explore books on her own.


Organize toys into bins and rotate which toy bins are available. This will make old toys new again and help to keep play interesting. 


Play a variety of appropriate songs and music. Sing and dance with baby...enjoy the moment!

Limit screen time and TV time

A Baby Buffer Prescription for You        


Don't stress about having enough money to buy fancy toys or gadgets for your baby. 


Simplify your life and reduce stress by getting back to the basics. Pull out plastics bowls and wooded spoons and let baby play and develop creative play. 


Your baby doesn't know and doesn't care if she has expensive toys!  In fact, most of the time at this age the box is more fun than what was in it. 


Join your baby in play to further reduce stress and to share special moments. 















What Your Baby Can Do - Developmental Milestones 


Your baby is changing quickly during this period. Know what to look for to make sure your baby is growing and changing in a healthy way.  Click on the links below for information from the CDC on what your baby can do now.  

Gene's Research Tip of the Week

There's an old saying about curiosity and cats.  But then, cats also always land on their feet and have 9 Lives.  So how about other curious creatures... like your infants and toddlers?  Today's case-in-point is baby gate injuries.  A new study from Nationwide Children's Hospital looked at injuries associated with baby gates over a 20 year period.  The injuries quadrupled in number, with 5 kids an hour having an associated injury by the end of the study.  More than 60% were younger than 2 years of age.  Most injuries occurred from falls down stairs after a gate collapsed or was left open. Bumps and bruises accounted for a third of injuries, while cuts accounted for, also, about a third of the injuries.  But the more serious injury type, the traumatic brain injuries which include concussions and brain bleeds, were seen in 16%. 


The authors gave several suggestions for parents and grandparents.  

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