Module 1: Promoting Mental Health in Infancy

Stimulating EnvironmentsStimulating Environment

So Much to See and Do

Babies are constantly processing input from the world around them.
Stimulating environments are filled with objects to safely explore,
allow freedom of movement, and provide a variety of sensory input
such as different colors, textures, and sounds. Spaces should also
include quiet areas where babies can soothe themselves.

Questions to Ask

  • What have you done to prepare a safe area for your baby to play and explore?
  • Describe the areas in your home where your baby spends most of his time.
  • Where else does your baby spend time?
  • How often do you take your baby for walks or simple outings? Do you talk about the objects and people you see?
  • What types of toys do you have available for your baby to play with?
  • Do you play music for your baby? What kind of music?

Provider Tips

  • Respect family customs and beliefs that may be reflected in the parent’s home environment.
  • Using the guidance below, describe ways parents can create safe and stimulating areas for their baby to play and explore in.

Guidance for Parents

  • Your baby is a natural explorer. Support his interest in learning by giving him a place where he can move around and look at and feel things. Make sure the space is safe and filled with toys and other items that will please his senses (sight, sound, touch). Stay close while he explores to make sure he is safe and so he can check to see that you are nearby.
  • To make sure your baby’s play space is safe, get down on his level and remove things you see that might harm him. Do the same type of safety check in the homes of your family and friends. If there are objects you don’t want touched or damaged, put them out of your baby’s reach to allow him more freedom to move around.
  • Fill the spaces where your baby spends time with things he can explore and enjoy:
    • Colorful toys that are suitable for his age
    • Toys he can make noise with
    • Cloth and hard cardboard picture books to look at
    • Bright pictures of people and animals on the walls
    • Object with different textures (soft, hard, rough, smooth) and sounds (squeaks, rattles, crinkles)
    • A variety of music to listen to (classical, soft rock, and folk music)
    • A large cardboard box to crawl through
  • When your baby is about 6 months old, put him in a high chair or upright seat during awake and alert times so he can visually explore his environment. Talk to him about the things you are doing and name the people and objects he sees around him.
Resource for Families

Stimulating Environments PDF

Copyright Georgetown University Georgtown University Infancy