Infant Cognitive Skills: 3 to 6 Months

3-6 Months Cognitive SkillsYour little one is out of the newborn stage and is now starting to show their personality.  They are becoming more aware of their surroundings and learning new things day by day.  The skills needed to process all of the new information coming their way are cognitive skills.

In this post I will give you information about what cognitive skills look like and how to encourage cognitive skills in babies from 3 to 6 months.  All children develop differently so know that if your baby is not doing the exact same things as your best friend’s, that is ok.  However, if you are concerned about your little one’s development always seek out the Early Intervention program in your area for a free screening or evaluation.

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Discovering Fingers and Toes

Your little one has a new favorite toy…luckily it is something they have with them all of the time!  You may have noticed while changing your little one’s diaper they are starting to grab at their toes to play.  What a fun first for baby and you!  While they are laying in their crib or sitting in their car seat they bring their hands near their face and watch how their tiny fingers move.

Mouthing Toys and Hands

One of the ways that a baby takes in new information is by using their mouth.  Putting toys or hands in their mouth is just another way to learn more about an object.  Give your child safe and clean toys (like these) to explore while you are changing their diaper or enjoying some play time on the floor. It is important to make sure that your house is baby proofed and all small items are picked up as they become a choking hazard.

Reaching for Toys

The world is so interesting that your baby wants to reach out and touch it!  You may notice them reaching out to bat or touch toys above them.  They may also work to reach toys that are out of their reach.  Help them practice this skill by leaving toys a little ways away and letting your baby figure out how to reach them on their own.



Give your little one lots of opportunities to play.  Toys should be very simple at this age and can include things like soft blocks, unbreakable mirrors, books (this is one of my favorites), and rattles.  Show your baby how a rattle works by gently shaking it. Then hand it off to them to give it a try.

Mirrors are very motivating and interesting for babies and are great to use during tummy time.  Place the unbreakable mirror in front of them and see how they react.  At first they may just gaze at it but eventually they will be amused by the baby right in front of them.

Peek-a-boo is the perfect game to introduce during diaper changes or while getting your little one dressed.  Hide behind a small cloth or towel and peek out at your baby.  Watch their reactions. If you are seeing smiles then continue with the fun social game.  If your baby seems frightened by it then you may want to hold off on it for a couple of weeks.  Always watch your baby’s cues during playtime or when introducing something new.


Now is the perfect time to introduce those soft squishy books to your baby if you haven’t already done so.  While they are playing on their tummy, lay down in front of them and show them the pictures.  Describe what is on the pages to your baby so that they can hear new words.  Gently guide their hands to feel the different textures of the book to help them explore.


While your baby is taking in the world visually narrate what they see as well.  Take them on a tour around your house and describe to them all the new things around them.  When you are outside for a walk point out the puppy and talk about how warm or cool the air feels.  While you are making dinner, tell them all about it!  Your baby needs to hear words over and over so that they can learn them.

If you are looking for more ways to encourage your baby’s development check out One Minute Milestones.

Keep Track of Milestones

An easy way to be PREPARED for you next well baby visit is to download the PDF below!  It is FREE and PRINTABLE.  I know you have a lot going on with a new baby (I have been there too!) so print this off so you can EASILY keep track of all the exciting milestones your baby is doing!  This includes milestones to look for from birth to 12 months.

About Kayla ONeill

This is me and my beautiful bouncing baby boy! Before my little guy arrived I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education Birth to 21 as well as my Masters in Education. For six years I worked as an Early Interventionist serving children and families from birth to age three before becoming a stay at home mom to be with my son.

9 comments on “Infant Cognitive Skills: 3 to 6 Months

  1. Aww.. How sweet. It took me back to my new mom days. My daughter started sitting from 3 months, perfected it by 4.5 months.

  2. As a mom of a newborn, I really appreciate this. Although my oldest child is only 2, doing this all over again seems more difficult than the first time. I will definitely keep these pointers in mind.

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