As parents, we all want the best for our precious children: the best clothing, the best food and the best opportunities for learning and growth. Have you given thought to how your child learns from the endless stimuli around him or her?
Children Learn Through Play
Play is the primary way in which children develop. Play is the perfect way to introduce new concepts and instill a sense of confidence in a child as he or she learns and masters new tasks.
Children learn valuable skills through imaginative play such as problem-solving, working with others, sharing materials and ideas and developing creativity. It is unclear why and how we lose this whimsical sense of adventure around our learning. Perhaps we could take a few lessons from the babes in our lives and watch them for cues to how joyful the learning process can be.
Games for Baby Development
It is possible to stimulate your child and help him or her foster a love of learning by playing some simple, classic games. You may not have access to the most expensive and innovative toys, but you can still teach your child some valuable skills by engaging in these classic and effective activities.
This classic hide-and-seek game promotes healthy baby development by stimulating the senses, helping refine gross motor skills and introducing social development and humor in a fun and playful way. It also teaches the concept of object permanence—the concept that even though you cannot see an object, it still exists. You and your child will have hours of fun finding ways to make peek-a-boo fun and engaging for both of you.
2. Hide and Seek
Hide and seek takes primitive peek-a-boo to the next level; by developing the concept of object permanence, your child learns that even though you are not in the room, you are around somewhere, and you will eventually be found. This helps reduce separation anxiety and teaches your child that he or she can be safe and comfortable, even without your immediate presence.
3. Stacking Objects of Play
Get a little creative with your baby development repertoire; finding ways to stimulate fine-motor skills such as pinching, grasping and using fingers and hands appropriately will set children up for success as they enter preschool and beyond. Games can start with something as simple as grasping or reaching for a baby rattle and progress to more complex and demanding tasks like stacking blocks and matching shapes as they push, pull, grasp and organize their way to competence with fine-motor abilities. Use objects found at home or outside or invest in some small, simple sets of toys that encourage these types of movements, and you’ll be on your way to strengthening your baby’s fine-motor skills.
4. Games of Greeting
What better way to work on your baby’s development than by introducing simple games of greeting? Children learn to communicate long before their language and verbal skills have developed; their facial expressions alone can tell you what they are thinking and feeling. Teach them how to interact with others with simple wave and clap games that also teach social interaction and concepts of safety with others. They can be greeting games, games of imitation and play or even competition to see who can come up with the most elaborate display. Stretch your child’s imagination as he or she delights in interaction with others and widen your baby’s social circle.
5. Manipulative Play
One amazing way to encourage your child’s imagination is to allow play with manipulatives. Activities like pouring, filling, dumping and stacking are perfect ways to allow the creative process to take root and flourish. How about a day at the beach or in the sandbox, using simple buckets, shovels, cookie cutters and molds to make an ocean oasis? Get down and dirty, mom and dad, and show them how a real sandcastle is made! When it comes to creativity, the sky’s the limit!
You have the tools, knowledge, and ability to encourage healthy baby development, no matter what activities you choose. Get creative, remember the joy of learning and growth yourself and enjoy watching those lightbulb moments as your child grows and delights right alongside you!