One way for the babies to learn is through exposure to play and exploration from the time they were born in order to stimulate their senses. This helps to build strength, develop basic reflexes, coordination and provide essential input to the sensory systems.
Playtime is the best stimulation for brain development and the best gift parents even caregivers can give. It can help to encourage communication and increase baby’s attention span.
Here are the few play ideas that support developmental skills for babies from 0-12 months.
Tummy time is important for babies especially age 0-3 months. It strengthens their head, neck, and upper body muscles in order to build the strength and coordination for rolling, crawling, reaching, and playing.
It is best to do the tummy time when they are awake for safety purposes.
2. Music and Singing
Babies just love to hear music, songs, and rhythms as it makes them feel calm and at ease. Singing with your baby encourages a way to strengthen your relationship. It is also a way to distinguish the auditory input like being able to differentiate familiar voice to not.
According to Laurel Trainor, Ph.D., the director of the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind, in Hamilton, Ontario, “ Babies who move rhythmically to music smile more, are easier to soothe, and are more willing to explore their environment than babies who simply listen”.
3. Songs and Fingerplay
Fingerplays is the hand movements pair with the words. Songs like Itsy Bitsy Spider and five little monkeys are great ways to get a baby’s attention in which they learn the language, motor skills, work on memory and social skills.
Let babies try to imitate you and perform the fingerplays for more learnings and fun.
4. Bath and Massage
Bath time can be the most enjoyable experience for the baby. It will expose them to all sorts of sensations like feeling of floating in the water, the sounds of splashing and toys around will keep them entertained.
Furthermore, massage can offers relaxing and comforting input that can help to develop baby’s ability to process touch in a healthy way.
Rattles is an interesting toy for babies because it makes sounds as they move it at the same time it stimulates their sense of touch and develops their fine motor skills – holding and shaking.
In addition, this also helps babies to develop a sense of directional hearing. They will follow where the sounds came from.
6. Stuffed toys
Stuffed toys are not only cuddly, soft and loveable, they can also offer a sense of comfort and security and help to stimulate a child’s sense of touch.
It is better to come with different colors, sizes and textures as babies begin to touch, grasp and explore them with their mouths.
Therefore, provide soft toys suitable for under 12 months of age and no small parts or loose fibers that may present as a choking hazard.
7. Stacking Cups
Using stacking cups is another way to have fun together with your baby. Letting them pick items up and put them in place help to learn motor skills like to grasp and release and to control and position their fingers.
Furthermore, it also promotes hand-eye coordination in which the baby is capable to take sensory input from the eyes and transform it into actions with the hands.
Another best way to support interaction and teach communication is through reading books. It promotes visual engagement, exposure to early literacy, language experiences and healthy family relationships.
By reading aloud to your baby stimulates the senses, builds listening and memory skills which can support your baby grow up to be a reader.
Common and non-fancy toys that can get a baby’s visual attention and as time goes on, the sense of touch will be stimulated then, hand-eye coordination starts to develop.
10. Push toys
When babies are ready to stand and move, push toys can be great. They are good for providing support in balancing and the ability to step the feet forward alternately.
In addition, it also promotes a sense of independence where they can able to explore, learn and help to strengthen the baby’s developing muscles.
Babies from 0-12 months need lots of different stimulation which means providing activities where they can use their body to explore to be able to learn and to play freely, of course in a safe environment.
There are lots of activities or play for babies, just do what you think is applicable and most importantly safe.
To learn is to play and to play is to have fun.