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Your infants’ brain is like a sponge soaking up information from the onset of birth, which is why you should help promote their learning with child-friendly infant activities from the onset. This may sound daunting, but simply incorporating learning into everyday tasks such as snack and bath time, grocery shopping or mom/dad and baby relaxation time, are often the best platforms to help baby learn about the world around her.
Babies do listen to what we say, regardless of what we may think or how silly we think we look when talking to them. When you’re out and about with your little one at the park for a walk, make sure to talk to him or her. Point out the trees and the clouds, as an example. “Baby talk” with your baby and ask them “what is that?”, pointing to the clouds, then answer the question – “that’s a flower!”. When you hear a dog barking, do the same. This repetition will help your baby identify the objects with the words you give them. Another nice trip to try out infant activities is when you go grocery shopping. Smiling and waving at a store clerk, so that your baby can see, will also help their social skills, so that they know it’s important to acknowledge the next person, for when their brain is more developed. At snack time, allow your baby to mess (within reason!) and let them accidentally throw things on the floor and on their meal table. Babies learn through the mess they make. The next time your little one makes a mess, pick up what fell and say what it is, then give it back to them. This is also a great activity to try out when you’re feeding your baby. Playing feeding games like pretending your spoon is a train and their little mouth is a tunnel, helps with hand-eye co-ordination, especially if baby likes to follow your hand with their own hand – if baby doesn’t do that, encourage them to.
Infant play doesn’t have to be restricted to everyday tasks. When it’s time to relax and have some fun, you can do a lot to encourage learning. Play some music for starters – music is a wonderful way to stimulate your baby’s brain. Ensure they can physically feel the beat of the song by way of your body movements when holding your baby to your chest – great for bonding and emotional development. Having baby play with soft toys is great on its own, and you can help them with their hand-eye co-ordination by taking the toy from the baby and allowing your baby to follow the toy with her eyes and asking her to take back the toy afterwards. Some infant- appropriate exercises can also be used to help baby learn and prepare their body for walking and sitting. Have your baby do light kicking motions with their legs, while lying on their back. You can also lift them gently with your hands behind their shoulders, but it’s best to get a quality daycare provider or a pediatricians’ advice first before attempting any physical exercises with your infant. This will help their muscles prepare for more robust physical movements in the future.
Infant activities are a fun way to help baby learn about their surroundings and to prepare them physically, emotionally and socially for infant daycare and the growing years to come. If you think you need some guidance on infant activities, get in touch with Stone Brook Academy, to ensure your baby gets the best chance to flourish.