Help your Baby Learn Through Games

Playtime with your baby is more than just entertainment; through fun and games your baby is learning about how the world around him works, as well as developing his motor skills. Making time for play every day is not only a great way to spend time with your baby, it’s also vital to his development. So give these simple learning games a try and watch him discover his world!

Little One, Big One

Teach your baby all about opposites by gathering common items and toys together from around the house in contrasting pairs. Try items like a small teddy bear and a large one, a baby spoon and a soup spoon and a washcloth and bath towel. Hold the smaller one up first and say “Small!”, and then the larger one, saying “Big!”

Size isn’t the only comparison you can start to teach! Show him the concepts of in and out by placing toys in a bin and then removing them. Lift him up into the air saying “up!” and back to the floor with “down!” Let him touch opposite textures, such as soft and hard, smooth and rough. It will be a while before he learns all the words, but before you know it, when you ask him which one is soft, or which is bigger, he will surprise you by choosing correctly!

Where Did It Go?

Babies aren’t born with an understanding of object permanence. They have to learn that when something (or someone) disappears, it doesn’t cease to exist. Simple games to help your baby grasp this concept include various versions of peek-a-boo and hide and seek. Hide behind the couch and pop up at different angles, sometimes on the side, other times at the top. Once baby is on the move, you can call out to him saying “Where’s mommy? Can you find mommy?” and let him follow the sound of your voice to discover your location.

Hiding a toy behind your back and then bringing it out, or throwing a blanket over something and then removing it are basic playtime ways to teach object permanence. At first, baby will wait for you to reveal the object, but soon he will begin to crane his neck to see behind you or lift the blanket himself as he starts to understand that the object is still there, just hiding!

Did I Do That?

One of the major concepts your baby will develop through play is an understanding of cause and effect. As she starts to interact more with the world around her, she will slowly start to realize that she can make things happen! Take baby around the house and find fun things she can try out. Put her hand on a light switch and help her to flip it, or help her to turn on the faucet. Musical toys are great for teaching cause and effect, as she will learn how to make new and interesting noises. Let her bang on pots and pans with a wooden spoon, or fill an empty plastic bottle with a tight-fitting lid with beans to create a home made maraca.

Bath time offers opportunities to teach cause and effect as well. Give baby a sponge and show her how to wet it and then squeeze the water out. Let her fill a cup with water and dump it out. Even simply splashing in the tub is helping her to learn!

Simple games like these turn playtime into learning time and will keep baby stimulated and happy too!

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