Tuesday, May 24th, 2022Kids of all ages learn through playing and engaging in various hands-on experiences. However, what about babies? Are babies capable of playing even before they can walk or talk? The answer is a resounding yes! But, you undoubtedly need to approach things from a different perspective when you’re teaching babies how to play.
Playtime for babies includes many things, including interactions with objects and people around them. Consider the most classic baby game of all time, Peek-a-Boo. Babies also love when you sing to them or wiggle their toes as you recite “This Little Piggy.” All of these things are examples of ways to build playtime for babies.
As babies get older, you can incorporate more involved activities into the mix. As they approach the toddler years, preparing them for more in-depth learning becomes part of their playtime.
Are you trying to find creative and fun ways to engage in playtime with your baby? Here are four ways to play with babies that help them learn.
1. Create Sensory ExperiencesYou don’t need a lot of elaborate materials to create engaging play experiences for children. Babies learn through interacting with the world around them. Sensory play is a wonderful way to provide learning opportunities.
You can place safe, textured materials on the ground for some sensory-inspired tummy time. Or, make sensory bags for babies that will have them squealing with delight. Of course, always make sure to supervise your baby’s playtime.
2. Sing Songs and Do Finger PlaysAnytime you can interact with your baby presents an opportunity for play. Talk with your baby or sing songs to them while changing their diaper. Recite nursery rhymes, do fingerplays like the “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” and more. Your child will learn about sounds, literacy, and social communication through these seemingly small acts.
3. Develop Fine Motor Skills with Spaghetti and CheeriosAs your baby starts to grow and experiment more with their fine motor skills, grab some playdough, spaghetti, and cheerios. (Also, by this time, your baby should be eating some solid foods.) Place a clump of dough onto a tray and stick a piece of spaghetti in it upright.
Then, place a handful of cheerios onto the tray and let your child try to put the cereal over the spaghetti. You can also use larger pieces of pasta for them to string onto the standing spaghetti.
4. Look in the Mirror and Make FacesNever underestimate the power of self. Give your baby a baby-safe mirror to look at themself and make faces. Also, look in a mirror with them and make different faces. You can also name several emotions as you create the matching expression to help your baby learn about feelings and communication.
When your baby isn’t quite a baby any longer, you’ll find yourself preparing for the next learning milestone -- school. Our Ed-ventures Homeschooling Kit for the Early Years features over 40 carefully-curated activities and games to help young children succeed in school. Plus, many of the activities are perfect for helping develop essential skills like fine motor skills.
It’s easy to help babies and toddlers learn and develop essential skills at home when you have the right tools. At Learn with OjO, we strive to create interactive, age-appropriate resources and activities that motivate kids to love learning and excel.