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Games Are Learning Tools for Babies

by Tania Cowling | April 20th, 2015 | Entertainment, Infants/Toddlers

baby (400x400)Dr. Jean Piaget, upon whose theories built Early Childhood Education, said that young children are explorers and it is the job of the adults around them to provide the experiences and materials to stimulate their development. Piaget saw the tremendous importance of play. When we give a child the opportunity to play, experiment, talk, and enjoy his surroundings, we are helping him learn about the world, other people, and himself.

Now, babies are interested in watching, tasting, and touching everything in sight. Thus, their playthings are their senses. As they get a little older and begin walking, getting around and using their body to learn and do new and interesting things are important to them. With simple games, you can give your baby a passion for play – and games can be a powerful learning tool for infants and toddlers. So here is a list of the first games you can play with your child. Most are traditional – but have you engaged in these for your baby’s entertainment?

Infants love movement even though they are not quite mobile. Grasp your baby’s hands and lift them from a lying position to a sitting pose. Sing “up and down, up and down” as you engage in these movements. And next emphasize that your baby is So Big. Lift their arms up very high and exclaim, “How big are you? You are mama’s big boy/girl.”

As the baby grows, Peek-a-Boo is a game they love. Here are some variations that introduce babies to colors as well.

Peek-a-Boo Paper

Have the baby sit facing you. Hold up a brightly colored piece of construction paper, maybe one with a picture or pattern on it. Play peek-a-boo with the baby, putting the paper in front of your face and then moving it away slowly enough for the baby to really look at the color and the picture.

Peek-a-Boo Objects

Play this game with babies around nine to twelve months old. Find two or three similar objects that are different colors. Let the baby watch you as you hide them, one at a time, under a plain cloth. Encourage her to pull off the cloth and discover the object. As she does this, talk about the color of the item like, “Look at this big, yellow block.”

Peek-a-Boo Scarf

Older babies will enjoy finding you when you hide behind a colored scarf. Talk about the color of the cloth as you hide. Babies learn vocabulary by hearing you talk. As a variation, put the scarf over the child’s head as well if he doesn’t object. Some children do not like having their faces covered. Never force a child to do this.

Babies Love Boxes Too

Cut a large hole in the lid of a shoe box. Show the baby how to drop large beads or small blocks into the box through the hole. Then show her how to reach inside the hole and pull the object out. This is good practice in small motor skills and also the idea of finding something when it is not in view (developing imagination).

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