Babies are born eager to learn and they learn through play. Playing with your baby stimulates their brain and helps with their development. Through play, children develop language skills, their emotions and creativity as well as their social and physical skills. Play is natural and spontaneous for children, but these top tips can help to encourage play, exploration and will inspire them to practice new skills, solve problems and use their imagination.
Sound and Vision
For newborn babies you are the toy to play with! Interact with your baby as much as you can, try and get their attention to look at you whilst you talk and sing to them. As their vision improves you can start moving colourful objects in front of them from side to side and up and down. Your baby should start tracking the object with their eyes. Bells and rattles are also great toys to attract their attention. Once they can track toys start to show them two objects, shake one until your baby focuses on it then shake the other. They should then shift the gaze between the two toys.
Your baby will soon start reaching out to grasp the toys you are showing them, lifting their arms up above their chest. Encourage your baby to hold toys with two hands in the middle of their chest (or midline). They should also be able to release the toy and then learn to transfer the toy between their hands. After this, start offering your baby two toys. They should hold the first one and then discard it to grasp the other toy. Over time they will be able to hold both. Use toys that are easy to grasp, colourful and make a noise.
Why Does my Baby Put Everything in their Mouth?
Babies learn about the taste, texture and shape of things by mouthing toys (amongst other things!) as the nerve endings in a baby’s mouth are the most sensitive in the body. Always offer your baby toys that are safe, different sizes and different textures and make sure you clean the toys regularly!
You can start tummy time from day one. Tummy time is any time you place your baby on their tummy and it helps to strengthen their neck and trunk muscles, as well as their physical development. Read our blog post here for top tummy time tips.
Post by Victoria Healey, Head of Paediatric Physiotherapy at Physiocomestoyou.