Watching your baby grow and develop right before your eyes is exciting and fascinating. One day your baby is only able to roll to one side and the next, he’s sitting up and moving with purpose. By age 3, 80% of a child’s brain is already developed. These early years are a critical period for development and help set the stage for a lifetime of positive learning.
So what can you do to help nurture your baby’s development? Play! As Piaget said, “play is the work of children.” Here are some fun and simple tips on how you can help your baby learn while nurturing the bond between you and baby during his or her first year.
It’s all about the senses! Your baby’s senses are still developing and while they’re not actively playing, they are absorbing and learning every day. You can play with her by making funny faces and sounds – the more animated, the better. This interaction helps baby learn and mimic you. And it also helps strengthen your bond.
Baby is beginning to grasp and is starting to actively play. Try playing the Grasping Game with 2 rattles. Once he learns to grasp one rattle, you can help him learn to hold two at once by offering a second object for his other hand. At first, your baby will drop what he is holding to grab a second rattle. Eventually he’ll learn to hold two at once.
At this stage your baby is learning about cause and effect. You can show your baby how a stacking toy works by stacking it up. At first she’ll be more interested in knocking it down and hearing the noise. You can start to encourage her to build the toy by showing excitement.
Around 9 months, babies start to understand the relationship between objects. Shape sorting toys help them learn about how objects fit together and relate to each other. And it also helps develop hand-eye coordination. You can start by showing your baby how the simpler shapes (like a round one) fit into the sort. Then step back and let him “problem solve.”