It’s within a child’s first three years of life that are critical for learning and development. Parents wonder how soon their babies can start learning and if they can do anything for their child’s brain development. As each child grows day by day, they are constantly learning about everything around them through every engagement. The best and most active way to do so is interacting with them on the daily. Now that everyone is on lockdown, take this time to do just that! Read on for some brain development activities for newborns and infants.
Brain development affects all areas of a child’s growth. There are four main areas of development: motor (physical), language and communication, social and emotional, and cognitive. Brain development is part of cognitive development. Cognitive development describes how a child’s intellect grows, and includes thinking, learning and problem-solving skills. These skills affect all other areas of development.
Below are activities to encourage brain development for newborns and infants.
Playing is a fun and wonderful way to encourage brain development in babies. A baby is able to get a sense of wonder that allows them to understand what is going on around them and the interaction they get is a great engagement. Every and any form of play helps foster imagination and creativity.
Simple yet great examples of play with babies are:
- Hand puppeteering
- Singing songs with actions like “Wheels on the Bus”, “Close-Open”
- Color games like picking up any object and determining what color it is
- Flashcards: Alphabet, numbers, first words, colors and shapes
- Counting games like counting your fingers
- “What shape is this” games
Reading / Talking
Reading is an absolutely great way of promoting and encouraging a child’s brain development. Constant reading and talking with your baby is a way for them to start realizing language and how to communicate. Moreover, this is a great way for them to learn even before they can start to understand letters or words.
Activities that include reading and talking with babies:
- Read them a storybook
- Greet them daily (good morning, good afternoon, good evening)
- Responding to your baby’s cries with words of comfort
- Singing nursery rhymes
- Talking to them about what’s in the room
- Talk to them with every engagement – changing their diaper, bathing them, feeding them
Any and every movement a child does and learns is the best way for them to trigger their brain to continuous development. From birth, a baby only knows how to communicate through their cries and body language. As they grow, they start to learn more about themselves – like discovering their hands, feet, face, body and learning what to do with them and how to communicate. Physical movements help develop brain and motor development.
Here are some physical activities to help with brain development:
- Laying your baby on his or her back
- Letting them hold toys and small objects
- Gently Swaying your baby
- Any and every form of play
In conclusion, babies are constantly learning and will continue to develop on their own, but with constant interaction and engagement with their parents, their development progresses better and it’s more fun for them!