The definition of the “infant stage” of life varies from one year to two, but one thing is certain – and that is that an infant’s development during this time is foundational for further development. During infant development, a child learns to communicate, sit erect and discover the world around them in a basic, introductory way.
Considering that infant education is crucial for success, the following 12 infant development activities are a great way to be an active part of your baby’s development.
Introduction To Infant Development
Infant development is the first milestone in a child’s growth. This refers to development that occurs from a baby’s birth until a year or two of age. Practicing certain activities with your baby will help stimulate learning.
Various skills are exercised and practiced during infant development. The following areas of development are key during infant development and should be considered from birth.
- Motor skills – this is the ability to perform a pre-determined muscular movement
- Hearing – your baby will be able to identify certain sounds
- Vision – the ability to identify colors, patterns, and sights
- Communication – your baby will learn to communicate in basic ways such as cooing and repeating certain sounds
Infant Development Activities
By practicing some of these activities with your baby, you can watch them transform from a floppy-headed newborn to a mobile, communicative being.
Develop Motor Skills With Boxes
Using boxes to kickstart your infant’s motor skills is an effective and affordable activity. You can either buy toy shapes from the store, or you can wrap old boxes in different paper to introduce a little bit of color and creativity.
From here, you can guide your infant in exploring how the boxes fit together, stack on one another, and even rip the paper. By interacting with these boxes and their wrappings, your baby will slowly develop their motor skills.
Develop A Sense Of Humor
You may ask yourself, what does infant laughter indicate? Laughter is a sign of your infant being alert, intrigued and happy. A sense of humor can be nurtured from a young age.
Help develop your child’s sense of humor by pulling funny faces and paying attention to what amuses them. You can even go one step further and use props – such as a funny hat or oversized sunglasses – to evoke a response.
Encourage Curiosity With A Cupboard Raid
While curiosity may kill the cat, it can add a lot of value to the life of an infant, particularly in the area of problem-solving and lateral thinking. Allocate a kitchen cupboard to your toddler’s curiosity and fill it with safe items such as pots and plastic utensils.
Next time that you’re cooking in the kitchen, your baby can raid the cupboard and be entertained. Just be mindful to keep an eye on them.
Introduction of Tummy Time
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that babies spend the majority of their time on their backs, as this reduces the risk of sudden infant death (SID). However, a little bit of tummy time is great to get your baby to develop neck and upper-body muscles.
Be advised that this is best when your baby is awake and alert. Introduce tummy playtime for three to five minutes at a time, and increase the amount of time as your baby gets older and stronger.
Bath time is loved as a daily opportunity to not only clean your child but to bond over various water games and enjoy tactile interaction.
During this time, it’s important to introduce various games and make the most of the moments. You can buy plastic toys and even introduce a toxic-free bubble bath for extra fun.
Learn To Identify Facial Features
There’s a lot to say about facial expressions and learning the various features of a face. A great activity to get your young infant comfortable with facial communication is to let them explore the various parts of your face. For example, touching your nose and then explaining its purpose through various expressions.
If you want to expand on this activity, you can do the same with your infant’s stuffed toys. This is an effective activity to get your infant comfortable with facial communication.
Toys That Play-Along
Attach a string to any one of your infant’s toys and watch as your child is entertained for hours on end. After attaching a piece of string to the toy, encourage your infant to give it a tug, and watch their face light up as their favorite toy moves towards them.
As your baby gets older and begins to crawl, you can place the string slightly out of reach, encouraging them to move a little bit further and get it.
Sensory play is known to be an important stepping stone in language development, cognitive growth, motor skills, social interaction, and even problem-solving.
Introduce your baby to various textures to help stimulate this development. Place them on a textured carpet, allow them to experience a piece of bubble wrap, and give them various textured toys.
Escape In A Book
Reading a book with your little one is a relaxing learning experience that serves the dual purpose of bonding with your child and introducing a love for literature.
Hearing words and seeing colorful pictures will stimulate your baby’s brain and kickstart their cognitive development, as well as their creative mind.
Discover The Power Of Sign Language
Regardless of whether or not your baby can talk, they are still learning the basics of communication through physical behavior. One effective way to encourage understanding and broaden your baby’s knowledge is to point at different objects.
When pointing, make sure that you verbally repeat what you are pointing to, and encourage them to answer you with the name of the object.
Gentle Games Of Catch
Gather together some light objects, such as colored scarves, and toss them to your infant in a gentle game of catch. This simple activity can do wonders for developing eye/hand coordination.
The light objects don’t pose a risk of hurting your baby, and the lightweight means that they will float slowly, giving your baby a chance to react.
Practice Decision Making Skills
Decision-making is a valuable skill that is beneficial from childhood through to adulthood. It’s never too early to introduce the concept of this skill to your infant through fun and engaging games.
One simple game is to present your baby with two toys – one in each hand. Then give them the option of a third toy and watch how they decide on which to keep, or whether they try to hold them all.
Professional Assistance In Infant Development
At Parkland Children’s Academy, we put family first. These simple activities will help stimulate your infant’s development in the home and prepare them for the future.
Your child’s development begins the second that they take their first breath, and continues to VPK and preschool. Call us at (954) 688-5877 to find out how we can work together to boost your child’s development.