As babies develop, they become more aware of their environments and the people who are around them. Playing helps babies to learn about everything they hear and observe through their senses.
How does Playing help babies? Babies learn through what they touch, hear, feel and see. All these experiences are stored in their brains and become stronger with each time they are able to re-experience.
During play, babies are continually developing their cognitive skills (the way the brain works) through experimenting with motor skills such as reaching, touching, pulling and crawling. While reaching for toys, babies are going through a complex variety of possibilities. Should they roll, call you for help, crawl or is it simply a matter of stretching to reach it? After some encouragement and effort, they are rewarded with success and have learnt from their experience.
Playing becomes more fun as babies are able to control what they want. They begin to look forward to playing with certain toys, playing peekaboo and experimenting with gravity (watch out for lunch being dropped repeatedly onto the kitchen floor!). Games which are repetitive in nature will become favourites and illicit squeals of delight and anticipation.
By observing what happens from experimenting with their toys, babies learn about sound and movement. The round object rolls or the bells tinkle etc. And they never seem to tire of their experiments. You have many hours of picking up toys for baby to drop again to look forward to!
Playing is a valuable way for parents to help develop their child both mentally and physically and you may find that understanding the value of a simple game of peekaboo, motivates you to join in more frequently and not be bored by it. After all, to you it may be a little mind numbing-but for your baby-it is a wonderful and educationally rich experience!
I am a preschool and primary school teacher and mum to 3 children. I have been involved in education since 1997 and have trained in a variety of educational specialist areas. It is with this expertise that I write articles to help parents and educators provide quality learning experiences for the children in their care.