An infant’s brain is the perfect little sponge, ready and waiting for stimulation and learning. In fact, that 0-12 month age range is crucial for development, which is why it is important to make sure you spend time each day engaging your baby in learning activities.
Don’t fret, though. You don’t have to build a complex curriculum from scratch or worry about buying a slew of resources. Chances are, you already have much of what is needed to create a learning environment for baby. You can implement learning by simply playing with your baby in intentional ways. At our Waterford daycare center, we make sure to focus on sensory play, literacy development, and baby sign language every day. Here are some similar methods you can implement into your infant’s day to ensure they’re engaged and stimulated as they grow.
Play with Texture, Sight, and Sound
One of the best ways to get baby’s synapses firing is through sensory play. This method of instructional play combines the sense of touch with one or more of the other sense like sound, taste, or smell. Let your baby play with colorful toys that have different textures. If she can sit up on her own, for example, you can place colorful blocks of different sizes and shapes in front of her, and let her explore them. If she isn’t quite old enough to sit up on her own, lay her down on a play mat that makes noise as she moves around. These are great ways to include sensory play in her day.
Teach Baby Age-Appropriate Sign Language
Babies might not be able to verbalize until after age one, but they can still learn to communicate with you. Baby sign language is a great way to stimulate the brain and ease communication between the two of you. Babies learn simple sign language quickly with repetition and consistency. He won’t be able to sign complete sentences to you, but he will be able to learn simple commands and words. Words like “more,” “eat,” and “please” are great to start with, and babies as young as six months can learn sign language. Having your baby express himself through sign language can make infant care a little easier and increase the fun. At the Breakie Bunch (a Waterford daycare), we teach all of the infants in our case these basic signs.
Read to Baby
A ton of research exists on the importance of reading to your infant. Even in the womb, reading can help your baby recognize your voice— and the voices of other family members— and can soothe baby. Reading to your infant, even when they are really young, is a great way to introduce words and shapes. Books made specifically for infants come equipped for sensory play and often include a variety of colors, textures, and pictures. Some even come equipped with sound. Which books you choose for baby depend on awareness level determined by age, but one thing is for sure: a healthy variety of books is fun and engaging!
These curriculum items are sure to encourage development and get baby’s brain going, which will set her up for a lifetime of success.
Looking for infant care in the Waterford, MI area? Check out the Breakie Bunch site for more information. If you want more information on what makes for an excellent daycare, check out this blog on the top indicators of high-quality daycare for preschool and infant care.