10 Easy Early Learning Activities For Babies And ToddlersBy Dr. Robert Titzer
1. Use Multi-Sensory Learning
When your child shows an interest in a particular topic, try to help them learn about it using as many sensory systems as possible. If your child is interested in learning about flowers, let them see, smell, touch, and even hear the gentle sound the flower makes brushing against their ear. This type of learning is usually more interesting for the child, and more effective.
2. Respond to Your Baby
An important skill for parents is the ability to respond to the interests of their infant. This will help them more easily understand their world. The baby looking at their toes could be told, "These are your toes." This means the infant would simultaneously have visual (seeing her toes), auditory (listening to you say "these are your toes"), and haptic (feeling you touch her toes) information. This helps a young baby develop a very elaborate idea of "toes". These types of responsiveness activities may also increase their IQ.
A fundamental building block for intelligence is the ability to categorize. You can stimulate your child by grouping animals or objects that are similar. For instance, your child's toys or clothes could be grouped by color, size, shape, material, or function. Simply show them and say, "This is a sock and this is a sock. This is not a sock." Your baby should enjoy the activity because they will be able to see you sort the clothing, hear your voice, touch the soft clothing, and smell the clean clothes.
4. Improve Spatial Reasoning Abilities
Studies have shown that infants who self-locomote using a walker improve their spatial abilities. This improvement may be a result of infants' increased attention to objects when they self locomote rather than being carried. Pediatricians recommend that parents not use walkers for safety reasons; however, in safe conditions, a walker can help improve an infant’s spatial abilities. Reading simple maps and playing with mazes can also improve your toddler's spatial reasoning abilities.
5. Play Classical Music for Your Infant or Toddler
Play classical music for your infant or toddler on a regular basis. In a controlled study, young children who listened to classical music outperformed those who had not listened to classical music.
6. Learn a Second Language
It is easier for a young child to learn a second language than it is for adults. A recent study found that children who learned a second language after the age of 11 had two distinct areas of the brain for understanding language -- one for their native language and one for their second language. Children who learned a second language before the age of four had one large area of the brain active for both languages. This suggests that children who learn language skills in their first years are able to develop brains that are more efficient.
7. Respond to Your Infant's Sounds
If the parent responds excitedly to a baby's new sound and repeats the sound to the baby, then the connection to make that sound will have some value to the infant and it will likely be strengthened. On the other hand, if the infant makes a new sound and no one responds -- the baby will be less likely to repeat that sound. Not only does the infant probably feel more attached to caregivers who respond to their sounds, but they can learn to make more sounds when people respond.
8. Make Learning Videos for Your Child
Parents can make learning videos for their infants and toddlers. Be sure to include your family in the video. This will attract your child's attention and allow them to see you even when you are away. You may want to include your child's name and the words 'mommy' and 'daddy' in your video.
9. Play Games!
Matching games are fun. Show your infant one item, for example a tennis ball. Next, show your baby several other objects and ask him/her to find the one that matches the first object. Talk with your child throughout the game and describe how the objects are the same or different. These fun games help the child learn more about object properties such as color, material, function, shape, etc.
10. Use Different Postures During Play
Allow your infant to play while in different postures and locations. Make soft, clean, safe areas for your baby to play while on its stomach, back, and seated. Set up these play spaces in different locations. Babies may practice lifting their heads or rolling over while on their stomachs. While on their backs, infants may play with activity gyms, practice rolling, or look at objects. It may be easier for infants to explore toys while in a bouncer.
About the Author: Dr. Robert Titzer is a prominent professor and infant researcher. His award winning educational DVD program, “Your Baby Can Read!®”, published by Smart Kids® of Penton Overseas Inc., has produced remarkable results worldwide. For more information visit http://www.yourbabycan.com.
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