Your baby learns and grows at such a rapid rate and sometimes it’s hard to keep up with how we can aid in that growth and development. We blink and they’re the most independent tiny humans who don’t need us as much anymore.
Often times, we worry about if we’re doing enough and of course we are but for that added boost of certainty, we’ve collated 5 fun and engaging activities that you can practice at home to aid in their cognitive development.
Before we deep dive into these activities, let’s understand what cognitive development means. Put simply, it is your baby’s ability to communicate, think, process and understand what they encounter in their environment so that they can work out what could happen next.
It is a series of events all strung together to form a sequence.
This could be from anything like bringing a spoonful of cereal from the bowl to their mouth, followed by chewing and swallowing. Or, understanding that pressing a button on a toy could result in a song playing to which they might respond by smiling and dancing.
This is why play time is so important for a baby’s development because though it may be fun for you both, it teaches your little one so much about the world and their place in it.
Let’s Get To The Activities!
An oldie but goodie. This game, as simple as we may think it is, is actually so effective because it contributes to something called, ‘object permanence’ which is a sign that your baby’s memory is developing.
Peek-a-boo teaches a baby that even though they can no longer see an object, it is still there. Encouraging them to find the object when it disappears right in front of their face is also a massive confidence boost as they learn that they are capable of doing something on their own.
- IDENTIFYING NOISES
What’s good about this activity is that it can be done anywhere, even in the comfort of your home. It’s excellent because it allows your baby to start associating sounds to objects and actions.
The ping of the microwave will show your baby that their food has finished warming while the horn blowing on the highway will signal that a car is driving by. They become familiar with these sounds and are soon able to mimic them or identify them, building up their vocabulary, word-sound association and memory.
Babies have 5 senses too! Oftentimes, we focus on the audio-visual aspects of learning and forget that new learning experiences can be discovered through touch too. This is where your touch and feel books come in handy.
Understanding rough, smooth, soft, sticky textures helps baby to understand how to interact with various things. If something is sticky, they might want to leave it alone to avoid getting their hands dirty, if something is smooth, like a blanket for example, they may associate it with comfort or bedtime.
It’s building up patterns that they recognize over time as they learn more about their surroundings. Bonus: it really aids in the development of their fine motor skills too!
This is a fairly easy activity to undertake with your baby because they’re already so inquisitive. But how can you take that a step further? Well, showing them how things work is a start.
Something as simple as turning on the faucet to show the water coming out of it will get the little cogs in their brains turning. Outdoor activities are also a great way for your baby’s development; showing them the world and how things operate is a great way to get them thinking.
Don’t feel pressured to do something extravagant every time though, simply talking them through things you’re doing with them like bathing and changing them or showing them their reflection in the mirror has a great impact too.
- READING & SINGING
These two go hand in hand as some books can be written in the form of nursery rhymes or a sing a long picture book. Whatever format it’s in, reading and singing to your baby on a regular basis is so stimulating.
Pointing to characters and telling a story is not only entertaining but it tests their ability to recite, memorize and use their little imaginations. Their listening skills are also tested as you can read a story or sing a song, leave out certain words and they can tell you what happens next.
This is the perfect framework for reading comprehension as they grow older.
There’s so much you can implement into your baby’s daily routine to further develop their cognitive skills but remember, there is no one that knows your baby like you do, so go at your own pace, trust your instincts and do what you feel is right when it is right for you both.