While games like “Peek-a-boo” and “Rock-a-bye baby” may seem like mere child’s play, did you know that they are essential for an infant’s development?
Many of the best infant care centres in Singapore like MindChamps use these activities to stimulate infants and aid their learning in the future.
Here are some activities that experts recommend for your growing children.
Differently-textured objects help infants foster brain connections
One of the ways infants learn more about their surroundings is through touch.
Give your child objects of different colours, textures and materials. Let them play with these objects and stimulate them to use both hands to help both hemispheres of the brain, making “cross-lateral” connections.
You could also rub brightly coloured fabric scraps of different materials on your children gently. At Singapore’s MindChamps Infant Care, carers move the fabrics from side to side, in front of the babies’ eyes to ensure they follow the movement. This reflects the strengthening of the neural networks to the visual cortex.
Infant care experts in Singapore recommend auditory cues
According to Child Development Specialist Dr Karen DeBord, adult voices help make a baby’s brain more receptive to learning languages as they pick up patterns and rhythms. You could call the baby’s name or shake a noise-maker from different directions, rewarding them when they look.
At MindChamps Infant Care Singapore, carers crunch paper or other materials near infants and observe their responses. As they get older, they will learn about “cause and effect” by attempting simple tasks like crunching paper.
Funny faces and games help with recognition
Making funny faces like poking out your tongue, rolling your eyes or scrunching up your nose helps to encourage mirroring in babies. Imitating facial expressions helps to stimulate their mirror neurons.
Playing peek-a-boo may not trigger a reaction, but as they grow older they will start to react and giggle. You could also introduce variations like hiding behind furniture or placing a cloth over your child’s head. Peek-a-boo builds on repetition and helps them understand that things and people still exist, even if they cannot be seen.
Simple physical activities help fine-tune their motor skills
Babies learn through practice and repetition, for it is through this that they build their gross and fine motor skills.
You could start by moving their legs slowly, in a walking motion, forward and back, then side to the middle. You can then progress to different motions like “bike riding” or “doing squats”. Then, exercise their arms, clapping and swinging. Carers also bring the babies’ limbs across the centre line of the body.
These kinds of cross-lateral movements help build connections between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. At an infant’s early stages, their movements are mostly reflexive but through repeated movements, their neural development will be enhanced.
Although these activities may seem like a lot of work for babies, research from the best infant care centres in Singapore has shown that babies are “opportunistic” learners and pick up information from their surroundings quickly. Developments in the Sensory, Motor, Intellectual, Linguistic, Emotional and Social areas come from both accidental and experimental interaction. Thus, embarking on these activities could help in the cognitive development and gives you the opportunity to bond with your child.
This article first appeared on Parent Portal