Your baby learns about his environment and how to interact with it through one very crucial activity - playing. You as a parent must always encourage your baby to pick up new things, crawl around and explore their surroundings.
This article is a guide to learn how children at different ages play, and even how to pick the right equipment for their play.Up to 6 months
- In the first months, your baby's senses are not fully developed. They can only see things that are about 8-14 inches from their eyes.
- They would enjoy soft sounds and music, your cooing and even singing.
- At about 3-6 months, your child can suck their fingers and grasp a toy that has been put in his hand. Grasping is a very important step in your little one’s overall development.
- They will begin to reach for toys on their own and are able to pass it back and forth in their own hands.
- You could consider providing your little one with toys that are big, colourful, and full of sounds and music, preferably moving, like a toy wind up car.
- Make sure that the toys you bring are safe for chewing as this is the stage where your baby will love to put things in their mouth!
6 to 12 months
- At about 9 months, your baby becomes aware that objects still exist even though they can no longer see them. Hide their favourite toy under their blanket for them to lift it up and voila, they’ve found it!
- Your child is also becoming increasingly mobile - crawling, pulling to stand and cruise.
- They are also becoming more adept with their hands, picking up whatever they find on the floor and putting it into their mouth.
- A great toy to have at this stage is a ball. They will love catching it and bouncing it around.
- From about 9 months, they also enjoy shape sorters, which test their problem-solving abilities. Toy telephones are another favourite, which they can use to imitate phone calls.
- When your baby begins to walk, they will enjoy pushing and throwing toys around as well.
- By this stage, your little one will begin to explore all corners of the house.
- Their hands have also become more coordinated, so they can scribble a little drawing and start to sort out their toys.
- They will become more experimental with their play, for example, “What happens if I drop this bowl?”
- Their curiosity motivates them to try things repeatedly to gain mastery over it. Your child will continually test their own limits, and also begin to insist on their independence.
- Of course, they will have the infamous temper tantrums as they begin to communicate more to let you know what they think.
- More active than ever, a child is an imitator of the parent in everyday life.
- Your baby will like any game that is physically involving, so provide them with push and pull toys. Give them large building blocks as their hands become more coordinated and are beginning to stack more effectively.
- You could also give them a set of crayons (ideally non-toxic by nature) and paper to start scribbling.
- Provide your child with a safe area where they can climb, hide, slide and practise all their emerging gross motor skills.
- Puzzles will be intriguing at this age, as your child is now more capable of problem solving and learning from trial and error.
- Making music with tiny instruments is a thrill as they learn the idea of rhythm and tune.
- Your role as parents
- You as a parent should understand that you are your child’s best playmate. They love being around you and will always try to engage in play with you.
- Studies show that creative children are usually the result of parents who have involved themselves with the child's play.
- Never hesitate to join in and play at your child's level. It brings about some wonderful experiences.
Daily playtime is a great way to bond with your child, so go ahead and make it a rich and fun time for you and your child!