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Playtime is vital to an infant's cognitive development. It is a time for fun but also provides an avenue for them to explore their creativity, learn and use new skills, and bond with the people around them. Through playtime, babies are training for their major milestones, such as rolling over, sitting up, and walking according to Parents.com. Speech-language pathologist Rebecca Landa, Ph.D., says that babies who participate in enriching playtime activities tend to possess more advanced social, communication, and motor skills as they grow up. Here are some suggestions on how to help babies get the most out of their playtime.
Grabbing: If you offer babies various objects of all shapes and sizes, they begin to learn how to grasp and approach them with their hand in the correct position. This skill is important for later in their development when they want to grab books off a shelf or hold a spoon to eat.
Sitting: Once babies reach 6 months, you can sit them on an inflatable exercise ball, holding them safely on their waist. If you move the large exercise ball slowly enough, they will begin to learn to shift their weight which will improve their balance and strengthen their core muscles. Singing a rhyme along with the motions make it even more fun and helpful for them to remember words.
Blocking: Playing with blocks is very important to babies developing fine motor skills, according to Dimitri Christakis, M.D., director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior, and Development at Seattle Children's Research Institute. Exposure to language helps them learn vital social skills when you explain what you are doing while stacking blocks together.