Easy play ideas: 5 natural opportunities to help your baby learn through play

Posted in Play and learn.

Right from the beginning of your baby’s life, play can promote your little one’s physical, cognitive, social, emotional and language development.

Occupational Therapist Cindy Chuan points out, “Play is your child’s ‘occupation’. Children learn incidentally through play, and play to learn. They build confidence, social skills, language, cognitive and physical skills. Children explore, imagine and discover as they experiment with space, size, their own bodies, force, strength, colour, shape and distance.”

The bond between you and your baby is enhanced through play, and once you start noticing them, you’ll find there’s a plethora of play opportunities for your baby in your everyday life. Here are 5 ideas perfect for everyday play when your baby reaches around 6 months:

1. Explore the outdoors

Little trips out in the stroller are an ideal time for your baby to play and learn. As they look about and take everything in, you can help foster their language and sensory skills by naming things they see. You can name different vehicles they see, like trucks, trains and buses; point out and name any animals, like birds and dogs. Your baby will also enjoy it if you make the sounds that different types of transport and animals make. Your baby will enjoy looking at the breeze in the trees and holding leaves and flowers, so they can look carefully at the different shapes and explore the textures with their little hands.

2. Potter around the kitchen

While you’re cooking or preparing their snack, your 6 to 12-month-old can be pottering about in the pots and pans! You can give them their own drawer with pots, pans, wooden spoons and measuring cups that are safe for them to play with, like the Brilliant Basics Measuring set. They’ll enjoy being close to you and have the chance to use their fine motor skills to explore spatial concepts like ‘in and out’, ‘over and under’, and space and size.

3. Good old-fashioned singing

When you sing to your baby, you have the chance to calm and settle them, as well as get into the same emotional space with them, which is wonderful for bonding. Singing to and with your baby also helps your baby’s speech development. Best of all, you can sing to your baby any time throughout the day – on outings, before bed, in the bath or in the car!

4. Read with your baby

It may take your baby a while to get the hang of books, but they’ll love hearing stories with repetition, rhythm and rhyme. Reading to your baby will help their language, speech and social and emotional development. You may like to choose board books for them so that they can learn to turn the pages themselves, as well as books with different textures, like That’s not my wombat  – each page has different textures your baby can explore and touch for sensory fun.

5. Tune in and splash around at bath time

Bath time is the perfect time for play with your little one; it gives them a chance for sensory play and for you to become in tune with their likes and dislikes. You can gently splash the water with them, encourage their kicking, and provide them with toys they can explore the water with like Dymples Under the Sea Bath toys. Pay attention to what they do and don’t like in the bath, and look out for which toys they gravitate towards.

There are a multitude of ways to bring play into your baby’s day! Remember to look out for natural play opportunities, be guided by what catches your child’s attention, and have fun with your baby. These are all chances to help your baby learn through play and nurture your bond with them.

This is a sponsored post by BIG W, where you can find everything you need for pregnancy, baby and beyond.


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