Sunday, May 24, 2009

Play as your baby grows

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Play is the way a child learns about the world around him. This article talks about play and development from birth to 2 years old. It explores how children of different ages play and also explains how to choose appropriate play equipment.

Up to 6 Months

In the first months, the baby' senses are not fully developed. He can only see things that are about 8 - 14 inches from his eyes. He enjoys soft sounds and music, your cooing and singing.

At about 3 - 6 months, your child can suck his fingers and grasp a toy that has been put in his hand. He is also beginning to reach for toys and pass it back and forth in his own hands.

Provide toys that are big, colourful, full of sounds and music and preferably moving, like a mobile. Toys at this stage also need to be safe for chewing.

6 - 12 months

At about 9 months, the baby becomes aware that objects still exist even though he can no longer see them. You can hide his favourite toy under his blanket and he will lift it up and voila, he has found it!

Your child is also becoming increasingly mobile - crawling, pulling to stand and cruise. He is also becoming more adept with his hands, picking up whatever he finds on the floor and putting it into his mouth.

Balls are a favourite at this stage. he can crawl after them, throw them and watch them drop with a bounce.

From about 9 months, he also enjoys shape sorters, which test his problem solving abilities, toy telephones which he can use to imitate. He is also able to start stacking crudely when he is close to 12 months.

When he is beginning to walk, he will enjoy push toys as he leans on them and takes a few steps forward.

12 - 24 Months

He can explore all corners of the house. His hands have also become more coordinated, he can scribble a drawing and start to sort out his toys. He is more experimental in his play - what happens if I drop this bowl?

His curios self motivates him to try things repeatedly to gain mastery over it. As he reaches 24 months, he is continually testing his limits and begins to insist on his independence. He will have the infamous temper tantrums as he begins to let you know what he thinks!

At this age, child's play is more active. He is also an imitator of the parent in everyday life. He likes any game that is physically involving.

Provide the child with push and pull toys. Give him large building blocks as his hands are more coordinated and are beginning to stack more effectively. Give him lots of crayons and paper to start scribbling.

Provide your child with a safe area where he can climb, hide, slide and practise all his emerging gross motor skills.

Puzzles will be intriguing at this age, as he is more capable of problem solving and learning from trial and error. Making music with tiny instruments is a thrill as they learn rhythm and tune.

Role of Parents

Parents are the child's best playmates. Creative children are usually the result of adults who have involved themselves with the child's play. The parent must join in and play at the child's level. Daily playtime is a great way to bond with your child.

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