It is a well documented fact that motor and mental developments are positively correlated in infancy. Further, the five senses also contribute to the infants learning, through sensory, play activities. Thus, it becomes imperative to offer guided, sensory motor activities by you, when your infant is about four weeks old.
- You can offer guided play woven into daily routine activities of the infant.
- It is important for you to remember the likes and dislikes of your infant and stop the activity if you see the baby becoming tired or irritable.
- You can intertwine especially, vocal and listening and tactile play activities, along with experiences that promote a variety of motor responses. Exemplars are given below.
Values promoted for infant:
- Develops better “grasping” reflex and shows the beginnings of coordinated motor movements.
- Develops a bond of attachment, trust and security with mother.
- Joyful experiences of encouragement and spoken language by mother, encourages reactive responses of babbling, cooing, and gurgling. These are precursors to language development of the infant.
Guided play experiences for infants: Exemplars
With a little bit of imagination, creativity and innovation, you can convert the daily routine of your infant into an exciting and happy venture of guided learning experiences, as and when possible. The same will have the baby wanting for more!
1. Play with rattle:
A few tinkling bells sealed in a plastic bottle, with a makeshift handle for grasping and shaking by the infant in different ways, will elicit a variety of motor and vocal responses by the infant.
A regular sized black and white cardboard face / other colored danglers made from gift boxes and so on, when hung within reach, can elicit motor responses such as kicking and reaching for the object. If a swaying paper mobile is hung on the wall, at eye level, it too can induce a variety of body movements and vocals, by the infant.
3. Body massage
If the massage movements are combined with naming the body parts and the directions of movements such as crossing the limbs or lifting up the hands, they provide additional benefit of listening to the loving voice of the mother and her vocabulary. It then becomes a happy activity.
You can cuddle your infant as much as she likes, throughout the day. Add a little bit of swing, or a little squeeze to elicit gurgles of enjoyment. Hold your infant in your arms if you are bottle feeding her, as it makes for a trusting and secure environment. Most of all it promotes a happy experience.
5. Feeling textures
You can make layered squares about 2 inches in size from various soft and just wee bit rough materials. Include velvet, cotton, net etc. These can be rubbed gently into the baby’s palms. You can verbalize the feel as you play along. Other materials you can try a bit later are wheat flour, foam, thermocol pieces, soap bubbles and tepid and cool water feelings, using bowls. The tactile experiences are also precursors to learning about the environment.
6. Finger play with voice modulation and facial expressions.
Sing little jingles or perhaps three little pigs to the infant. Coordinate with matching finger play, facial expressions and voice modulation to suit the characters depicted.
Make use of using your infant’s body parts to involve her in the activity. You won’t be disappointed as your baby gives joyful responses and gurgling laughter! In fact you will be motivated to go further.
A last word:
Keeping in mind hygiene and other such concerns, the senses of taste and smell maybe promoted at a later date.
Have a fun time with your bundle of joy by providing the above guided learning to your infant. It will help enrich her experiences with her environment and help her gain cognitive experiences as you go along.
Keep on expanding the horizon of the learning experiences as your infant grows to the next level.