Riddhima was surprised to hear what her doctor was saying. He was talking something very contrary to what she knew and believed. She made sure her baby was safe in his crib always, she made sure the little one is not crawling and walking too much so that he is away from dust and germs. She also made sure not to give too many toys as there is a risk of the baby putting them in his mouth and contracting some infections.
Today, the pediatrician suggests her to make the infant play as much as he can? Riddhima took her baby for a regular check-up when the doctor found that the nine-month-old is lagging in his milestones. He asked some probing questions and found out that the baby wasn’t playing and so he wasn’t learning.
Quite confusing right? What would play have to do with learning and growing?
Playing is the best means of learning for your baby. It is a different story that they need to study big fat books later in life, but to begin with, it is just toys for them.
Now that you know where your baby stands, we will tell you how playing can benefit the baby:
- Attention span and memory: Imagine your baby has met his uncle in the past. So, the next time he comes home, the little one will smile at him, and may even want to go and hug him! After all, his uncle must have got him a toy or some goodie for him! This is because your baby’s brain has been adding things to its memory and that can happen only if the tiny tot pays attention to what he sees or plays with.
Bright and attractive toys such as the stacking rings capture the attention of the babies.
The stack is a fun toy for babies of six months and above. The rings with different bright colours stimulate the baby’s senses especially the visual development. As the baby learns to stack the rings one above the other, he will understand the sequence of the rings based on their colour and size. This means the toy has won his attention and is helping build his memory and overall cognitive skills.
The stacking toys build a sense of touch, and improve motor and coordination skills.
- Develops the ability to connect with cause and effect: Your child has just learnt to take tiny steps, he suddenly trips against a sofa and falls. The next time he goes near the sofa, he understands that he needs to be careful. Why? He knows that if he hits the sofa, he would trip. But how do you bring in this sense of cause and effect with toys?
Toys, like a press-and-go toy, which move at the press of a button, will do the job for you. Show your baby how to do it, and he will learn it in a jiffy that the truck moves as he presses the button – cause and effect.
And if the truck comes in an attractive design, like a monster, the baby will run behind the toy, which helps in his motor skills.
- Aids in physical development as well as mental sharpness: This is needless to say. Kids love to run behind their favourite toys, touch and feel them, and even talk to them. Buy a pull-along toy, and see how your kid will run around the house tagging it along. And don’t be annoyed if he does it the whole day! Such toys hone the little one’s motor skills: their grip, their walk and their balancing act.
- Supports them in being vocal about their feelings: Wonder how? There are toys that help improve your child’s language skills. So, the next time you ask how his porridge is tasting, he might actually tell you that it is good (or not so good)!
The best way to hone his language skills is to give him/ her a learning tool. Take a toy tablet, for instance, . which makes learning interesting and exciting. As the baby keeps growing, you can change the settings in the tablet to the next level of learning. The tablet introduces your baby to letters, first words, animals, music, phrases, and fun sounds! The child learns to imitate the sounds and songs from the tablet.
- Eye-hand coordination: Throw a ball at your kid, and he catches it. He does it by seeing the ball with his eyes and catching it with his hands, and that is eye-hand coordination. But does he catch the ball in the first instance itself? No, he learns it eventually. Eye-hand coordination is an important milestone and you can develop it with toys such as shape sorters, block play toys, stacking toys, etc.
The colourful shapes and different -sized blocks help your child learn while having fun. The toys will also encourage the baby to explore the different textures of soft components of the toy, and develop thinking and problem-solving skills as he has to sort the components based on their size and colour.
- The grasping skills: We see babies holding an object for a few minutes and then dropping it. They do not even realize that they have dropped something. Gradually, they learn to grasp things. Try snatching a toy from him; he will grasp it so tight that you are amazed at his grip! Did you know toys can help them in this too?
Give him a wobbly ball, which he can hold, throw, catch and grasp. Running/ crawling behind the ball will develop his motor skills. If the ball comes with bells or something similar to make sounds, it also stimulates the visual and auditory senses.
Toys are an important part of a baby’s life. They bring them joy, keep them occupied and make them look forward to their playtime. The good thing about modern day toys is their ability to make the babies reach their milestones.
But then you cannot buy just about any toy that you might come across. Everything said and done, the toys need to be safe for use. Their design and material need to be tested for their safety. Go for such toys, even if it means that you have to spend a little more than on the cheaper versions. Nothing is more important than your baby’s safety, right?