Playtime is more than just fun for our children. It helps them develop essential life skills and explore various scenarios in the world. While many parents understand the importance of play for toddlers, the same is not true for babies. Below, we explore how babies develop through the power of play and the benefits of play.
Babies Don’t Need Time to Play, Right?
Babies do need time to play and lots of it. As a parent, you should ensure that your baby has ample time to discover the power of play every single day. Why is this? During your child’s first year, they develop essential cognitive skills.
The Urban Child Institute found that a baby’s brain doubles in size between birth and their first birthday. As their brain grows, it develops billions of neural connections. These connections are built through exploring the world around them. And one of the best ways babies can do this is by playing. Newborn playtime provides your child with ample opportunities to develop essential life skills.
Benefits of Play in Early Childhood Development
Playing during the early years is extremely important for a child’s physical, mental, and sensory development. While there are many ways your baby will develop certain skills, playtime is considered one of the most consistent yet fun methods for your child to learn.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of play being offered to your baby during early childhood development:
Gain Important Cognitive Skills
Playing allows your baby to develop essential brain functions. It helps your child learn how to think, problem-solve, make decisions, and improve their memory. Do you notice that your baby likes a particular toy that makes sounds? You might see them pressing the same button over and over. This isn’t just because they enjoy that sound; your child is learning to understand what happens next.
As your baby gets older, playing allows them to explore their curiosity and interests more. It also helps them gain more independence and confidence, which are essential for developing cognitive skills during the toddler years.
Encourages Physical Development Through Movement
All parents know how important tummy time is for their baby. But did you know that this is a form of play? Considered a form of physical play, tummy time is great for helping your child develop essential physical skills. It encourages them to roll over, kick their legs, crawl, and wiggle about.
Adding toys as part of a tummy time routine is another great way of helping your child play during this time and offers the added benefit of helping to improve their hand-eye coordination.
Improves Sensory Development
Newborn playtime is also an excellent way for your child to use and develop all of their senses. You’ll know by now that your child is naturally curious and likes to touch and taste toys while playing with them. Sensory play allows your baby to use its curiosity to discover new tastes, textures, colors, and sounds.
Providing rich sensory experiences through play, such as when playing with bubbles at bathtime, is very beneficial for your child’s development during the early years.
Teaches Emotional and Social Skills
Other benefits of play include helping teach your baby vital emotional and social skills. By playing with your baby, you actively teach them to have their first social interaction. Newborn playtime is a great way to strengthen the bond between parent and child. The more you play with your baby, the more you’ll notice them gazing into your eyes, smiling, and waving at you.
Additionally, you may find that your child is attempting to copy your facial expressions during playtime. So, don’t be afraid to make silly faces at them. This is their way of learning how to mimic social interaction but also helps them to feel secure and comfortable.
Encourages Language Development
Experts say that playtime is a great time to help further your child’s communication skills. Babies are constantly learning and listening to the sounds around them. Singing a lullaby is one way to encourage your baby’s language development, but so is playing.
When you play with your baby, talk to them about what you are doing. For example, when you pick up a toy, say, “What’s this toy? Look, it’s a stacking block, and it’s the color yellow. Yellow is one of my favorite colors.” While it may feel silly for you to do this, talking with your baby is how they learn the rhythm of conversation and will benefit them as they get older and start speaking.
Newborn Playtime: What Baby Development Toys are Best?
While your baby will learn through playing with various toys, certain toys are better than others. Baby development toys are designed to help your child reach those all-important early learning milestones.
Choosing toys that match your baby’s developmental stage can give them the best learning experience while allowing them to have plenty of fun. These are some of our favorite baby development toys to use at Vivvi:
- Stacking blocks
- Activity mats
- Musical devices
- Plastic rings and crinkle toys
- Teething toys
The benefits of play are undeniable. At Vivvi, we understand how important it is for young children to discover the world around them through the power of play. Our early childhood educators encourage your child to explore their interests through various activities such as role-play, sensory play, and unstructured play.
Get in touch with us today for more information on how we incorporate playtime into our early learning model or to book a tour of our NYC early learning campus.