Babies’ brains are constantly growing, learning, and absorbing new information. In their first year, their brains nearly double in size! One of the most important ways they build strong brains is through play.
When babies play, they’re gaining new information about the world around them and creating important nerve connections in their brains. According to researchers and child development experts, simple games can boost your baby’s brain development, language skills, organizational skills, and social and emotional learning. Any new experience they have builds more important nerve connections in their brains.
Often, you’ll find your baby touching things, staring, or putting objects in their mouth. Your child is exploring the world around them using their senses. Through these experiments, they’re continually boosting brain development. By creating more opportunities for them to play and explore their natural curiosity, you’re boosting their brain development.
Even simple games can have a big effect on your baby’s growing brain. Here are some fun ideas for playing and learning with your baby at home:
Find a mirror, and make funny faces at each other. Looking at faces is a great way to support your baby’s visual development and cognitive growth. For extra fun, you can bring in guest stars like your child’s favorite stuffed animal, a co-parent, or a sibling.
Have a conversation. When your baby coos or makes a noise, respond back like you’re chatting with them. Babies love to hear their caregiver’s voice, especially when they’re using bright, happy tones. They also learn by imitation. The more you talk to them, the more words they’re absorbing.
Get active together. Encourage your baby to scoot, crawl, or practice walking. Any kind of new activity builds those important nerve connections in their brains while helping them develop their gross motor skills.
Find different fabrics for your baby to touch. From cotton to cardboard, feathers, felt, velvet, and more, your baby will love experiencing all these different textures through their sense of touch.
Play peek-a-boo. This classic game of hiding your face and then appearing again seconds later engages your baby's senses, helps build gross motor skills, strengthens visual tracking, and encourages social development. Plus, you might be rewarded with an adorable giggle!