April 30, 2024

Brain Development Games For Infants

Brain Development Games For Infants

It is a well-known fact that the child's early environment impacts brain growth and its effects are felt for the longest time. From the time of birth until the child turns 3, research has shown, the brain growth in infants is enormous. The brain doubles in size during this period and synapses form faster. At the time of birth, the prenatal brain is developed helping newborns recognize faces and the mother's voice. One of the ways to encourage this cognitive development is through brain games for infants or infant games, designed to form neural connections and pathways.

As the brain continues to grow, the child's motor skills develop. Gradually, the visual area of the cortex expands, enhancing the vision, and as the frontal and temporal lobes develop, language skills are enhanced.

Why are these technical details important? Because from the time the baby is born until they turn 1, you can take advantage of the phases of an infant's brain development and introduce appropriate games to help cognitive development in your child. And what are they? Let's get to them in detail.

0-3 months

During this time, babies explore their surroundings through their eyes, ears, and their sense of smell. They can follow moving objects with their eyes, respond to sudden, loud noises, recognize people, and cry to draw attention.

Instead of focusing on infant games, the best thing to do at this time is to spend as much time as possible with the baby and help them familiarize themselves with the world around them. This includes helping them get used to new places, textures, colors, and faces. Here's how you can bond with your child in this phase.

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  • Talk — Indeed, your baby will neither understand nor be able to communicate with you at this stage. But you must keep talking with them as often as possible. This helps them develop language and listening skills. Babies love attention, so gradually you will notice your baby listening to you very carefully and even responding in their own way.
  • Be expressive — Smile a lot and make various facial expressions; your baby will be able to recognize and respond to your expressions.
  • Who's that? — Show your baby their reflection in the mirror and call out their name. Point to yourself and introduce yourself too. That way, your baby will be able to recognize themselves, respond when their name is called out, and recognize you.
  • Sing — Your baby begins to recognize your voice during this phase; sing or recite nursery rhymes for your baby. Hearing a familiar voice will comfort them.
  • Bring in the colors — Hang a rattle over their crib and let them reach out for it. They will try and reach out for it and even hold their head up. You can even hang objects with different shades to introduce them to new colors.
  • Introduce bath time fun — During bath time, you can play with bubbles and toys, and once your baby has dried up after a bath, you can introduce them to different textures by gently rubbing them with different kinds of fabrics.
  • Read out loud — Some of you may wonder if this is even necessary at this age, but reading right from the start and showing them pictures helps their cognitive development besides getting them familiar with words and voices.

3-6 Months

At the end of 3 months, babies begin to smile, fuss, and recognize new faces. At this stage, they gain better motor, emotional, and cognitive skills and even start responding to their name. They can reach out to things, pass on things from one hand to the other, and explore their surroundings more. Hence, this is the time to introduce other new infant games besides the ones they played as a newborn. These essentially become brain development games for your infant. Here are some examples:

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  • Introduce new textures — As your child starts reaching out to objects, help them learn and understand different textures — silk, wool, cotton, anything rough, and so on.
  • Bring in solid objects to play — Give them solid objects to play games with — small blocks are preferable, but make sure they are not too small because your baby can put them in the mouth and get choked. Let your kids hold the object, drop it, and pick it up. Frown when they drop it and smile when they pick it up. This helps them understand "cause and effect" in a very basic way. You'll be surprised by how they can understand and react to your response.
  • Get those interactive toys out — Interactive toys also work well at this stage. Try toys that play music at the press of a button or open and close when touched and so on. This helps to develop self-confidence in your baby. When they figure out the toys on their own, respond to your baby, appreciate them and celebrate their achievement.
  • Continue to read stories — Read out stories aloud and show pictures as you read them. You can also place them on their tummy for longer periods and encourage them to roll over. Make sure you have soft blankets and pillows on the other side so that your baby doesn't get hurt.
  • Help recognize faces of loved ones — Point to pictures of your relatives and help your baby recognize the faces of loved ones.
  • Go out for long walks — Take your baby outside for walks, preferably to nearby parks. Help them listen to sounds around them and get a good dose of Vitamin D too.

6-12 Months

By the time your baby is 9 months old, they will be able to turn their head in response to sounds, make more sounds, and be able to stand with support. Infant brain development is advanced at this stage, along with enhanced fine motor skills. By the time they are one, they start walking. At this stage, introduce brain teaser games to help cognitive skills develop more rapidly. Play games that help them say those first words. Educational games can be introduced at this stage too. Here's what you can try:

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  • Play hide and seek — Show an object to your baby and hide it immediately and then ask them, "Where is it?" When they point in the direction of the ball, appreciate them for their effort. This will also help them learn basic words. Another good game to try at this stage is peek-a-boo.
  • Teach new, bigger words — Keep introducing new objects and make them repeat them after you. It could be toys, household items, and even body parts. You can even use flashcards with pictures and ask your child to recognize objects shown on the cards.
  • Bring the noisy container; make a mess — Put some toys in a container and hand them over to your baby. Let them shake the container to hear the sound it makes or throw the contents on the floor, pick up and drop them. This helps cognitive development and helps with hand-eye coordination.
  • Teach stacking — Stacking is great for babies at this stage. You can stack books, containers, or even toys. This helps in the development of fine motor skills.
  • Read more — Continue to read more books and don't forget to put on some songs and groove along with your baby.

Play is very essential for children in their early years. Though it may not seem like much, a lot happens internally while children are engaged in games. Games, particularly brain development games for infants, help them:

  • Explore their surroundings.
  • Enhance fine motor and cognitive skills.
  • Make decisions.
  • Learn how things work.
  • Try new roles (for example, pretend play).

Games provide your children with opportunities and spaces to explore their surroundings, help them learn new words, and make connections, besides giving them time to try out new ideas. It's always good to show them what you're doing and let them ask questions.

For instance, when you have 2 pieces of blocks in both hands, show them how you join the pieces and tell them how two blocks join to become one. This is just an example. You can paint and show how two colors can be mixed to form a third color and so on. Get as creative as you can because children are attentive and they enjoy their playtime more when it is accompanied by little talks, questions, pictures, objects, sounds, and so on. Before you realize it, your child will be a year old and will start running around the house, playing more complex games.

80% of the child's brain develops before they turn 3 and this is the right time to awaken their unconscious potential.

Raising Superstars helps you cut through the maze to unlock your child's inherent potential in the early years. One of their courses, Prodigy Challenge, is specifically designed for babies within the age group of 3 months to 2 years. Focusing on the basic foundations for early development such as memory, movement and creating a base for future development, this 21-day course is a quick and easy way to see visible outcomes in your little one's overall well-being.

Whether you are a parent or a caregiver, all it takes is 5 minutes of your time every day to reshape your child into the best version of themselves. Join us to start early to nurture your child's mind and watch the magic unfold.

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