(Ages 8 weeks - 12 months)
Babies are not idle. From, the beginning, an infant learns about his or her environment by responding to faces, voices, and other stimuli. The infant also produces sounds and movements, which develop into language skills and sensor motor skills.
As an infant becomes a toddler, he or she becomes more active. Meanwhile, the child’s skills continue to develop.
One of the most important ways in which infants and toddlers can learn and develop is through play activities. These activities can help a child to develop physical, intellectual, and social skills. Therefore, as a caregiver, we will provide a variety of activities for even the youngest children in our care to help them achieve maximum development. With this in mind we have included appropriate activities into our infant program.
Our goals for the infants must consider the following information about infants.
The World As A Worthwhile Place
From the moment of birth, an infant interacts with his or her environment and with other people. If loving adults who provide consistently positive responses care for the infant, the infant will begin to view the world as a worthwhile place.
If infants and toddlers consider the world worthwhile, they will want to learn more about it. Their natural curiosity will prompt them to become more active, thereby learning more.
The Need To Explore
As a caregiver, we recognize the natural curiosity of infants and toddlers and expand on it. We will introduce each child to a variety of situations, objects, and activities. New experiences keep young children interested in exploring the environment. We will provide a variety of activities that will spark the joy of discovery of love and of learning through the infant stage.
The Five Senses
Infants learn much through the use of sight, touch, smell, taste, and hearing. A child often uses all five senses to explore an object. For Example: if you give an infant a bright red ball, he or she may feel it, look at it, shake it to find out whether it makes noise, or taste it.
For young children to achieve maximum growth and development, they must develop a sense of self-worth. Positive interactions with caring adults will increase babies and toddlers’ self-confidence.
The teachers will encourage each child to develop their skills and praise successes, no matter how small. When they do not succeed, praise their efforts. As children’s skills develop, so will their self-confidence and independence.
The Need For Quiet Time
Although it is important to stimulate infants, we do not keep them busy all the time. Like all of us, an infant needs quiet time to suck a thumb or take a nap. As babies become older, they need to think – time to develop their own ideas about the world.
Each Child As An Individual
No set of activities is right for every child. The caregiver will determine which activities are suited to each child. Every child is a unique individual with a distinctive personality, temperament, and learning speed. Activities will be adapted to the child’s needs.
Types Of Activities
The activities for infants and toddlers presented in the following pages have been grouped under these categories as well as suggestions to help stimulate your child in your daily interactions
Sensor motor Activities
Naturally, some activities may fall into more than one category. Also, some
Activities for newborn infants may be suitable for older infants and toddlers.
A child’s learning is continuous, and each new skill is built upon previously learned skills. As the child’s skills develop, we may alter familiar activities to suit new learning levels. No child is forced to participate in any activity.
Language Activities For Infants
Talking to the baby at every opportunity
Babies use vocal sounds to communicate
When a baby responds with sounds, imitate them.
Use imitation as a game that the baby will enjoy.
Through imitation, the infant will become aware of sounds.
Imitation should not be confused with “baby talk”.
Once an infant’s sounds begin to resemble words, say the words correctly. Use the words in simple sentences.
Referring to the baby’s name frequently – “How is John today?” “Here is John’s bottle.” “See John’s tummy.”
Pointing out familiar objects. Always using the same word for an object. Saying the word slowly and precisely.
When you interact with a baby, describe actions in words. “Now we are walking down the steps.” “Now it is time change John’ s diaper.”
Holding a baby on your lap and have him or her look at pictures in books. Describe the pictures. Point to various objects and name them. Asking the baby to point to the objects.
When the baby is sitting or standing comfortably, play a game called “So Big”. To do this say “How big is John? Soo big,” as you stretch his or her arms over their head. Soon, the baby will automatically raise his arms in response to “How big is John?”
As babies grow older, they can look at books themselves. Catalogues and old magazines can provide a baby with much enjoyment. Ask the baby to point out and name objects, repeat sounds and words.
Babies fingers and toes fascinate them. This fascination can lead to all kinds of finger and toe games – for example: “Ten Little Indians” and “This Little Piggy Went To The Market”.
Counting baby’s fingers and toes. Pointing and naming other features – for example “Here Is John’s Nose”
Stand before a mirror, and show the baby his or her nose, eyes, ears, etc.
As a baby’s understanding increases, he or she can learn to follow simple directions, such as “Wave bye-bye” or “Give Me The Ball”. However, this requires repetition.
Sensor motor Activities For Infants
Touch a baby gently and warmly. Allow the baby to touch you and feel your face
Rest time, when a baby is lying down, is a good time for exercise. Grasp a baby’s hands, and pull them gently so that the child comes to a sitting position. Eventually, the baby will automatically sit up when you hold his or her hands. Other experiences including moving the baby’s legs in a bicycle-like motion and clapping his or her hands.
Hold a bright object 8 to 10 inches away from the baby’s face. When the infant focuses on the object, move it slowly as the infant’s eyes follow it.
A child between the ages of three months and three years will enjoy playing the “catch finger” game. Hold your forefinger extended so that the infant or toddler can try to catch it before you snap it down.
Provide babies with toys that are easy to hold for example: a small, doughnut-shaped rattle. Varying the textures, shapes, materials, and sounds of the toys and objects.
Provide infants with a variety of things to look at by hanging pictures or toys on the wall, or mobiles for the room. Mobiles can be bought or made from everyday items. Colorful of shiny items can be hung using ribbons, thread or string.
Stimulating baby’s hearing by shaking a rattle about 12 inches from his or her ear. Repeat this with the baby’s other ear. Crumple a piece of paper, and let the baby hear the sound.
Provide a “busy box” for the baby to explore.
Give the baby a plastic jar with a top to unscrew. This is fun for babies to try and replace the top.
Various balls of aluminum, rubber, foam, etc. are fascinating to look at and touch.
Art Activities For Infants
Spread newspapers under any art materials that might be messy.
Water play with sponges, cups, and squirt bottles. Provide flat-sided jumbo crayons and paper and let the baby draw and scribble. Encourage the baby’s efforts, and display the created “art”.
Give the baby felt-tipped markers (no caps) and plenty of paper. Grocery bags, pieces of cardboard, wrapping paper and newsprint can be used. Use water based, broad-tipped markers.
Finger paint with pudding or colored cool whip to provide visual, tactile and tasty fun.
Importance Of Self-Expression
Opportunities for self-expression and creativity are important for the development of infants. Creative activities are also fun.
As in all activities, children’s attempts at self-expression should be encouraged and praised. Display their creations, and ask the children to tell you about them.
At times, you will have to demonstrate the proper use of materials. This will not stifle creativity. Instead, it will make the experience more pleasurable for all.
Music Activities For Infants
Sing to a baby- either a song you already know or one you make up as you go along. Help the baby clap to the rhythm of the song.
Play a music box, CD, or tapes. Hold the baby in your arms and dance. The baby will enjoy moving with you to the rhythm of the song.
Music: A Lifetime Love
Musical activities provide a wonderful release for a young child’s energy and emotions. Such experiences give creativity and a love of music that can last a lifetime.
Dramatic-Play Activities For Infants
Play peek-a-boo with an infant
Encourage babies to pretend by giving them old pocketbooks, sets of keys, and a comb. Babies will imitate what they have seen adults do with these items.
Show a baby his or her reflection in a mirror. Place various hats on the baby’s head.
Give a baby a toy phone. Show him or her how to dial. The baby will imitate the adults he or she has seen using the phone.
At The Wooden Shoe your child’s comfort is our main concern!!!
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