Play is integral to a child’s development.
It is through play, that infants begin to move, communicate, socialize, and understand their surroundings, all of which are crucial for interaction.
In their early days, your child is starting to use their senses to navigate the world.
As a child grows, they learn to use their bodies to make discoveries.
Furthermore, by using their eyes, ears, nose, hands, and mouth as their tools children become capable communicators.
So, why exactly is play so important during the first year, and what can you do to keep things fun and interesting for your child?
The Significance of Play
Between the ages of 0-6 months, the best toy you can provide your baby is yourself.
Young children adore looking at faces and hearing voices.
Initially, play helps your baby to develop physically through activities that build upper body and neck strength.
From then onwards, hand eye coordination and cognitive problem solving skills begin to emerge.
Whereas newborns learn to connect through touch, sound and sight, as your baby matures, they will begin to explore the world in new ways.
At our San Leandro Kids Konnect preschool, we provide a stimulating environment for children aged 4 months to 5 years.
Our play-based curriculum equips your child with the necessary skills they need to grow and develop, ensuring your little one gets the start in life they deserve.
Lessons Learned During Playtime
Play gives children lots of unique chances and opportunities to learn and encourages your child to deepen their understanding of their surroundings.
Similarly, play helps children to build their confidence, ensuring that they feel loved, happy and safe.
Let’s put this into context by taking a look at a typical example of play between a parent or caregiver and a 4-month-old child.
In a simple play based activity, such as shaking a rattle, a 4-month-old child can learn a variety of life lessons.
By listening to someone talk about a toy, a child begins to recognize the sounds of words and the rhythms of language.
Early communication also blossoms here, through back and forth ‘conversation’.
Talking, smiling, and interacting with an infant is incredibly beneficial.
As soon as your child starts to coo back when you speak, you can begin taking turns ‘talking’ to each other.
Additionally, these interactions teach a child about their own self worth by providing an opportunity to see the pleasure a parent or caregiver gets in return.
Whereas an understanding of cause and effect typically begins to form around the 9 month stage, introducing a child to this principle through play is vital.
By showing a child that shaking a rattle creates a noise, they are likely to imitate the action and develop hand eye coordination skills by reaching out to grab the toy and claim it as their own.
Toys teach infants to recognize different, colors, textures, smells, and tastes, as well as likes and dislikes, and are therefore instrumental to play.
Play Inspiration for 4-Month-Old Children
With all this in mind, let’s discover 4 quick and easy play activities that are perfect for a 4-month-old child.
1. Back and Forth
Cooing and talking to an infant by imitating their sounds and waiting for their response encourages them to copy you.
Try to show your child how to push buttons on interactive toys and demonstrate how to turn the pages of a book.
This childhood staple is loved by children all over the world and can kick start social development.
Hiding behind your hands prompts your child to watch closely, smile, kick, and make sounds to ‘find you’.
3. Musical Magic
Introducing your child to music exposes them to a wide variety of sounds.
Play a few different types of songs and see which ones your 4-month-old likes best.
4. Basic Ball Skills
Giving a child a ball can lead to them activating all 5 senses.
Through experimenting with different pressures, over time, children learn how to control the ball and make it roll which is a useful skill that can be applied to other toys.
Play Enhances Child Development
Ultimately, whereas all children learn to explore the world at their own pace, play can enrich the development of skills in all necessary developmental areas.
What have you found useful where interacting with your baby through play is concerned?
Let us know in the comments below.
For more exciting Kids Konnect content, check out our last blog post to learn about the importance of breakfast in a child’s morning routine.