The foundation for learning starts from a very young age.
- The first point is to know that the child enjoys the activity.
- The second point is the activities should be age appropriate and the child should participate in doing this.
- Third child learns from adults whom they trust, these being the primary care givers as parents and may be grandparents.
- The activities should stimulate some or many of the sensory system.
Let us now learn few simple activities for young children from 4months to about a year of age.
Have you seen that young infants love to bang things, may be a spoon or a rattle or may be a wooden stick?
Give your baby a wooden spoon or a colorful stick to bang on different surfaces as floor, table. Make them bang two spoons or stick with one another.
Say "the sticks go bang bang , spoons go bang bang"
As the child repeats this on your request with a musical voice say "yeahhhh. Good job"
Have you noticed the children love to play with kitchen utensils, their favorite objects to play with are pots and pans, spoons . Use this opportunity to develop coordination skills by showing them to stir and to imitate you.
You can also pretend to drink from a cup saying " yumm yum ". Then hold the cup to baby’s mouth and repeat the same
Put the cup on the floor or table depending on where you are sitting see if the child repeats this and plays by herself
This is a time to start to build child’s communication and language skills.
Sit on the floor or on a chair with the child on the table have common toys like a ball ,doll and some blocks choose any of them and Say "ball" if you have picked the ball .
Similarly with other toys.
After a few attempts ask the child to pick the ball then the doll and block.
Play these several times changing order and encourage the child with joyful expression each time they get it right.
Color and movements are things a child enjoys as they start to walk you may do this also when a child is sitting on the floor.
Get some colored scarf’s, handkerchiefs or even some pieces of colored fabric as georgette , chiffon mal , and throw them in the air and say " catch ".
Throwing balloons and blowing bubbles are very exciting for kids.
Children like to be bounced and tickled at this age.
Tickling while changing diapers or gentle massage before bath are fun
Put the child on your legs and pretend to take a horse ride
Saying trot horse trot or go horse go tik tik tik
You can sing Chal mere ghode tik tik in hindi
Tenne marthale yearthe
Tengai ye parikathe
Maa marthale yerathe mangai ye parikathe.
Similarly in your native language you can make a rhyme
Infants and toddlers love to put and take out things from a container. Get a plastic bottle with a mouth big enough for babies to put and take out things.
Get a small ball or cloth clips, and help baby to put it in the container.. Take it out and ask baby to do it again. Create joyful expression of appreciation as child repeats this and can do it on its own.
You can stimulate touch sensation by giving different textured materials like wool, cotton balls, rough marble stones, and say soft, hard smooth etc.
Give them different papers as aluminum foil, news paper tissue paper to crumple. Ask them to drop this in a paper bag and do say some encouraging words as good job.
Teaching children to release objects is yet another important activity. Offer blocks to the child if he does not pick it up put it in his hand , another block in the other hand ,offer a third block see if the child throws one to take the third one do this several times,
Teach problem solving activities like stacking, putting rings, pulling along a toy.
Encourage the child to open the box to get her biscuit or other munches.
Finally build listening,vocabulary,imitation bonding by singing to children various action songs in your mother tongue and in the English if you want the child to be familiar with that language.
The first year of life is the time for maximum growth of the brain. Don’t loose the opportunity to lay a sound foundation for the coming years.