PLAY AS A FUNCTION OF BABY’S LEARNING
Play is your child’s most important aid to learning. It helps to stimulate physical, intellectual and social development.
1) It helps to stimulate physical, intellectual and social development.
2) It encourages your child’s capacity to observe and concentrate.
3) It provides an opportunity for self-expression and creativity.
4) It helps baby and child to practice newfound skills.
A variety of Toys is bought for your baby or child at different ages of development. Also some household items can also be turning or turned into play items for example spoons, plastic bowls, and saucepans, they can be used to play and create musical sounds for baby’s learning.
When the hand-to-eye co-ordination is being perfected, your child will enjoy playing with a supply of wooden bricks, boxes and tin containers, your child will pack them in and out of the containers and learn to know different shapes, colour, sizes, sounds and textures of items.
The most important consideration is that every thing your child is given to play with must be absolutely safe. The toy or play things your baby has must:
(1) It must have no sharp edges.
(2) No detachable parts – small enough to fit in baby’s mouth and it must not be small enough to fit in babies mouth, nose or ears.
(3) Always make sure that all toys you buy, whether new or second-hand, comply with toy safety standards. E.g. “The Lion Mark or other safety standards mark. eg. “BS” or “CE”.
(4) Toys of the older children in the family should also be baby safe or kept safe from the younger babies or children.
CHOOSING TOYS FOR YOUR BABY OR CHILD
Always buy a Toy that is appropriate and beneficial for your child’s age or stage of development and personality. If it is too advanced this will cause frustration, which one that is too simple will quickly lead to boredom. Toys tend to be expensive, so try to find adaptable toys, which can be used in a variety of ways e.g.
(1) Toys that help baby to learn about sound and touch.
(2) Buy toys that will help baby and child develop new skills and imagination.
(3) Try to invest in qualitative, educative and interesting toys that can be passed down to other children later in life, or buy a cheap one that your money can buy but make sure that it is safe.
FROM BIRTH TO THREE MONTH OLD BABIES
Your baby can appreciate light, shade and colour and can follow moving objects with a limited visual range. There are colourful “MOBILES” which move in response to air currents and catch the light. (You can make these yourself from cut out shapes or figures, light weight ribbons decorative streamers or strips of foil).
As baby is growing wrist rattles, and musical toys will provide interest and stimulation. Squeaky toys are also popular. Noise that is too loud can cause a startling and unpleasant effect on baby’s ear.
THREE TO SIX MONTH OLD BABIES
From 3-6 months baby is becoming increasingly alert and is beginning to achieve better control over movement. Object in line of vision hold the attention for longer periods and baby will reach out to grasp them.
By FIVE MONTHS baby can grasp objects with both hands and explore with mouth, by this baby learns about shapes, sizes, tastes & textures, example of recommended toys for this stage.
1) Soft balls, foam bricks, light weight rattles with a range of sounds, colourful teething rings, small balls with holes or grips which have an internal squeak or a bell mechanism cuddly toys of different textures which will withstand chewing and pram beads.
2) Toy should be safe to suck and chew that means that, they should be strongly constructed and light weight to hold. Baby will, wave, or bang the toy in many ways and sometimes can hit the baby on the head or face. This might hurt baby or break toy.
SIX – TWELVE MONTH OLDS
From 6 – 12 months toys should encourage the increasing range of movements that baby is developing such as squirming and crawling on the floor. Mobile toy will encourage baby to move, crawl and even stand up. Their visual concentration is also increasing and your baby will now look for toys which have fallen to the floor, baby will, grasp, pick up, gaze with interest and pass them from hand to hand.
Suitable toys include push-and-pull toys. These will help your child to stand up, balance and your child starts to walk. Sorting toys activity centers cardboard boxes, stacking rugs chatter telephones to encourage imitation and communication, wood bricks, interlocking toys saucepans and wooden spoons.
AT 12 MONTHS OLD
At 12 months baby will encourage to enjoy deliberately dropping toys so that you can pick them up, bang bricks together pull along a string toy and may have started to walk. Picture books with familiar objects. Allow child to point at these and call out the names of these objects for child to become familiar.
CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
If your child has a minor developmental problem or a more severe mental or physical handicap, toys and equipment need to be chosen carefully to match the ability of the child, and provide stimulation at the appropriate level. Your best approach is to seek specialist advice. Some shops have sections for toys for handicapped children with different abilities. Please teach your child or children to play safe at all times.