Babies are visual, physical, verbal beings and they have to be stimulated by their environment. By putting colorful toys in front of them their visual and physical requirements are met and they reply with joy and take the toy with amusement. If you use a picture book about shapes or you recite the words in the book or sing the ABCs their visual, verbal, and physical requirements are met because they are moving, learning English or any other language, looking at the shapes, grasping the object clapping their hands in excitement because they are having fun.
When babies are having fun you as their caregiver are having fun because you are interacting, teaching, and reflecting on your own experiences or if your parents never did this for you, you feel even more apt to move your child’s learning in a great direction. When the babies are occupied it frees you up to clean the house, check emails, make a phone call etc., it may seem like you are not paying attention to your child however letting them be free to play enables independence and imagination because they create their own worlds and ways of doing things.
Playing allows for creativity, cognition and better hand and eye coordination. With creativity they can twist their perception around, upside down and they learn how to comprehend things in their own way. For cognition they remember with repetitiveness and are able to articulate with sound, utterances, hearing effectively and signaling to you that they understand and comprehend what is in front of them.
With hand and eye coordination they are able to grasp objects and learn through sight what an object or thing is, and will be more inclined to play with the object. My daughter has an electronic keyboard with keys of lullabies and instrument buttons where she presses and creates her own music and she loves it because it is a visual toy and she is able to be creative and never gets bored, which brings satisfaction to me because music is introduced and who doesn’t love music. She is able to bypass the lullabies with hand and eye coordination and would rather listen to her own beat, I think this toy hits all the areas of Cognitive development and fulfills independence and mostly creativity. Playing emphasizes continual learning and reinforcing brain activity with constant stimulation. It also tires them out and they are able to take naps which leaves time for the parent to take a break.
Playing with babies keeps you young by putting a smile on your face, it allows you to think back and reflect on your own childhood and how your creativity knew no bounds. It might spark something in you and get you out of the monotony of life and just for a while to have the heart of a child. Seeing a child learn something new every day allows them to compound knowledge and over time they will pick up things unknowingly like background sounds, things not caught in everyday life. To illustrate, my daughter watches a popular cartoon DVD every other day and she picks up grunts, background music, and can utter lines from the characters. I look at her in amazement because it is something I do unknowingly and a part of the way I learn is in her.
I think having children and you interacting with them is a full circle because you are passing on knowledge and instilling in them a desire to learn and perceive their world better than what it is. I think parents need to foster and nurture creativity in playing because it sets their child apart from the next, and they’ll one day be great human beings and do great things. Playing is essential in a child’s life because it’s their way of understanding their world without words. They are discovering their senses and using their new found abilities to explore through touch, sight, hearing, and in their own language.
There is so much of the world that I as an adult cannot fully comprehend and at times learning can be quite daunting, but when it’s a child, they embrace learning and they do not get overwhelmed by the vastness and we should look at learning the same, way with their eyes and be totally enveloped in it. We should look at learning like a telescope – we haven’t reached the pinnacle and it all starts with play.
Babies play for amusement, learning something new, for their cognitive development, and exploring their world through their senses. It is also a way to build relationships and interactions with other children. It is important that babies play together like a Play Date because it fosters sharing of similar contact instead of the primary caregiver. It expands their surroundings and creates a building block to making their first day of school not so painful, everything a baby does paints a picture for the parent into how the child will be when the caregiver is not there and the more the child plays through learning and interacting with others the better the student, and citizen in society.
Playing never stops. As an adult it might turn into a sport but as humans we never stop playing. It is essential in life to be active and to use our minds to create our own physical, visual, and verbal worlds.