Learning by Play

Even on the day babies are born, they are alert and listening. They soak up their environment. By the time they are 6 weeks old, babies smile, quieten down when they hear a familiar voice, and they turn their head towards the light.

Babies learn and develop when their senses are stimulated- what they see, hear, touch, feel, smell and taste- are helping them to grow mentally. Playing, singing and talking with your baby are important aids to learning. These aids help their social and physical development as well as mental growth.

From about the age of 3 months your baby will begin to enjoy games. Playing games such as "peek-a-boo", "round the garden" and "this little piggy" will be fun for both of you. Water play is also lots of fun, so make sure you have plenty of suitable toys for the bath, which can be purchased by Baby Company.

From an early age babies can enjoy toys that stimulate their senses. Brightly coloured pictures, mirrors, mobiles and rattles can be placed around the babycot. Once babies can pick things up, they practise their hand skills by playing with plastic and rubber toys, which are good for grasping and squeezing.

Babies and children learn by copying, so it is important to show a good example. Try to combine tasks such as putting toys away with humour, so your baby can join in and you both can make a game out of putting the toys in a storage box, for example. Play helps children to learn and develop, but most of all, it should be fun for you, the baby and the rest of the family.