Learning Through Play as Infants

It might not be the first time you hear that "play is the primary occupation of children" because it really is the work of children. Play is the source of their learning and growth in the early years, and this can start as young as birth. Little babies can play!

You may wonder, what does play look like in Infancy?

As babies, everything is a new experience and like every new experience, they want to explore and learn about it more. In a baby’s world, playing is when they explore and use their senses: eye, ears, nose, hands and mouths. 

  • A little one hears mom's voice singing a lullaby. That sound might seem familiar from the time she was in the womb. It's very soothing, it makes her feel good so she might calm down.
  • He see mom's face, recognizes a smile and smiles in return. He's communicating that he understands her and responds to those positive feelings.
  • There's a smell of milk or the scent of a room. she senses something familiar with where she is and forms a comforted memory associated with it. 
  • Little hands appear in his line of vision when he moves his arms. It's quite exciting to realize there are parts of me that can reach out to feel and touch things. 
  • I have something in my hands, if I bring it closer to my mouth it feels different. There are different textures and tastes! 
Infant's skills
Things they're learning How can mom and dad help?






Reaching and grasping

Building eye-hand coordination. 

Understanding cause and effect

Communicating with facial expressions, sounds and gestures

Showing and telling what they're thinking and feeling

Offer a finger or colorful toys to reach and hold

Play peek-a-boo

"Talk" and coo to your baby

Imitate their sounds and wait for a response

Offer baby-safe objects and allow them to explore the objects

So many things can be going on in the minds of our babies. If we pay close attention, you can see how much they can learn about their environment this way. 

These activities may seem very simple, but it is in these simple interactions that they have the most enjoyment at that age. The younger babies would probably prefer back and forth "talks" with mom and dad. They might even be perfectly content with you making funny faces or funny sounds with them. Parents can make these play times special by providing a nurturing, supportive and responsive adult to take part in their learning process.


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