Page 37 - Alaska Parent Winter 2020 Digital
P. 37

Smart start
brain-building games to play with your baby
   Playing with your baby yields more than sweet smiles, squeals, and coos. According to researchers and child development experts, simple,
everyday games can boost your baby’s brain development, fostering growth in language, science, math, and organizational skills (called executive functions) along with social and emotional learning.
Babies at play are learning about themselves and their world, says Sarah
R. Lytle, Ph.D., director of outreach and education for the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS). “Babies are these natural scientists. They’re always playing games that are actually experiments. Every time a baby drops their spoon off their high chair, they’re figuring out their world and how it works.”
Here’s how to help your little scientist along with games that benefit cognitive development from birth through age 1.
Back and forth
Quality interactions with loving caregivers are vital
to cognitive development in general – things like responding to babies’ coos and cries, gazing into
their eyes, and making silly faces. “In a high-quality interaction, you want to see a true back-and-forth exchange between a parent and a baby. When the baby babbles, the parent responds like they’re having a conversation,” Sarah says.
Where’s the cup?
By 4 to 7 months old, babies begin developing object permanence, or the knowledge that something still exists even when it’s not visible. Simple games like moving a cup just out of sight and asking your baby “Where’s the cup?” help your baby toward this memory milestone.
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winter 2020/21 alaska parent 37
Story by Malia Jacobson

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