Infants spend most of their time crawling, touching and putting things in their mouths. These may seem cute and simple activities, but they have a great impact on an infant’s development.
Play to Learn
Reading and writing is for adults, while play is for infants and children. Play serves as a great venue for infants to practice and learn. Play allows them to explore the world and it opens the gates towards cognitive development. According to cognitive development theories, children undergo certain stages of brain development, and urging them get through these stages are objects or “toys” that stimulate mental functions.
The Right Toys
To assist infants towards a healthy development, the right objects or toys should be chosen. According to experts, toys that improve or stimulate a positive cognitive development are those that are “responsive”, age appropriate and those that provide feedback once manipulated. Toys must possess characteristics in accordance to the ones stated earlier. Here is a list of characteristics to help parents choose the toys deemed healthy for their child’s development:
- Must easily attract a child
- Easy for the child to handle
- Provides opportunity for exploration
- Provide opportunities for motor, sensory, social, cognitive and communication skills
- Encourage caregivers or parents to participate in the play.
- The characteristics of the toys are also important when it comes to child development. According to a fifteen-year study on infants and children, the following characteristics of toys contribute to infant development:
- The physical characteristics of the toys
- The toy parts and their relationship to one another
- Toys that can provide practice for emerging skills
- Toys that can stimulate self-discovery
- Toys that stimulate social interaction
- Toys that instigate formation of thought and understanding
- Toys that stimulate problem solving
- Use of tools
- Toys that enable achievement or mastery
- Toys that stimulate fantasy
Toys that match the infant’s age are also a crucial factor in their development. Toys must meet the needs of the infant in accordance to the characteristics exhibited by that particular age.
- 2 Months- toys that can be mouthed or held
- 3 months- toys for visual inspection
- 4 months- toys that can encourage touching
- 5 months- toys for shaking
- 6 months- toys for examining, pulling, rubbing, tearing, squeezing, and sliding
- 7 months- toys for pushing
- 8 months- toys for dropping
- 9 months- toys for throwing
- 10 months- toys that promote socialization
- 14 months- toys for showing
- 18 months- naming
Healthy Diet Tips for Infants
Accompanying play is a healthy and balanced diet for infants. Breast milk still remains the best source of nutrition for infants until the age two. Infant formula can be a good substitute, especially for moms on the go but it could never replace the benefits breast milk has. When it comes to infant formulas, parents are advised to choose a formula that is fortified with human proteins. This makes the formula closer to breast milk. However, the disadvantage of this type of formula is it can leave the infant with high levels of amino acids. This is because formula milk has almost 50% more protein that human milk. Experts speculate that this can cause an early release of insulin, although this hypothesis is yet to be tested.
This web page is for information and support only and NOT a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment! Nothing on this web page should be construed as medical advice. Please check with your own physician about any information that concerns you.