When your precious child is born, they become the apple of your eye. As a loving parent, you’re given the opportunity to care for your baby and help with their development. There are several cognitive activities for infants that will contribute to your baby developing the ability to think, understand and communicate.
These various activities can have a positive effect on your infant’s cognitive development which is foundational in future growth. In the same way, these activities act as building blocks for your infant to reach various milestones before progressing onto a VPK program or preschool.
Cognitive Development Milestones In Infants
Each child is unique and will develop at their own pace. However, there are a few general milestones in cognitive development that are considered reasonable benchmarks.
At 3-6 months, your baby will start to make basic sounds and pay attention to you when you talk. They may also try to respond in their own way. At this age, infants are able to recognize their reflection in mirrors and will begin exploring in tactile ways by grabbing items and putting them in their mouths.
At 6-9 months your infant may start to form basic, random words such as ‘mama’ and recognize their own name. They may also begin exploring sounds by imitating syllables. Infants at this age also begin holding their own bottles and feeding themselves with their hands.
From 9-12 months, basic words start to be used intentionally and not at random, and basic commands will carry meaning. Infants also start developing a bit of character during this age and may begin making silly faces and enjoying familiar stories and games.
Great Cognitive Activities For Infants
There are several activities that can help with cognitive development in infants, with each activity being suited for these milestones.
Babies 3 – 6 Months
Babies that are only 3 – 6 months old will start responding to certain stimulation, making their cognitive development apparent. There are a few activities that you can enjoy with your baby to help further this development.
- Make an effort to talk to your child and make eye contact when doing so
- Explore repetitive literature with your child by reading to them, reciting nursery rhymes, and singing songs
- Use a ball to teach your child how items move by holding, dropping, and rolling the balls
- Venture outdoors with your little one and point out details such as the sounds of birds
- Scatter toys around your baby to encourage movement
Infants 6 – 9 Months
Interactive activities for infants that are 6 – 9 months old are useful in teaching babies about their senses. Here are a few great activities to let your little one explore.
- Give your infant a bell, rattle, or drum to play and discover various sounds
- Use a sensory baby quilt for your child to explore different textures
- Fill a box with objects made from various materials and let them discover the contents
- Play a game of cause-and-effect such as filling a container with water and then emptying it
- Hide items in places and guide your infant to finding them, such as a block under a blanket. This will stimulate your infant’s memory of an object
Infants 9 – 12 Months
The age between 9 and 12 months is an exciting one as your baby starts to give an idea of what sort of personality they will have in the future. This makes cognitive activities with your infant all the more enjoyable. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Fill the bath with toys and encourage your child to dunk, measure, float, and pour water (you can also re-purpose plastic containers)
- Introduce stacking blocks to playtime and help your baby put them together and push them to the floor
- Use different voices for different characters when reading with your child. You can also make the sounds of different animals
- Praise your child when they do something good
- Play music and encourage dancing and movement
The Next Step In Cognitive Development
These activities are just a few fun and entertaining tasks to enjoy as a family. Make sure that you also give your infant the space to explore on their own and watch as they build in confidence.
At Parkland Children’s Academy, we encourage a family-orientated approach to infant development. Our daycare and preschool are dedicated to laying firm foundations in each activity.
Our after-school care programs are focused on further improving these developmental milestones, improving social skills, and building confidence. Contact us at 954-688-5877 to find out more.