15 Great Activities to Jump Start Learning For Your Child

15 Great Activities to Jump Start Learning For Your Child

Babies start learning about their surroundings from the moment they’re born. During pregnancy, they’ve come to recognize your voice and pretty soon, developmental milestones will start to occur. While larger milestones like walking and talking are extremely exciting, they’re not the only things you should watch out for. Your baby will slowly begin to learn about their environment, and you’ll notice a thriving personality evolving. Start young and continue to choose beneficial activities that will encourage, motivate, and support your child. For a strong foundation, here are 15 great activities to jump start learning.

Learning as a Newborn

As mentioned, learning begins well before you can communicate with your child. To make sure that you’re supporting healthy brain development alongside strong social, emotional, physical and cognitive development, start early with the following activities.

  1. Increase Eye Contact and Exposure

    Eye contact helps your baby bond and encourages confidence during development. It’s a subtle, easy way to help teach your baby the importance of social relationships, so try to maintain eye contact as often as possible throughout your day. You’ll also want to start taking your newborn outside for errands or walks around the neighborhood. Seeing new people and experiencing new places helps your newborn learn about the world from an early age. 

  2. Play Games That Engage Fine Motor Skills

    Fine motor skills are essential to reach, grasp, hold objects, and manipulate your hands. During the newborn phase, fine motor skills are strengthening and need to be exercised. Play reaching games, sing clapping songs, and introduce some toys that require grasping activities into your daily routines. Most of these activities simply involve placing toys within reach so your baby can reach out, grasp them, and pull them back into range. Always use baby-safe toys to avoid choking hazards.

  3. Prioritize Tummy Time

    Tummy time is arguably one of the best activities for gross motor skill development. It helps to strengthen your babies large muscle groups and prepare them for crawling, sitting, and eventually walking. Start with a few minutes each day and gradually increase the length of time. Use captivating toys during tummy time to help keep your baby stimulated and interested. 

  4. Talk to Your Baby

    Talking to your baby is one of the best ways to get them acclimated to what’s going on around them. Dictate your day and tell your newborn about everything you’re doing. Imitate sounds he or she is making to encourage them to mimic you and try playing follow the voice. This helps your baby pay attention to you and use different areas of the brain to focus on where your voice is coming from.

  5. Encourage Sensory Development

    There are hundreds of toys available to strengthen sensory development or you can get creative with objects around the house. Introduce your newborn to different textures, smells, sounds, and anything else that engages the five senses. As your baby gets older, continue to incorporate sensory play ideas into your routine. 

    By encouraging development in your 0-3-month-old newborn, you’ll create a strong foundation for future learning. Remember, newborns learn best by engaging in a lot of stimulating activities and environments, so play time is essential.

    Learning as an Infant

    While newborn learning is focused on essential mental and physical developments, infant learning is where it starts to get fun. Your baby is an infant from about 3 months until one year. You’ll start to see your infant understanding emotions like love, concern, anxiety, and even anger—he or she will even begin to respond.

  6. Respond to Your Infant

    While you’ve probably been talking to your baby since you realized you were pregnant, make sure that you begin responding to your infant as they start making their own noises and baby talk. While you likely won’t be able to discern what they’re saying until they can actually speak, responding to your infant helps boost brain development and encourage learning. It also acts as a good foundation for social development later on.

  7. Practice Simple Requests

    At around 8 to 12 months, your baby begins to understand simple requests. At this time, he or she might also begin to test your responses to behavior. This isn’t an act of rebellion—it’s a way of understanding how the world works in relation to themselves. Practice simple requests with your infant to encourage learning and start pairing gestures with your words. Wave hello and goodbye to friends and family, shake your head for no, and nod for yes.

  8. Encourage Crawling

    Crawling is a great way for babies to strengthen their learning experience. It allows them to explore otherwise unchartered territory on their own. While babies begin to crawl at different ages, most will master it before they turn one. Sit at the opposite side of a room and encourage your baby to crawl to you. When they realize their control in movement, they’ll start exploring, which stimulates environmental learning. While crawling is a major milestone, it also means that you’ll need to be extra careful and keep a watchful eye on your baby

  9. Introduce Problem-Solving Toys

    As your infant nears their first birthday, they begin to develop problem-solving techniques and continuee testing actions with reactions. Play peek-a-boo, use different objects around the house for some hide-and-seek, provide simple puzzles, blocks, and toys for your infant to manipulate, and introduce new objects regularly.

  10. Prioritize Bedtime Stories and Reading

    Reading is one of the best ways to encourage learning in your baby and has benefits that will continue the rest of their life. When young children develop an interest in reading, it can help foster an interest in the act of learning itself. Don’t skip out on bedtime stories. Have your infant help you pick out books, especially ones with bright pictures, textures, or sounds, and read them regularly. Have story time throughout the day and before bed to help them gradually learn how to process concepts and formal communication.

    Learning as a Toddler

    As your infant transitions into toddlerhood, they’ll begin to emerge as their own person and show an interest in learning more about the world. Be ready to answer a lot of questions that involve your toddler asking, “why?” To help encourage learning as a toddler, incorporate the following activities into their daily routine.

  11. Introduce Game-Based Learning

    Toddlers love playing games, so make the most out of it by utilizing a plethora of game-based learning activities. When you use games for education, you show your toddler that learning is fun, which can help set you up for success in later years. Game-based learning also increases analytical thinking and logical reasoning, two essential aspects to successful aging.

  12. Limit Screen Time

    Screen time can have a devastating effect on your child’s social, mental, and physical development. While there are some great programs for kids, they should be used minimally and only as a supplement for learning. By controlling the amount of screen time your toddler gets, it prepares them for an active, healthy lifestyles in the future and allows for a more well-rounded approach to development. Talk to your babysitter, friends, and family about your toddler’s screen limits and be consistent.

  13. Prepare for Kindergarten

    While kindergarten is an exciting time for both children and parents, it can be overwhelming. Prepare your toddler for structured learning by playing similar games and learning activities at home. When you start early, you’ll give them the tools they need to succeed. Here are some great learning activities that support your toddler’s development and prepares them for higher learning. Just make sure that there is always adult supervision with these games and activities as toddlers still lack a lot of fundamental common sense. 

  14. Arts and Crafts

    Arts and crafts are fun for everyone. By manipulating different materials and making something out of nothing, you’ll help teach your child about the different senses and the process of creativity. Make sure that you practice age-appropriate arts and crafts and always supervise your toddler throughout the activities.

  15. Get Organized

Many adults struggle with organization, which is why introducing it at an early age is so important. By teaching your child about organization skills as a toddler, you’ll help them build and strengthen important skills that will carry into adulthood. Turn toddler organization into a game by asking questions, using guesswork, and singing songs. By instilling strong organizational habits, you’re also strengthening your toddler’s sense of responsibility and helping. 

Throughout the transition from newborn to infant to toddler, you’ll begin noticing more unique aspects of your child. This is an exciting time, and you can help your baby get the most out of life by engaging in activities that jump start learning. Continue play time to help strengthen your baby’s physical, emotional, and social development. To help your transition into parenthood, make sure that you’ve gotten your insurance-covered breast pump and fully understand how to work it. If you have any questions, feel free to contact a representative from Byram Healthcare today.