Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Learning with Play

Here is a quick and easy activity you can do with your toddler to show them how household goods are used as you play!

1. Select several objects such as a toothbrush, a spoon, or a cup that your toddler is familiar with and uses on a regular basis.
2. Sit on the floor and put the objects in front of you.
3. Pick up one object, such as the toothbrush, and pretend to brush your teeth.
4, Pick up each object and pretend to use it.
5. Ask your toddler to pick up one of the objects and show you how he would use it.
6. This is a great game to develop your toddler’s thinking skills and help him imagine other things to do with the same object, such as using a cup to drink from and for pouring.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Clap Your Hands!

Here is a simple activity to try with your infant or toddler as they learn about the speed and rhythm of music!

Sing this familiar song very slowly to the tune of "Row, Row, Your Boat.”
Clap, clap, clap your hands
Slowly every day.
(clap your hands slowly)
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, (keep clapping)
Then we shout, "Hooray." (Jump up and down and shout "hooray" slowly…..”hoooo ray”)

Sing again faster.
Clap, clap, clap your hands
Faster every day.
(clap your hands faster)
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Then we shout, "Hooray."

1. Sing this song with different actions. Always do the actions slowly at first, then speed them up. When children do fast and slow actions, they begin to internalize the concepts.
2. Other actions to try are: roll your hands, shake your hands, wave your hands, stamp your feet, and shake your hips.
3. Before a child can process language, he can process music. Early music experiences increase and enhance spatial-temporal reasoning and the learning of mathematical concepts.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Infants are Hardwired for Language!

In an article from Psychology Today, titled "Infant Brains Are Hardwired for Language", author Faith Brynie states:

Brain activity in the left hemisphere language centers can be detected in infants as young as five days. Behavioral experiments have demonstrated that days- or weeks-old infants can distinguish the "melody" of their native language from the pitches and rhythms of other languages. They can assess the number of syllables in a word and perceive a change in speech sounds (such as ba versus ga), even when they hear different speakers.

Here is a game to develop this wiring.

Talking Together
1. Infants make lots of sounds. Mimic the sounds that your baby makes. These sounds will later turn into words.
2. Take the words such as “ba ba” or “ma ma,” and turn them into sentences. “Ma ma loves you.” “Ba ba says the sheep.”
3. The more you repeat the baby’s sounds, the more she will be encouraged to make more sounds.
5. This is truly the beginning of a conversation between the two of you.

Connect With Conversation
1. Start a conversation with your baby. Say a short sentence like, “It is a beautiful day today.”
2. When your baby responds with some babble, stop talking and look into his eyes.
3. As your baby talks, respond with a nod of your head or a smile.
4. This indicates to your baby that you are listening to and enjoying his sounds.
5. Continue with another sentence. Always stop and listen to your baby’s response.
6. The number of words an infant hears each day dramatically influences his or her future intelligence, and scholastic achievements.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Develop and Stimulate Sight!

Neurons for vision begin forming the first few months of life. Activities that stimulate a baby’s sight will insure good visual acuity.

Pretty Light
When infants look at moving objects, a neuron from his retina makes a connection to another neuron in his visual part of the brain. He is literally wiring his vision.
1. Cover a flashlight with colored plastic wrap.
2. Hold your baby in your arms and turn on the flashlight.
3. Move it back and forth and watch as he follows the light.
4. Talk to him as you move the light
Pretty light
Pretty light
See the pretty, pretty, light.
5. Babies love to do this and they are making important connections in the brain.

Follow the Action
1. Babies love to look at faces, especially faces of people they love.
2. Try different facial expressions and sounds to develop your baby’s vision and hearing.
3. Here are some ideas:
Sing a song and use big movements with your mouth.
Blink your eyes.
Stick out your tongue.
Make contortions with your mouth.
Make lip sounds.
Cough or yawn.