Playtime has countless cognitive benefits for baby.

Ways to Stimulate Infant Curiosity for Cognitive Development

by Melissa Willets

Babies are naturally curious. Their little minds are working all the time; just imagine if everything was new to you each day! As a parent, there are many things you can do to stimulate your child's cognitive growth. From getting your tyke dressed in the morning to meal times and from playtime to simple, quiet moments during the day, you can create opportunities for learning to help your infant grow.

1. Toys and Books

Stock up on age-appropriate toys and books. According to KidsHealth.org, an infant's curiosity will be piqued by colorful playthings and stories that encourage him to engage. Keep in mind that even a newborn benefits from playtime. As KidsHealth.org notes, a new baby begins to learn about the world around him through the sounds, textures and colors of his toys. Let baby feel the teddy bear, work on grasping the bright blocks and listen to you read a book. By making story time a regular part of your routine, you are encouraging your baby to utter his first words. At first you'll just hear repetitive sounds, but before long, your little one's babbling will become intelligible speech.

2. Everyday Routines

From the grocery store to the bath, everyday routines with baby present opportunities for learning. KidsHealth.org notes that a common household object presents a new experience for baby. A mixing bowl, for example, can be a drum, a hat or a storage container for small toys. Be sure to help your curious child learn about the world around him as you go through the day. At the market, hold up an orange, tell him the fruit's name and color and allow him to touch it. In the bath, teach your munchkin about his body parts and blow bubbles at him.

3. Movement

When your baby becomes mobile, his world expands and suddenly he's able to crawl to a toy or roll over to obtain a different viewpoint. KidsHealth.org encourages parents to provide opportunities for cognitive growth through movement each day. At home, place your tot on a play mat where he can view colorful toys and work to grasp them. Roll a ball to your seated baby and work on teaching him how to pass it back. Or, as the reputable parenting site recommends, put a desirable toy out of his reach so he has to try to crawl to it. Outside of the house, consider enrolling your tyke in a baby gym class where he can start to explore more about the world around him.

4. Music and Talking

A simple song encourages skills like memorization while soothing your sweetie, according to KidsHealth.org. Of course, songs benefit baby in different ways as he grows. A familiar tune calms a newborn, while a simple ditty like the ABC song teaches an older child useful information. Truly, there is no downside to serenading your child. According to AskDrSears.com, music stimulates baby's brain even more than talking. Of course, chatting with your charge throughout the day is important, too. Keep the conversation flowing, even if the topics seem less than titillating.

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