Cognitive Development Games for Infants

Written by Pam MS, NCSP | Fact checked by Psychology Dictionary staff 

If you go to any bookstore, you will see a large selection of different books about how to make your baby smarter, bigger, and better. There are many studies which show that stimulation games are a great way to foster cognitive development in an infant. This doesn't need to be done as work, but instead, play is the preferred method by which you can bond and he or she can learn. Here are some of the games that you can play with your infant, and the cognitive growth that they foster:

Touch Buffets
Early in your baby's life, the desire to explore will become one of their central focuses. Long before they can move, a baby can explore by looking at and touching different objects. You can help this by setting up "touch buffets" on their tummy mats. This is an array of brightly colored objects with different textures. Fuzzy, smooth, bumpy, wrinkly, leathery, etc. Bring your baby's hand to each, touch every object, and help them to discover their world through their fingers and their eyes. This will stimulate their senses and help to foster a sense of curiosity about the world.

Narration
Babies respond most clearly to their parents voices, and there is more and more evidence that they can understand words long before they can speak them. This is why many doctors and child psychologists encourage parents to speak often to their kids, long before they can speak back. Talk about what you're doing. Putting on the red shirt, changing the diaper with Mickey Mouse and replacing it with the diaper with Elmo. Feeding carrots, beef, potatoes, etc. There are many studies that are coming out now that show how a child's school success is directly linked to how many words that child has heard in his or her life. The goal is in the millions. If you're unsure what to say to them, then read out loud to them often. You don't have to use their books. Read from your magazine articles or anything else you can find. Children need it to be live for it to work, too. They need to see your face and watch how you form the words, to mimic that and speak them as well. Studies have shown that the brains of babies don't respond the same to recorded verbal tapes as they do to actively engaged parents and caregivers.

Peek a Boo
Another game that an infant can use to stimulate cognitive growth is peek a boo. This game is an exercise in something called object permanence, which is basically the idea that just because you can't see something doesn't mean that it no longer exists. A game of peek a boo where you hide your face behind your hands helps a baby to make the connection that something isn't gone just because they can't see it.

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