From the time of birth, numerous activities promote physical cognitive and creative development. The fastest levels of growth and development occur during the first five years of life. During this time, children learn about the world around them and how to interact with that environment. Very young children initially develop and progress through play.
Parents encourage physical development during infancy by placing babies on their stomachs and encouraging the infant to raise their head and chest upward. Rolling over is another physical achievement. Placing toys just out of reach encourages little ones to reach upward, scoot or crawl to get desired objects. Toddlers enjoy playing hide-and-seek, which promotes mobility. Playing with blocks, filling empty containers and rolling balls back and forth improve hand-eye coordination. Even young children enjoy listening to and dancing along with music. As little ones approach school age, riding toys and playground structures improve large muscle group strength while improving gross motor skills. Arts and crafts that include coloring and working with safety scissors promote fine motor skill development.
Simple games like peek-a-boo teach infants problem solving and analytical skills as they learn the mystery behind a parents disappearance and reappearance. Shape-sorting and stacking toys along with cause-and-effect toys all serve to strengthen these areas of cognitive growth. Encourage sensory development by providing infants with many different objects having varied sizes, shapes, textures and colors. Toddlers enjoy the challenge of putting together age-appropriate puzzles or playing board games. All little ones love hearing stories as parents read from favorite books. Learning the names of colors, discovering A,B,Cs and counting are also accomplished during the toddler and pre-school ages.
Little ones also enjoy playing with musical instruments of various types. Neuroscientists highly recommend this activity as musical training enhances the connections between neurons in many different brain regions, enlarges brain volume and additionally improves cognitive ability. Even children under the age of seven can successfully learn and practice an instrument of choice.
Building social relationships is also a vital part of behavioral, cognitive and emotional growth. Social activities may involve parent or other adults spending one-on-one time with a child. Children not having a sibling should also have the chance to interact with other youngsters to learn appropriate interactive behavior.
Allow children from infancy onward to explore and express themselves. Most children welcome the chance to explore creative play with open arms. Activities involving art, movement and music are some ways to encourage creativity. Provide youngsters with basic art supplies, encourage them to make their own pictures and tell a story revolving around their masterpiece. Give them a variety of old clothes, fabrics, accessories and shoes in order that they might play dress-up. Boys and girls alike enjoy creating structures using the multitude of building toys that are available.