Fun and interesting sound effects draw baby’s attention to play.
Even very early in life babies can hear a wide variety of sounds. Infants will turn towards the sound of a toy and begin to reach towards it. This ability to recognise the direction that a sound is coming from improves greatly during the first few years of life. Young infants listen longer to the sound of human voice and seem to prefer it to any other sound. They are especially aware of the sound of language and like to be spoken to slowly and with a high pitch. This is sometimes referred to as ‘infant directed speech’ or even ‘baby talk’. Young babies are quite sensitive in their auditory abilities and can perceive all the categorical sound distinctions in world languages. As babies develop their auditory abilities narrow so that eventually babies are only sensitive to those sound categories specific to their native language. As soon as babies are born they are influenced by what they hear around them and modify what they able to hear, accordingly. At the same time they become increasingly sensitive to music and musical patterns. Even in their first year babies are distinguishing between musical tunes on the basis of rhythmic patterns and later they begin to recognise the same melody played in a different key. Giving babies plenty of opportunities to hear music, singing, rhythm and talk enhances their learning and prepares them for the social world where they will talk, sing, play and listen to music.
Imagination and exploration through interaction with characters.
Children’s imagination is active from an early age. Imaginative play has links to what psychologists call ‘social pretend play’. Young children pretend or imagine that, for instance a wooden block is a cake and they carefully ‘cut’ it. A large proportion of pretend play tends to be social. Imaginative play begins when infants play and pretend with adults. As young children develop they begin to try to engage other children in social pretend play. Young children in nursery benefit from engaging in imaginative play. It helps them to begin to understand that other children think differently to them and have different ideas. Children can engage in imaginative play with other children where they have agreed on a story or scenario that they want to act out. Young children playing with toys use their imagination to invent scenarios and play out the consequences. They can use characters to explore scenarios and act out scripts such as going shopping or bedtime. Imaginative and social pretend play is beneficial for children as it allows them to explore different ways of viewing the world. Children who use their imagination when playing with other children are increasing their social competence and their understanding of other people. In a study where we observed children playing in a nursery we found that young children engaged in imaginative play, often using the toys in unexpected ways. Children’s imagination benefits from the opportunity to play with all types of toys.
Introduces the alphabet, letter sounds and vocabulary.
Babies start to babble at an early age and this can be seen as the first signs of language. They are predisposed to pick up the sounds of the language that they hear around them. Adults can facilitate babies’ language development by playing with them, focussing on particular toys, reading books and naming everyday objects. The more babies are exposed to language the faster they will begin to pick up it up. There are social skills involved in language acquisition such as realising that it is necessary to wait until the other person has finished speaking. Babies begin to learn about conversational turn-taking from an early age; if a baby is babbling the adult waits for a pause and then talks to the baby. Babies learn to take turns even before they are using words. Social interaction is important for language development and turn-taking games are a fun and educational way for babies and young children to learn. Young children also need to practice their language skills. Toys that name alphabet letters and everyday words satisfy young children’s need for repetition and rehearsal when practicing words and sounds. For instance, young children can press a button repetitively to hear the same sound or word again. Babies and children learn a lot through repetition and pick up words rapidly in this way. Once children begin to read their vocabulary expands enormously.
Encourages fine motor skill development.
An infant’s growth and development in the first year of life is rapid. Many movements that young babies make are in preparation for the next stage of their development. When young babies watch a mobile they are constantly moving their head, arms, legs and even their mouths in response to the movement of the toy. Sound and movement attract a baby’s attention; if a toy is placed almost within reach of babies their movements become more animated. Bath toys provide opportunities to develop and use motor skills to great effect. For example, a young baby has greater control over their leg movements than their arms. You will often see young babies in a bath reaching with their legs towards a floating toy and kicking. All these movements strengthen muscles in readiness for the next stage - walking. As babies develop they become more adept at grasping objects. Young infants learn to grasp an object, for instance a cube. The grasping, at first, is quite clumsy but through repetition, and across time, infants become adept at grasping and develop fine motor skills. Infants first use the ulnar grasp where their fingers close against the palm when trying to hold an object. Within another month they are able to move the object from hand to hand. After the first year, infants adopt the ‘pincer grasp’ where they use their thumb and index finger to grasp even very tiny objects. Shape sorters help infants to fine tune their visual perception and hand coordination. Soon infants are building towers with two cubes; this also requires fine coordination skills. As the child grows computer games have been shown to help with hand and eye coordination. Spatial skills can also be enhanced when playing games that require concentration, quick responses and finely tuned motor skills.
Develops imagination and encourages cooperation, listening and turn-taking.
Role play is a form of social pretend play. Children benefit from social pretend play because it can help them to revisit events that may have provoked some anxiety in the past. For instance, after a visit to the doctors children often play at being doctors and nurses. Role play not only reflects but also contributes to children’s cognitive and social skills. Playing out an experience enables children to understand more about it. Research has shown that during social pretend play, young children’s interactions last longer, are more engaging and also more cooperative. Nursery school children who spend more time in socio-dramatic role playing are also perceived as more socially competent by their teachers. Role play enhances many cognitive abilities such as sustained attention, memory, language and literacy skills, and helps children to understand and manage their emotions. Role play is generally a social activity but some children can engage in solitary role play where they create imaginary companions. Games where children can create worlds and populate them with their own characters can be beneficial.
Learn how to take care of your baby doll with Little Love Cuddle & Care by VTech!
Take special care of Little Love when she’s poorly by listening and responding to her requests and helping her get better.
5 sensors and 3 buttons on her body trigger interactive responses encouraging nurturing role play and a basic understanding of health concepts.
Cuddle & Care comes complete with role-play stethoscope, thermometer, syringe, spoon, medicine bottle and 2 plasters.
Includes lots of adorable baby phrases and real-life sound effects.
Encourages independent play, imitative play, cause & effects and discovery & exploration.
Best for ages:
Take care of Little Love by listening and responding to her requests. Sensors on her body trigger interactive responses when triggered by the 7 accessories.
Learn how to take care of your baby doll with Little Love Cuddle & Care by VTech! Take special care of Little Love when she’s poorly by listening and responding to her requests and helping her get better. 5 sensors and 3 buttons on her body trigger interactive responses encouraging nurturing role play and a basic understanding of health concepts. Cuddle & Care comes complete with role-play stethoscope, thermometer, syringe, spoon, medicine bottle and 2 plasters, She also includes lots of adorable baby phrases and real-life sound effects. Encourages independent play, imitative play, cause & effects and discovery & exploration.