Educational games teach infants and toddlers language skills, even before they can speak. Children benefit from positive interaction and repetition of familiar games that build skills for preschool and promote brain development. And did I mention it's fun? When playing with infants and toddlers, it is important to snuggle, giggle, cuddle, and play games in a lilting, singsong voice.
Play this game as long as your child enjoys it. As you hide behind a blanket and peek from behind, she is learning about turn-taking, interaction, social cues and imprinting important information about expressions and emotions. She is also learning about object permanence, the awareness that objects continue to exist when they are not visible to us.
This is the opposite of the Peek-a-boo game. From behind a blanket, say, "Where's the baby?" Lower the blanket and say, "There he is!" Repeat as long as he enjoys the game. You can vary the game by changing the subject, using people or objects familiar to the baby. Mommy, daddy, teddy bear, sissy, brother, or other familiar people and baby toys can be used. Keep your voice playful and sing-song, and remember to model correct language usage. Modeling correct words and language may help prevent your child from learning incorrect speech over time.
Hide a person or toy behind the blanket. This time, say the name of something you're not hiding. If you're hiding a teddy bear, say "Where's Daddy?" Lower the blanket and show an expression of surprise and laughter. Say "No! That's not Daddy! That's teddy bear!" This game develops observation, visual discrimination, and the concepts of "where" and "not." It also teaches a basic level of humor and encourages your baby to look for ways to solve problems.
This is a great game played around the house, at the store, or on any other outing. Point out objects. Say "What is that? What's that?" Say the name of the object. "That is a flower! That's a flower!" At about the age of 12-15 months, add more details such as saying the color, size, and any other visible details that present themselves. This game teaches vocabulary and builds vivid visual memories of objects and people and builds on what speech therapists call "wh" questions. Repetition is helpful for memory and creates a foundation for your child to build future learning.
Young babies' first toys are their fingers and toes. Take advantage of their curiosity by playing naming games for body parts. This classic pointing game teaches major body parts. For example, point to your nose and say, "This is my nose!" Do the same for her nose. As your baby develops the ability to respond, she will begin to reach for your nose and her own. Eventually, she will say the words used in this game along with you and will later say them independently. You can build on this game as your child matures by adding details such as brown eyes, red hair, etc...
6. Check Out More Resources on Infant Development and Learning