How to Make The Most Of Homebound Play
As parents, you often hear that it's essential for your children to have physical activity and cognitively stimulating tasks every day. But why is it so crucial for your little one to get balanced stimulation, and how can you help them to get there while they are at home?
Daily stimulus helps your children achieve milestones in the four main areas of development which are the paving stones of their future potential - these include social and emotional development, cognitive development, speech and language development and motor development. Institutions such as UNICEF have brought the importance of early childhood development to the attention of the world highlighting that "A good foundation in the early years makes a difference through adulthood and even gives the next generation a better start."
So with that in mind, here is a guide to help you meaningfully entertain your little one at home:
To Develop Communication and Language Skills
There is more to communication and language development than simple speech - in fact, it includes all the ways a child understands and communicates. Since speaking is a product of fine motor skills and a sign of cognitive development, communication and language development overlaps significantly with the other areas of development.
Activities for fostering communication and language skills: Reading to and with your child at various levels is a great activity to help with communication development. Reading helps kids with their speech from their first sounds, words, pronunciation and eventually to vocabulary. Use and encourage different voices, accents, volumes and sounds to make reading a fantastic new way to play.
Singing songs and nursery rhymes is another activity that helps to encourage communication and language skills. Take to the stage and act out the songs you are singing or add actions and facial expressions to nursery rhymes to invite your little ones to join in.
To Develop Cognitive Skills
Cognitive development relates to how children think, explore and solve problems. Developing cognitive abilities is what helps children to assess and comprehend the world around them critically. All interactions with the world are processed cognitively from the first sounds they hear to learning to talk and eventually read.
Activities for fostering cognitive skills: Sorting games such as colour grouping or gathering farm and water animals is a great way to help your kids develop their cognition. Use bright and familiar toys and even sweets to help your kids differentiate between colours, creatures and shapes.
Another way to develop cognition is through sensory play. To engage their senses, you can colour rice and pasta for sight and taste stimulation or try a sensory table by laying out different containers with loads of wonderful textures, colours and sounds. You can use sand, water, sprinkles, cotton balls, pasta shapes and even dried beans for your little one to explore.
To Develop Social and Emotional Skills
Social and emotional development is how children come to figure out who they are, what to expect when interacting with others and what they are feeling.
The development of social and emotional skills has a lasting impact on how well your child adapts and thrives in the world. These skills impact a young person's self-confidence, empathy, relationships and sense of importance.
Activities for fostering social and emotional skills: Games that include turn-taking like card and board games are excellent for promoting social and emotional skills. They teach skills such as patience, sharing, empathy, coping with negative emotions and interacting with others. Games like Snakes and Ladders or Snap can be made at home with cardboard and art supplies for hours of fun.
To Develop Motor Skills
Motor development is the physical growth and formation of a child's body and in turn, their ability to move and experience their surroundings. Motor development has two categories:
Fine and gross motor skills. Fine-motor skills refer to small movements such as in the wrists, hands, fingers and feet. While gross-motor skills involve the growth of muscles that enable babies to reach physical milestones - these include holding up their heads, crawling, sitting and eventually walking and other actions.
Activities for fostering motor skills: Tummy time, reaching, push walkers and playgrounds are ways for kids of varying ages to develop gross motor skills. While threading, playing with blocks, painting, drawing, gripping small objects and playdough are great activities for fine-motor skills.
So, while your kids are at home, make sure that they are getting the necessary stimulation to help them develop. Each moment with your little ones is an opportunity for them to hone a skill or learn something – help them to enjoy their development with these homebound tips and tricks.
For more activities that help with the development of skills, take a look at how dirt is good. If your little one is learning through messy play and they get glue or mud on their clothes, don't worry, Omo can help you with stain removal.