Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Playing With Your Children

When you initiate play with your children, you not only give them the time of their lives, but you also give them a few steps ahead. Because other than play, how else is their young mind going to enjoy learning?

By the time your child is born, play should've already started. There are a lot of resources online and in print that you can use as reference to tailor progressive play, suitable for your child's growing needs. Here are some of the games Ella and I used to play or have been playing:


I've read that pleasant sensory perception help develop the earliest brain connections. These will lay the foundation for all the information your child will learn as she grows older. For starters, try songs with repeated lyrics, syllables and melodies. This way, baby gets to memorize them quicker. I used to sing "BaaBaa Black Sheep", "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "The Alphabet Song" in succession because they all have the same melody. Ella did think that these are all one song when she was younger, but she eventually learned the truth. But she was able to sing correct melodies of songs before she turned 1...before she even learned how to correctly pronounce the words.

2-3 months

Bright Colored Pattern Cards
Colors like red, black and white are the first colors baby sees. When Ella was in this stage, I removed the bling blings on her musical mobile and replaced them with cardboards that have solid red, black and white patterns I made myself using art paper.

Ella rummaging through her toy box

3-6 months

Reach and Crawl
Since babies' visual perception should already be clear but this time, we want to play with toys that may stimulate the urge to reach and crawl, and eventually, to stand up and walk. Rattle balls and cute stuffed toys were Ella's staple toys in this stage.

Ella doing her close-open routine at 4 months

Saw Saw Suka and Close-Open
As soon as our baby starts to open their hands, we want to teach them what it is used for. And the best way to do that is through these hand games. There were a few people who actually thought it was "
bastos" for my daughter to hand signal "saw-saw suka" when she was 4 months old. And even though I kind of know where they're coming from, I still find it stupid.

Ella playing an alphabet board game at Gymboree

6-10 months

Building Blocks and Puzzles
We were able to get Ella this set of blocks that function as building blocks, shape filler, and picture puzzle. Right after she turned 1 year old, she already knew how to fill the shape spaces and all other shape puzzles after that.

playing dress up
10 months

Pretend Play And Dress Up
You may think that pretend play should be for older kids. But you can actually pretend very simple things or things that the kid will eventually need to do. The first things Ella and I pretend played with was sleeping...and then eating...then cooking. And now Ella knows how to pretend to do just about anything under the sun. If you come to think of it, pretend play is one of the most effective ways you can teach kids what's going on in the world because you can't possibly do everything at home unless you pretend! Through pretend play, you can introduce concepts that child will eventually recognize on tv, outdoors or in school.

Ella trying to catch bubbles with her friend

Blow bubbles for your kid to stimulate the urge to stand up and reach. When she grows older, she'll want to know how to blow bubbles on her own which opens the way for further knowledge...like playing wind instruments in the future!

You don't have to be a great dancer. Any move that coordinates as much body parts will do. When Ella hears music, she can't help but move even when she's feeling too lazy.

morning "pasyal" at Bacolod

12 months

Active Walking and Running Around
We have a schedule for bringing Ella outdoors or to the playground in the morning and in the afternoon since she was a baby. But when she learned how to walk and run, it was such a blissful part of the day for her. Make sure to protect your child's knees with jogging pants or leg warmers!

Picture Cards and Books
Pick cards that have a single image on each one. The images should have 2-3 syllable names, simple colors, and are preferably one to 2 dimensional. These are only my preferences by the way. I figured that given the simplicity of the images, the child will learn them faster. So far, the cards and books we used for Ella helped her recognize the things she sees, however they may look like, anywhere.

Action Songs
This is the best time to introduce parts of the body through songs. Among our favorite action songs were "Eency Weency Spider", "Heads and Shoulders, Knees and Toes", and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star".

Name That Body Part
Point obvious body parts first like the head, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands and feet. As the child grows up, proceed with teaching specific parts like knees, neck, elbows, shoulders, etc

There you have it! Ella's 2 now but it doesn't mean that the stuff we played above no longer applies to her. Learning is an ongoing process and so is play. We can only make them more complex as we go along. And who knows...when you're on your sixties, you could be playing golf with one of the world's best golfers that is your kid?!

Have fun!

your every woman,


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