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Can You Really Teach an Infant? Three Simple Learning Games for Your Baby

written by: Keren Perles • edited by: Amanda Grove • updated: 4/5/2012

Did you know that you can help your infant learn more about her surroundings? This article includes three fun baby learning games to play with your infant.

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    Some people believe that babies can’t learn at all when they’re infants. Think again. Infants are constantly watching their world and trying to make sense of it. These baby learning games are the perfect way to teach your infant during his first year of life.

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    Cause and Effect Mobile

    Do you have a simple mobile hanging over your infant’s crib? Although she may enjoy watching it, she can learn a lot more if she can actually control it. Tie a string loosely to your baby’s foot, and tie the other end to part of the mobile. When your baby kicks, she’ll see the mobile move. This will help to plant the seeds in her brain of the concept of cause and effect. In fact, you’ll probably see her kick more often once she realizes that she can make the mobile move on her own. (Safety note: Always supervise your child during this activity, as strings can pose a strangulation risk.)

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    Body Parts Game

    Lie your child on a soft surface, such as a bed or carpet. Lean over him and chant, “Mommy has a nose, Sammy has a nose," as you touch first your nose, and then his. Repeat with other facial features and simple body parts (fingers, hands, head). This activity can start to teach your child that his body is made up of several parts, and that his body is similar to other people’s bodies. It can also be a great bonding experience for the two of you, as you smile at him and touch him.

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    Imitation Games

    If you stick your tongue out at your baby, does she stick her tongue back? If so, this learning game might be the perfect activity for her. Try making funny faces, such as opening your mouth very wide, blowing up your cheeks, or blinking very quickly. If your baby imitates your motions, applaud her actions. Children who imitate facial expressions well may have an easier time later on learning to form various sounds with their mouths. After all, if she can imitate your funny faces, she’ll likely try to imitate your mouth’s speaking motions as well.

    Try out these baby learning games with your child, and watch her knowledge grow over the months!