Learning by Design – Interactions and Play for 0-24 Months

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Games and toys for this age group focus on developing these early skills.  Hence, there are a lot of tactile features for textures, colors and shapes, agency, and an assortment of sounds from language to music.  Games are also highly dependent on parental interaction as this is the primary source of child development given the presence of the baby’s parents is a source of constancy and provides assurance that as overwhelming as things may be, the world can be learned.  Rattles and the like contribute to this as the connections are made that the infant’s actions give it some control over the environment.

Brain development at this age is rapid and can seem overwhelming.  The mind has to accumulate as much information as it can to navigate the world.  Thus, infants begin babbling, grasping, and tugging on their bodies as soon as their muscle strength allows them to, which is within the first seven months.  During this time, babies also start using their hands using a claw-like grip on objects before learning to use a more sophisticated pinching grip and finally progressing to something adults take for granted: a normal-style grip.  Babies also begin to babble at this time as their brains work to acquire language skills.  Their eyesight takes time to develop from seeing less than a foot away to developing binocular vision, giving them depth perception.

There are a lot of games to play with babies and they all have to do with further developing their senses and physical capabilities.  The web is full of articles that cover this topic and provide not just the games to play by month, but also the areas of development they foster.  All of these show the importance of play.  These activities encourage a child’s mastery of their bodies and their imagination.  Encouraging this behavior is not only good for child development, it also lays the groundwork for the experiences that let kids design their own games.

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