Kids develop faster and more efficiently when playing games, and parent’s role is very important here.
A child masters a variety of activities when being influenced by development and education. But this does not mean that everything depends only on an adult’s desire. A child cannot grasp an activity in any moment, and the order in which he acquires them is very important. There are two reasons for this.
Firstly, a child cannot perform more complicated action until an easier one is mastered. A child can jump only after he can walk. He can put one building block on another one after he knows the difference between the blocks and balls. He can add numbers after he understands that 6 is bigger then 5, and 2 is less than 3. And nothing good comes out of the adults’ effort to make their child “jump over” the inevitable stages of solving complex problems, or their desire to put their child on the next step, while he feels insecure on this one. At the best, new actions will be learned mechanically, without any meaning or benefit. The best way is to lead a child patiently and consistently from one stage to another one.
Secondly, a child is not just a passive creature, in which an adult can put everything he likes regardless of the child’s needs and interests.
The first year of life. Almost any of the child’s needs cannot be met without an adult. Mother feeds her baby and cares for her. A baby gets impressions only with the help of an adult, for she cannot move on her own, she is turned over, a rattle is shaken near her, she is given a toy to capture it. In general, an adult is the main thing in the baby’s world.
No wonder that baby feels demand for consistent, direct and emotional contact with an adult. And accordingly to this communication is the basic activity in the babyhood.
Baby’s emotional communication with an adult starts long before he knows how to perform simple actions with the objects. Baby does not yet understand the words addresses to her, but she responds to them. She does not understand the adult’s behavior, but she enjoys his appearance, smile and when he comes up to her.
Time flies, and baby is interested in objects, the first games come into her life. And here is an interesting experiment. An adult shows a baby an attractive toy. It is very close to her, she is reaching to it slowly. The further the adult moves the toy away, the less the baby is interested in it. And if the toy is far enough, e.g. a meter away, the baby will completely stop responding to it. But when the adult appears near the toy, the baby is reaching to it again, she wants to get it again. The adult revitalizes the situation where the baby is acting.
The same is with a game – adult’s participation in it makes the baby merry and livelier, and only after some time the very game becomes interesting for the baby.
That’s why psychologists and educators insist that it is important to communicate directly with a baby in the first months – here are the whole baby’s life and key to her development in this communication.
Gradually, baby feels necessity not only in the emotional communication but also to act together with the adult. Interest for the adult now is transferred to the objects. And an objective activity becomes the main activity after the first year of life.
But a baby cannot understand the world of things by her own. It’s clear that some objects’ properties a baby can discover herself, e.g. shape, colour, weight. But only when imitating an adult’s actions, only when getting information about things and phenomena from him and only when using these things, a baby learns how to use them. We share our experience of using objects with the child. We can do this with the help of a language. Thus a baby learns to speak for she needs to communicate with the adult. And the very speech development lets the further mind develop.
The next step in the child’s mental development is a role play. It is the expression of a new necessity stage to communicate with the adult – baby wants more than just communicating with him, baby wants even more than just acting together with him. Baby wants to act like “a grown-up”, to live a common life with the adult. But baby cannot be really a grown-up and she starts playing an adult, performing his function. Baby replaces real things with the toys and “rules” over them like an adult rules over the real things. Role play is the main child’s activity up to the school age.
Child’s needs and interests are always connected with an adult. Child develops and this connection gains new shapes.
Note that learning new actions alone does not always lead to a new kind of activity. So, it is possible to teach a baby new actions – to rock a doll, to put it into the bed, to dress it, to carry cars. But does a role play comes out of this? Not always. It does not come out if a child is not interested in a grown-up life, if he does not strive for becoming an adult.
Many things and events make an input in a child’s mental development. At the age from 3 to 7 years old a child is not playing with the dolls for 24 hours a day. He is drawing, sculpturing, dealing with the application, constructing – the scientists call all these activities “productive” ones. A child can perform different learning and working tasks. Every activity influences the child’s mind development.
So, a game is very important for a child’s development of thinking and imagination. Behavior rules are learnt during a game. The game helps a child to learn to interact with other children. On the other hand a game does not help reception develop as drawing and constructing do. It is possible to draw a thing or construct a complex pattern well only if a child has discovered it thoroughly and learnt its particularities. In this sense drawing and constructing are invaluable tools to help child’s reception develop.
In general, when parents understand the meaning of games and child development they should strive for their child’s life being rich, varied and active.
You can play the following games up to 24 months and also vary the order of playing the games. For example, if your baby is 6 months old you can play the games for the 8 months olds, or if your baby is 12 months old you can play the games for the 5 months olds and so on.