Applebee Kids Preschool

Play, Learning, and Your Newborn

Your newborn will begin to associate you with their needs. Your baby will associate the touch of your fingers, your voice and the sight of you face with nourishment, warmth and comfort.

Babies are eager to learn from their parents even at a young age. Your newborn will love to look at you. A parent’s voice or other sounds can be recognized by newborns. They may respond by becoming more alert or less active to the sound. Babies might look around to see where the sound is coming.

When Is My Baby Ready to Learn and Play?

Your newborn will spend most of his first month asleep or appearing drowsy. Your baby will become more alert and awake over the following weeks or months. Your baby will begin to be able to tell when it is ready to learn or play.

  • Baby who is calm and alert will be more attentive, responsive, and interested in their environment. Encourage learning through smiles, gentle touch, and soothing sounds.

  • Baby who is awake, but not active (squirming or flapping arms or kicking legs), is less likely to be able focus on you. If you try to get your attention, the baby might become upset or cry. These signs could indicate that your baby is tired, hungry, or overstimulated.

How can I help my newborn learn

Talk, smile, and interact as you take care of your newborn. Listen to and respond to your baby’s cues. Pay attention to your baby’s movements and sounds when you speak. Talk to your baby by taking turns. This is how your baby will learn to communicate.

You might introduce toys suitable for children as young as age-appropriate to appeal to their senses sight, hearing, touch and smell in the first few weeks.

  • rattles

  • Textured toys

  • Musical toys

  • unbreakable crib mirrors

Mobiles and toys with contrast colors and patterns are best. For infants’ developing vision, strong contrasts (such a red, white, black, and curves) stimulate their development. As their vision improves, babies will be able to control their movements better and interact with their environment more.

Simple ways to make your baby smarter

Experts agree that the first year of a child’s life is a crucial time to learn, but it can be difficult to find new ways to stimulate their learning. Let these fun–and scientific–activities inspire you.

Stimulate baby’s vision

1. Eye contact is important. Make sure you look into your baby’s eyes when they are open. Infants learn to recognize faces quickly, and yours is the most important. They are building their memory every time they look at you.

2. Stick your tongue out. This is a sign that babies as young as six months can mimic simple facial movements.

3. Reflection is a great way to get your baby to look in the mirror. They may initially think they are just looking at another child, but they will soon love to wave and smile at the “other” baby.

4. Encourage comparisons. Place two photos 8-12 inches from your baby’s eyes. Both should look similar, but one must be different (e.g. one has a tree and the other doesn’t). Young infants will often look back and forth in order to identify distinguishing features. This helps them prepare for reading and letter recognition later.

Talk to them, make them laugh

5. Talk to your baby. They will soon fall in tune with your chat and start filling in the gaps.

6. Babies love to be entertained.

7. Sing songs. Create your own lyrics for kid-friendly tunes. You can play Britney Spears, Bach, and the Beatles. Research links understanding musical rhythm with a facility to do math.

8. You can clue them in by saying “I’m about to turn on the light” before you flip the switch. Or “I’m about to run the bath” before you turn on the faucet. This teaches children cause and effect.

9. Tickle their toes. Learning to laugh is the first step towards developing humor . Telling your child that you’re gonna get them is a way to teach them how to anticipate what might happen.

10. Make a silly face and let your toddler touch your nose. Poof! Ask them to pull your ear and then stick your tongue out. When they pat you on the head, make a funny sound. You can repeat each step three to four times and then you can change the rules to keep them guessing.

11. Joke about it. Point to Uncle Frank’s photo and call him “Mommy”. Tell your child you were being silly, and then laugh at your “joke”. This will help develop their sense of humor.

Did you know that as much as 75% of every meal goes towards building your baby’s brain. Did you know that more than 80% of your baby’s brain is formed before the age of three? Every hug, every kiss, every meal, every game, every snack, every play is helping build your baby’s brain.

These are some tips that will give your child the best start possible in life.

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Baby tips for newborns

Did you know? In just a few days, babies will be able to smile when they see people smiling at them.
  • Give your baby ways to see, hear and move. Your baby should be able to see her arms and legs moving in different ways. Slowly, your baby will begin to learn how she can control her movements.

  • See your baby smile at you.

  • Talk softly and in ‘baby talk’ to your baby. The newborn should be contacted by both the mother and father. Soon, you will see that your newborn can hear and will begin to copy and memorize your words.

  • Change the pitch of your voice. Slower/quicker, slower/lower or quieter/louder. It is important to observe your baby’s reactions and how he interacts with you.

  • Lay your baby on her stomach and shake the bell or rattle in front of you. Encourage her to raise her head and shoulders and watch it move. This will help your baby to follow the rattle using her eyes. You can also practice lifting her head.

  • Carefully stroke, soothe and hold your baby. Your baby will be happy being held and cuddled.

  • Make skin-to-skin contact. Your baby should feel safe and secure when you are around them.


How can I help my newborn play?

These are just a few other ways to encourage your baby to play and learn.

  • Smile, extend your tongue and make other expressions that your baby can learn and copy.

  • You can give your baby a favorite toy to look at and follow or you can shake a rattle to help them find it.

  • Talk to your baby and read to him/her.

  • Play soothing music, and gently rock your baby to the beat.

  • Sing to your baby a soothing song, lullaby, or other soothing music. Comforting sounds and familiar words can be a great help, especially during times of fussiness.

Simple Ways to Make Your Baby Smarter.

Baby Care, Newborn, Baby

Strengthen Your Bond

12. Breastfeed/chestfeed, if possible. Do it as long as possible. Studies show that schoolchildren who were breastfed as infants have higher IQs. You can also spend more time with your baby while nursing, such as singing, talking or just stroking their hair.

13. You can make the most of diaper change time. Tell your baby what you are doing and it will teach them how to anticipate routines. You can also name their clothing and body parts as you go.

14. Turn off the TV. Your baby’s brain requires the one-on-one interaction no television show can offer, regardless of how educational.

15. Have a break. Spend a few moments every day just sitting down on the ground with your baby. Allow them to explore and take you along.

Get Physical

16. Play on the ground. Let your baby crawl and climb all over you. This will help improve their problem-solving and coordination skills.

17. Create an obstacle course. Encourage your baby to use their motor skills by placing pillows, boxes or sofa cushions on the ground and teaching them how they can crawl under, under and around them.

18. Move to the music.

19. Play “follow the leader.” You can crawl through the house at different speeds. When you find an interesting place to play, stop.

20. Follow their example. Your baby will get more creative as they age. Allow them to direct you into making silly sounds, crawling backwards, or laughing.


When their parents are happy, toddlers are happy.