Educational Games for Infants to Teach Early Language Concepts

Educational games for infants and toddlers give children language skills, even before they can speak. Children benefit from positive interaction and repetition of familiar games that build skills for preschool and promote brain development. And did I mention it's fun? When playing with infants and toddlers, it is important to snuggle, giggle, cuddle and play games in a lilting, singsong voice.


Teach Your Baby Language and Social Skills

mother playing peek a boo with infant
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Play the peek-a-boo game as long as your child enjoys it. As you hide behind a blanket and peek from behind, she is learning about turn-taking, interaction, social cues and imprinting important information about expressions and emotions.

She is also learning about object permanence or the awareness that objects continue to exist when they are not visible to us.


Introduce Naming Vocabulary and the Concept "Where"

This is the opposite of the peek-a-boo game. From behind a blanket, say, "Where's the baby?" Lower the blanket and say, "There he is!" Repeat as long as he enjoys the game. You can vary the game by changing the subject, using people or objects familiar to the baby. Mommy, daddy, teddy bear, sissy, brother or other familiar people and baby toys can be used. Keep your voice playful and singsong-like and remember to model correct language usage. Modeling correct words and language may help prevent your child from learning incorrect speech over time.


Introduce Humor With the Concept "Not"

Hide a person or toy behind the blanket. This time, say the name of something you're not hiding. If you're hiding a teddy bear, say "Where's Daddy?" Lower the blanket and show an expression of surprise and laughter. Say "No! That's not Daddy! That's teddy bear!" This game develops observation, visual discrimination and the concepts of "where" and "not." It also teaches a basic level of humor and encourages your baby to look for ways to solve problems.


Add New Vocabulary and Rehearse Old Words Daily

This is a great game played around the house, at the store or on any other outing. Point out objects. Ask, "What is that? What's that?" Then, say the name of the object. "That is a flower! That's a flower!" At about the age of 12 to 15 months, add more details such as saying the color, size and any other visible details that present themselves. This game teaches vocabulary and builds vivid visual memories of objects and people. Repetition is helpful for memory and creates a foundation for your child to build future learning.


Name Major Body Parts

Young babies' first toys are their fingers and toes. Take advantage of their curiosity by playing naming games for body parts. This classic pointing game teaches major body parts. For example, point to your nose and say, "This is my nose!" Do the same for her nose. As your baby develops the ability to respond, she will begin to reach for your nose and her own. Eventually, she will say the words used in this game along with you and will later say them independently. You can build on this game as your child matures by adding details such as brown eyes, red hair, etc.

In Closing

Educational games for infants will not only give children an edge when they enter preschool, they allow them to bond with family members. You may be eager to introduce new concepts to your child, but make sure the experience is, first and foremost, fun.

1 Source
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  1. Nomikou I, Leonardi G, Radkowska A, Rączaszek-Leonardi J, Rohlfing KJ. Taking Up an Active Role: Emerging Participation in Early Mother–Infant Interaction during Peekaboo RoutinesFront Psychol. 2017;8:1656. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01656

By Ann Logsdon
Ann Logsdon is a school psychologist specializing in helping parents and teachers support students with a range of educational and developmental disabilities.