35 Early Stimulation and Development Activities

35 Early Stimulation and Development Activities
301
Early Stimulation and
Development Activities
CHAPTER
35
On the next pages are activities to help young children’s development. They are
especially valuable for children who are mentally and physically delayed. They are also
useful for children who are mentally normal but whose physical disabilities make both
physical and mental development slow or difficult.
In this chapter we describe activities for early skills in the order in which they usually
develop. So we start with head control, then progress to more advanced levels: reaching,
grasping, sitting and balance, scooting or crawling, standing and walking, and language.
(Self-care activities including eating, dressing, and toilet training are discussed in later
chapters.)
In any area of development, such as head control
or use of the hands, a child also advances through
different stages of ability. For example, in
developing grip, first a child can grasp only with
the whole hand, later with thumb and finger.
To decide which activities to begin with, start by using the charts on pages 292 and
293 to determine the developmental level of your child. Then look through pages 302
to 316 and pick those activities that are next in line for your child. After she learns
these activities, go on to the next.
A child advances in many areas of development at once. Try to help her in several
areas at the same time. In each area, pick activities that help her to do better what
she already does, and then to take the next step.
Often an activity that helps a child to develop in one area
also helps in others.
For example, we put the activity with this picture under
“head control.” But the activity also helps to develop use
of the senses (eyes, touch, sound), hand control, eye-hand
coordination, balance while sitting, and flexibility of the
body (twisting to one side). If done in a friendly way, with
praise, it can develop confidence and ability to relate to other
people. And if father talks to the child as they play, naming
each object and action, it also prepares the child for learning
language.
When helping your child with these learning activities, remember to introduce new
skills in small steps that the child can easily learn. Praise her each time she succeeds,
or tries hard. Follow the suggestions on pages 296 to 299 for helping the child develop
these new skills.
CAUTION: Many activities in this chapter are useful for children with cerebral palsy
or other physical disabilities. However, some must be changed or adapted. Read the
chapters that apply to your child’s disability. Above all: USE YOUR HEAD.
OBSERVE HOW YOUR CHILD RESPONDS. NOTICE HOW AN ACTIVITY
HELPS—OR HINDERS—THE CHILD’S WHOLE DEVELOPMENT. DO NOT
SIMPLY FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS. ADAPT OR INVENT ACTIVITIES TO
MEET YOUR CHILD’S NEEDS.
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1. Activities to help the child lift and control her head (and use her
eyes and ears)
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One of the first skills a normal baby develops is the ability to lift the head and control its
movement. Head control is needed before a child can learn to roll, sit, or crawl. Normally, a
newborn child can lift or hold her head up for a moment, and she develops fairly good head
control in the first months of life. Children with developmental delay are often slow to
develop head control. We need to help them to develop reasonable head control before
trying to help them to roll, sit, crawl, or walk.
If she does not lift her head,
to help her, put her like this.
Press firmly on the muscles
on each side of the backbone
and slowly bring
your hand from
her neck toward
her hips.
To encourage the child to raise her head when
lying face down, attract her attention with brightly
colored objects that make strange or pretty sounds.
If the baby has trouble raising her head because
of a weak back or shoulders, try placing a
blanket under her chest and shoulders. Get
down in front of her and talk to her. Or put
a toy within reach to stimulate interest and
movement.
If the child has trouble lifting her head when
lying face down, lay her against your body so
that she is almost upright. This way she needs
less strength to lift her head.
Some children can
do more if they
lie on a ‘wedge’
(see p. 571).
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To help her develop head
control when lying face
up, take her upper arms
and pull her up gently
until her head hangs
back a little, then lay
her down again.
CAUTION: Do not pull the child up
like this if her head hangs back.
As you begin to lift her, watch to
see if her neck muscles tighten. If
not, do not pull her up. Also, do
not pull the child up like this if it
causes her legs to straighten stiffly
(see “Cerebral Palsy,” p. 102).
NOT LIKE THIS
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If a child with
cerebral palsy
stiffens as you pull
his arms, try pulling
the shoulder blades
forward as you lift
him up.
DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES
If the child cannot
lift his head as you
pull him up, then
do not pull him
up. Instead, sit the
child up and gently
tilt him back a
little, encouraging
him to hold his
head up. Repeat
often, and as he
gains strength and
control, gradually
tilt him farther
back—but do not
let his head fall
backward.
If the baby makes
almost no effort
to lift or hold her
head when you
feed her, instead
of putting the
nipple or food
into her mouth,
barely touch her
lips with it, and
make her come
forward to get it.
GOOD CARRYING POSITIONS
Carrying the child
like this helps
develop good head
control, when he is
face down.
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Positions that keep the hips and
knees bent and the knees separate
help relax and give better control
to the child with cerebral palsy
whose body straightens stiffly and
whose knees press together.
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Carrying baby
like this frees
his head and
arms to move
and look around.
As your child develops
better head control, play
with him, supporting
his body firmly, but with
his head and arms free.
Attract his attention with
interesting objects and
sounds, so that he turns
his head first to one side
and then to the other.
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2. Activities to encourage rolling and twisting
After a baby has fairly good head control, usually the next step in development
is to roll over. Rolling involves sideways twisting of the head and body. Twisting, or
rotation of the upper body on the lower body, must be learned before a child can
learn to crawl and later to walk.
Babies normally learn by themselves to roll over. But children who are
developmentally delayed will learn faster with special help and encouragement. Help
the child learn first to lift and turn her head to the side, then her shoulders and body.
Attract the child’s attention by holding a rattle
or toy in front of her,
Encourage her to reach sideways for the toy,
then move the toy to one side, so the child
turns her head and shoulders to follow it.
then move the toy upward, so that she twists
onto her side and back.
Also, help the child learn to roll
from her back onto her side. Again,
have her reach for a toy held to one
side.
If she does not roll over after various tries,
help her by lifting her leg.
Note: If the
child has spasticity,
you may need to
help position
this arm before she
can roll over.
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Note: If the child is very stiff, before doing
other exercises or activities,
first help to relax him by
swinging his legs back and
forth,
or curl up the child in a ‘ball’
and slowly roll his hips and legs
from side
to side.
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Or twist his
body to one
side and then
the other.
Have him help
by reaching
for something
he likes.
Praise him
when he does
it.
Remember: THE FIRST RULE OF THERAPY: HELP ONLY AS MUCH AS
NEEDED, ENCOURAGING THE CHILD TO DO MORE AND MORE FOR HERSELF.
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DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES
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3. Activities to help develop gripping, reaching, and
hand‑eye coordination
Most babies are born with
a ‘grasping reflex’. If
you put your finger in
their hand, the hand
automatically grips it—
so tightly you can lift
up the child.
Usually this reflex goes away, and gradually
the baby learns to hold things and let go as she
chooses.
Babies who are slow to develop sometimes have
little or no ‘grasping reflex’ and are slow to learn
to hold things. For such children, these activities
may help.
If she keeps her hand closed, stroke the outer
edge of the hand from little finger to wrist.
This often causes the baby to lift and open
her hand, and to grip your finger.
CAUTION: In a child with spasticity, stroking the
back of the hand may cause her to grip or open the
hand stiffly without control. If so, do not do it,
but look for ways that give her more control.
NO!
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When the child opens her hands well, but has trouble holding on,
place an object in her hand, and
bend her fingers around it. Be sure
the thumb is opposite the fingers.
Gradually let go of her hand and
pull the object up against her
fingers or twist it from side to
side.
When you think
she has a firm
grip, let go.
Repeat several
times in each
of the child’s
hands.
After the child can hold an object placed in her
hand, encourage her to reach and grasp an
object that just touches her fingertips.
First touch the top of her hand—then place
it below her fingertips.
Encourage the baby to grasp by offering her
rattles, bells, colorful toys, or something to eat on
a stick.
If the child
Hang interesting toys,
shows no
bells, and rattles where
awareness
the child can see and
of her hand,
reach for them.
hang little
This way the
bells from
child learns to
her wrist.
move her hand
forward to take
hold of a toy.
Also, see p. 327 for ways to help a child discover her hands by putting a sweet food on
her finger and helping her take it to her mouth.
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At first a child can only grasp large objects with
her whole hand. As she grows she will be able
to pick up and hold smaller things with thumb
and fingers. Help her do this by playing with
objects of different sizes.
To help strengthen grip, play ‘tug-of-war’ with
the child—making it a fun game.
Make games of putting
things in and out of
boxes and jars.
As the child gains more and more control,
introduce toys and games that help develop
hand-eye coordination. For ideas, see p. 318.
Playing with toys and imitating the work and play of others helps the child gain
more skillful use of his hands.
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4. Activities for body control, balance, and sitting
After a child gains good head control, he normally starts sitting through these stages:
sits when
placed in
a sitting
position
and held
sits,
keeping
balance
with
arms
balances with
body while
sitting,
freeing hands
for play
sits up
alone from
a lying
position
In order to sit well a child needs to be able to hold her body up, to use her hands to
catch and support herself, and finally to balance with her body so that she can turn
and reach.
If the child simply falls
over when you sit him up,
help him develop a protective
reaction with his arms. Put
him on a log, hold his
hips, and slowly roll him
sideways. Encourage him
to ‘catch’ himself with a
hand.
After the child learns to
‘catch’ herself when lying,
sit her up, hold her above
the hips, and gently push
her from side to side,
Or do the same thing
with the child on
your belly.
and forward and
backward so that
she learns to catch
and support herself
with her arms.
CAUTION: The child must be able to raise and turn her head before she can raise her body.
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DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES
To help your child gain balance sitting, first sit
her on your knees facing you.
Hold her
loosely
so her
body can
adapt to
leaning.
Later, you can sit her facing out so that she can
see what is going on around her.
Slowly lift one knee to
lean her gently to one side.
Then the other, so that she
learns to bend her body to
stay seated.
You can do the same thing with the
child sitting on a log.
As he gets better balance,
move your hands down to
his hips and then thighs,
so that he depends less
on your support.
Give him something to
hold so that he learns
to use his body and
not his arms to keep
his balance.
With an older child who has difficulty with balance, you can do the
same thing on a ‘tilt board’.
Or you can do the same
on a large ball.
At first let her catch
herself with her arms.
Tilt it to one side and
the other and also
forward and back.
Note: You can also do these
exercises by sitting the child
on a table and gently pushing
him backward, sideways, and
forward. But it is better to tip
what he is sitting on.
Later, see how long she can do
it holding her hands together.
Make it a game.
Pushing him causes him
to ‘catch himself’—from
falling with his arms.
Tilting him causes him
to use his body to keep
his balance, which is a
more advanced skill.
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Help the child learn to keep her balance while using her hands and twisting her body,
and sitting on
a log or seat.
sitting on
the ground,
When the child can sit by herself, help her learn to sit up,
from lying on her back,
and from lying on her
belly.
Press down and
back on hip.
As the child starts to rise,
push on the higher hip.
First help her lift her
shoulders.
Help her roll to one
side, rise onto one
elbow, and sit.
Help her to sit up herself. Do not pull her up. Praise her each time she does well, or
tries hard. Help her less and less until she can sit up alone.
Some children will need seating aids to sit well.
To help improve balance, the aid should be as low
as possible and still let the child sit straight. Often,
firmly supporting the hips is enough. Here are 2
examples:
For the child who needs higher back
support, simple ‘corner seats’ can be made of
cardboard, wood, or poles in the ground.
For more ideas on special seating and positioning, see Chapters 64 and 65. For sitting
aids, see p. 573.
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DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES
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5. Activities for creeping and crawling
To move about, many
babies first begin
to creep*,
and then to crawl*,
or to scoot
on their butt.
Note: Some babies never crawl but go directly from sitting to standing and walking. Whether
or not they crawl often depends on cultural patterns and whether the family encourages it.
If the child can lift her head well when lying on her stomach, encourage her to begin
creeping in these ways:
Put a toy or food the child
likes just out of reach.
CAUTION: If the
child has cerebral
palsy, supporting
the feet may cause
legs to straighten
stiffly. If this
happens do not
support her feet.
At first it may
help to support
his feet.
If the child cannot
bring her leg forward
to creep, help her by
lifting the hip.
If the child has difficulty beginning to creep or crawl:
Let her ‘ride’ your knee. Play ‘horsey’. Slowly
move your knee up and down and sideways so that
she shifts her weight from side to side.
Or put the child over a bucket or log. To
help him bear weight with his elbows
straight, firmly push down on his
shoulders and release. Repeat several
times.
Encourage her to
lift one hand off
the ground and
shift her weight
to the other.
Then help her to
move forward.
If the baby has trouble beginning to crawl,
hold him up with a towel like this. As he
gains strength, gradually support him less.
Move him from
side to side
so he shifts
weight from
one arm and
leg to the
other.
Older brothers
and sisters
can help.
Encourage the
child to first
reach—and
later crawl—
for something
he wants.
*North American therapists use these terms in the reverse way (creep for crawl and crawl for creep).
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A child with spastic legs
can hang with her legs
supported to allow moving
about using her arms.
You can hang the
child from a roof
beam or branch,
or a doorway,
like this.
Or make a simple ‘creeper’.
When the child has learned to crawl fairly
well, have him play crawling games.
To help an older child with balance
problems to prepare for
walking, encourage him
to crawl sideways and
backward.
She can crawl up and down a
small hill or pile of straw. This
will help improve her
strength and
balance.
Also, have him hold one leg or arm off the
ground and shift his weight back and forth.
At first, you
may need to
hold up one
limb while you
slowly rock
him from side
to side.
A ‘rocker board’
is fun and helps
balance.
Later, have him practice holding one arm
and the opposite leg off the ground at the
same time.
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After a child gets her
balance on hands
and knees, you can
help her begin to
stand—and walk—on
her knees. She can
walk sideways along
the rope.
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CAUTION:
Do not do
this in a child
with spasticity
whose knees
bend a lot
when she
stands.
There are many
ways the child can
practice standing
on her knees and
shifting her weight—
ways that are fun
and include her in
family activities.
DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES
311
6. Activities for standing, walking, and balance
Normally a child progresses through these stages:
bears part
of weight
automatically
when held
like
this
automatically
‘steps’
if tilting
forward
(standing
reflex)
(stepping
reflex)
0-3 months
0-3 months
sinks down
when stood
up,
3-6 months
stands
holding
on
pulls
up to
standing
7-9 months
steps
sideways
holding
on
steps
between
objects
walks with 2 hands,
1 hand, and finally,
no support
9-12 months 9-12 months 1-3 years
You can prepare a child for walking by encouraging each of the above stages as the
child develops.
CAUTION: If the child cannot balance when sitting, do not work on walking
yet. Help her develop sitting balance first.
Hold the baby so that she
uses the early stepping
reflex to
strengthen
her legs.
You can
even bounce
the baby
gently.
When the child begins to stand, support
her hips with your hands. Spread her feet
apart to form a wide base. First do this
from in front, later from behind.
Move her
gently from
side to side,
so that she
learns to
shift her
weight from
one leg to
the other.
CAUTION: In
children with
spasticity, this
activity may
increase muscle
stiffness. DO
NOT DO IT. (See
p. 93 and 291.)
Or have the child hold
a hose or rope. Because
it is flexible, he needs
to balance more.
As she gains better
balance, you can
provide a light
support
at the
shoulders.
To encourage a child to pull up to
standing, put a toy he likes on the
edge of a table.
cp
When a child can almost walk alone
but is afraid of falling,
tie a cloth around
his chest.
Hold the
cloth, but
let it hang
completely
loose. Be
ready to
catch him
if he falls.
Later, he can
hold onto the
rope with one
hand only.
To encourage him to take steps,
put something he likes at the
other end of the table.
CAUTION: Do not let the child
hang by the cloth. Have him bear
his own weight. The cloth is
only to catch him if he falls.
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Other activities for improving balance:
Hold the child loosely under the
arms and gently tip him from side
to side and forward and backward.
Allow him to return to a straight
position. Turn it into a game.
Practice walking sideways
and backward.
At first support the child while you
do this. When his balance improves,
do it without supporting him—but be
ready to catch him if he falls.
It is better to hold a child:
LIKE THIS
Note: Walking
backward helps
children who tend to
walk tiptoe to bring
their heels down.
His balance
is centered
in his body.
Support your child only
as much as he needs,
until he can walk by
himself.
NOT LIKE THIS
His balance
is off center.
For the older child with poor balance,
a homemade balance board will turn
developing better balance into a game.
Move slowly at first—especially with a
child with cerebral palsy.
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A balance board
with a wide
rocker is better
because it rocks
more smoothly.
(See p. 576.)
Draw a square on the ground
and help him to take steps
forward, sideways, and
backward. Follow the 4
sides of the square, always
facing the same direction.
Make it fun by having him
collect a different colored
tag or piece of puzzle at
each corner—or however
you can.
Some children
will need a pole
to hold onto.
Blocks to prevent
rolling sideways.
Simple homemade parallel
bars can help a child with
weak legs or a balance
problem get started walking.
Homemade pushcarts
or walkers can provide
both support and
independence for the
child who is learning
to walk or who
has balance
problems.
A simple wooden walker with plywood
wheels helps this developmentally
delayed child begin to walk. (For
designs of walkers, see p. 581.)
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DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES
7. Activities for communication and speech:
A normal child’s ability to communicate develops through these stages:
expresses needs through
body movements, looks
on the face, and crying
0-1 month
makes ‘happy
sounds’—coos
and gurgles
1-2 months
babbles—listens
to sounds and
tries to imitate
4-8 months
says a
few words
begins to put
words (and
ideas) together
8-12 months
12 months-3 years
Learning that prepares a baby for speech begins early, long before she says her
first word. Speech develops out of body movement, use of the mouth and tongue
in eating, and use of the senses—through interaction with people and things.
One of the early stages in a baby’s development of speech is noticing and responding
to different sounds. A delayed child may need extra help and stimulation:
If she does not turn her head, bring
the toy back so she can see it, and
move it away again.
Make noises with bells, rattles,
clickers, and drums, first
directly in front of the baby,
then to one side, so that she
turns her head.
Or, gently turn her head so that she
sees what makes the sound. Help
her less and less—until she turns her
head alone.
To get the child used
to language, explain
everything you do
with him. Use clear,
simple words—the
same ones each time.
Name toys, objects,
body parts. Repeat
often.
Repeat the babble of the
child: have conversations
with him in his language. But
when he begins to say words,
repeat and pronounce them
clearly and correctly—do not
use ‘baby talk’.
Understanding language depends not only on
hearing, but also on watching lips and looks.
So speak to the child on her level.
A child understands words before he can speak
them. Play question games to help him listen
and learn; he can answer your questions by
pointing, nodding, or shaking his head.
Repeat words.
Make small
requests.
Reward
successes.
L I K E T HIS
NOT L IK E T HIS
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Rhythm is important to language
development. Sing songs, play
music, and have the child imitate
body movements: clap your hands,
touch your toes, or beat a drum.
Imitate the sounds that baby makes and have him copy the
same sounds when you make them. Then say words similar to
those sounds.
Also, imitate use of the mouth: open wide, close tight, stick
out tongue, blow air, push lips in and out.
CAUTION:
Encourage use of
gestures, but not
so much that the
child does not
feel the need to
try to use words.
SPECIAL PROBLEMS IN SPEECH DEVELOPMENT
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A mouth that hangs open or drools is a passive
(inactive) mouth. It makes development of language
more difficult. Often children with Down syndrome or
the floppy type of cerebral palsy have this problem.
Here are some suggestions to help correct the
problem of drooling and to help strengthen the mouth,
lips, and tongue for eating and speaking ability.
Stroke or tap
the upper lip,
or gently press
the lower lip
several times.
To strengthen the tongue
and lips, put honey or
a sweet, sticky food on
the upper and lower lips.
Have the child lick it off.
Also have the child lick sticky food
from a spoon and lick or suck ‘suckers’
and other foods or candies.
CAUTION: If the
child’s mouth
hangs open and
she drools, do
not keep telling
her to close it!
This will not
help and will
only frustrate the
child.
Or, gently stretch
the lip muscles.
This may help
the child to close
his mouth.
You can also put sticky food
on the inside of the front
teeth and roof of the mouth.
Licking this food helps prepare
the tongue for saying the
letters T, D, N,G, H,J,and L.
Put food into the side of the mouth and behind
the teeth so that the child exercises the tongue.
Also, have the child try to take food off a spoon
with his lips.
Begin to give the child solid foods, and foods
she needs to chew, as early as she can take them
(after 4 months). This helps develop the jaw and
mouth.
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CAUTIONS: 1. Do not do licking exercises in a child with cerebral palsy whose tongue pushes
forward without control. This can make the ‘tongue thrusting’ worse.
2. After giving the child sweet or sticky food, take extra care to clean teeth well.
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Play games in which you have the child:
suck and
blow bubbles
through a
straw
blow
air
blow soap
bubbles
blow
whistles
CAUTION: For children with cerebral palsy, these blowing exercises may increase the
uncontrolled tightening of muscles or twisting of the mouth. If so, DO NOT USE THEM.
cp
Encourage mouthing and chewing on clean toys (but not thumb sucking).
Help the child discover how
to make different sounds
by flapping her lips up and
down with your finger,
or by squeezing
them together as
she makes sounds.
For a child with cerebral palsy, you can help him control his mouth for eating or
speaking by stabilizing his body in a firm position. Choose the position in which he is
most relaxed (least spastic). This usually means bending the head, shoulders, and hips
forward. For this reason
it is sometimes said:
“WE CAN
CONTROL
THE LIPS
THROUGH
THE HIPS.”
If the child has trouble with controlling his
jaw when he tries to speak, try using ‘jaw
control’ with
your fingers,
like this.
(See p. 323.)
Have him
repeat sounds
that require jaw
movement.
You can help the child make different sounds
by pushing on and jiggling his chest.
Imitate the sounds he makes and encourage
him to make them by himself.
When the child has difficulty pronouncing words,
do not correct her. Instead, repeat the words
correctly and clearly, showing that you understand.
REMEMBER—The child needs a lot of stimulation of all her senses to develop
language. Play with her, speak to her, and sing to her often. Ask her questions and
give her time to answer. Do not try to ‘make her learn’, but give her many learning
opportunities. Ask questions that need words for answers, not just ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
•
Is your child deaf? If your child is slow to speak, check his hearing (see p. 447). Even
if he hears some noises, he may not hear well enough to understand speech.
Also, some children who hear well may never be able to speak. For example, certain
children with cerebral palsy cannot control their mouth, tongue, or voice muscles.
For these children, as for young deaf children, we must look for other ways to
communicate. (See Chapter 31.)
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8. Early play activities and toys
Play is the way children learn best. So try to turn every activity you do with a
child into some kind of play or game.
It is not what you do, but how you do it that makes something play. As long as it is
fun and the child wants to do it, it is play. But if it stops being fun, or the child does it
only because ‘he has to’, it stops being play. Small children (and big children who learn
slowly) only stay interested in the same thing for a short time. The child soon gets
bored and stops learning. Therefore, for activities to be play and stay play,
1. continue with the same activity for a short time only, and
2.look for ways to keep changing the activity a little so that it is always new and
interesting.
Both boys in these
pictures are doing
the same learning
activity. For one,
it is play. For the
other, it is not.
Can you say why?
Not all play has to be organized or planned; often the child learns most when it is
not. Play needs some aspect of adventure, surprise, and freedom. It is important
that a child learn to play with other children. But it is also important that she be
given the chance and encouraged to play alone. She needs to learn to enjoy and live
with other people—and with herself.
We do not talk much about play separately, because mostly it is not a separate
activity. It is the best way to do almost any activity. For this reason, in this whole
chapter—and book—we often give ideas for turning exercise, therapy, and learning into
play.
Play activities, like other activities, should be picked so that they ‘fit’ a child’s level
of development and help him move one step farther. They should be HARD ENOUGH
TO BE INTERESTING, but EASY ENOUGH TO BE DONE WELL. For example:
If the child
is at the
level of a
very young
baby, play
games that
help him
use his
eyes and
hold up
his head.
If the child is
at the level
where she
sits, but finds
it hard to
keep her
balance or
open her
knees, look
for play that
helps her
with these.
If in preparation for standing and walking the child needs practice shifting weight
from one knee to the other, you might try imitation games. Here are 2 ideas:
Disabled village Children
DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES
TOYS AND PLAYTHINGS TO STIMULATE A CHILD’S SENSES
Play is more important than toys. Almost anything—pots, flowers, sandals, fruit,
keys, an old horseshoe—can be used as a toy, if it is used in play.
Toys—or ‘playthings’—offer stimulation for a child, both when she plays by herself
and when she plays with others. Many simple things in the home
can be used as toys, or can be turned into them.
Hanging toys for baby to admire,
touch, and handle can be made
of many things.
thread
spools
slices of
plastic
bottle
stiff
wire
top half
of plastic
bottle
metal
bottle caps
pieces of
bright
colored
paper or
tinfoil
Caring for babies
provides a learning
experience that
combines work and
play for the child
who is gentle.
CAUTION: Take care that toys are clean and safe for the child.
Here are a few examples of interesting toys. Use your imagination and the resources
of your family to make toys.
Toys for seeing
Toys for touching
clay
string
chain
pulley
gears
rocks
beads
fruits
mud
soft clothes or blanket
baby animals
corn on the cob
finger paints
inner tubes for
swimming, bathing
nuts and bolts
toes and fingers
seed pods
mushy food
cloth doll
gourds
sand
mirrors
colors
colored paper or tinfoil
daily family activity
puppets old
magazines with pictures
crystal glass pieces (rainbow maker)
flashlight (touch)
flowers
dough
Toys for balance
swings
hammocks
seesaws
rocking horses
For children who have
trouble controlling
their movements, and
often drop or lose
their toys, it may help
to tie the toys with
string, as shown here.
Toys to taste or smell
foods
flowers
fruits
animals
spices
perfumes
finger
puppets
Toys for hearing
rattles
guitar
flutes
drum
bells
bracelets on
baby’s wrist
and ankles
that tinkle
when baby
moves
marimba or
xylophone
wind chimes
whistles
pet birds
animal sounds
seashells or
other echo toys
talking
laughing
singing
a pan as
a drum
tin can telephone
string or wire, stretched tight
disabled village children
317
318
chapter 35
TOYS TO DEVELOP A CHILD’S MIND AND HAND-EYE COORDINATION
Learning to fit things into things
Start simple—dropping
objects into a jar, then
taking them out again.
As the child develops, make things more complex.
rings of wood,
woven string,
baked clay, old
bones, or buckles
wood or
corncob
base of wood or
several layers
of cardboard
To help develop controlled
movement of the hands and
arms, the child can move
beads or blocks along
a rod or wire.
Note: Rings can
be of different sizes,
colors or shapes so
that the child can
also learn to match
these.
Using animals or
funny figures makes
the exercise more
fun. Other children
will be more likely
to join in the game.
Matching games
The child can match objects of similar shape,
size, and color.
Small pegs glued onto cut-out pieces
help develop fine hand control.
peg
Start with simpler games with square or
round figures.
Then progress to more complicated games with
different shaped figures.
ball,
round
fruit,
or pill
bottle
3 blocks of
different
colors and
shapes
a big
tin can
lid (upside down)
cardboard
box
blocks or match boxes
lid of wood,
or layers
of cardboard
Inside ring
tightly fits
into can.
Puzzles
Jigsaw and block puzzles and building blocks also help a
child learn how shapes and colors fit together. Suggestions
for making different puzzles are on p. 476.
Many more ideas for simple toys are included in Chapter 49, “A Children’s Workshop For
Making Toys,” p. 463 to 476.
Disabled village Children
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