Sensory Play & Development, Part 1

Sensory development is a term parents come across fairly early in their kids’ life. Sensory play refers to any activity that helps in developing the child’s senses, any one or all 7 of them. Nope, that wasn’t a typo – while looking for new sensory play activities to try out on A, I learnt that in addition to the well-known 5 senses, there are 2 more less-known ones bringing the total number of senses to 7! [1]

So we all know of the 5 senses: touch, sight, hearing, taste and smell. In addition to these, there is also movement (carried out by the vestibular system) and body awareness (carried out by the proprioception system). In my next couple of posts, I’ll be diving in and exploring more about what these two senses are about and what kind of activities help develop these senses.

Stay tuned!

[1] https://www.acandakids.com/what-are-the-seven-senses/

Choices, choices

My toddler is 15 months old. She has been trying to assert her independence in various ways, such as not wanting to eat a particular food, or not wanting to do a particular activity. She is ready to interact, to express her emotions, and to make her opinion known.

Allowing her to make choices is a great way to accomplish all of the above. The key is to allow her to pick between two viable options so that she feels in control and learns to share her opinion. She chooses her snack in the evening (from options such as fruit, cheese, crackers – no unhealthy items in the options, at least until she has eaten her healthy snacks first), which book to read (from a stack of baby-friendly board books) and which toy to play with. I haven’t tried letting her pick her own clothes yet, but she has shown signs of being ready for that, too.

She learnt to love making choices! When shown her options for snacks, she would look eagerly back and forth, eyes gleaming in anticipation. She would then grin widely and reach out pointing at her choice. The “pointing” is very important in toddlers, it’s often one of the early forms of communication.

Recently, she took this one step further. She looked around, found her box of crackers, brought it over to me, and pointed, indicating that she wanted them! Needless to say, we were thrilled by this new step in communication. Can’t wait to see what’s next!

My foray into #NaBloPoMo

In an attempt to breathe new life into my blog, I’m going to attempt National Blog Post Month, or #NaBloPoMo!

For an outdoors-y daughter like mine, the colder months are a really hard time. Both for her, and for me! Through the summer, we spent most of our time outdoors. At the park, playing on the lawn, having picnics… you name the time of day, we’d be outdoors. Come autumn, however, and our days of picnics are packed away until the warmer days.

The change in pace makes my little girl very bored by evening, and sends my imagination into overdrive, trying to think of ways to keep her occupied. This month, I’ve decided to kill two birds with one stone, and post everyday a new activity we tried, a new way we kept occupied, a new kiddie recipe, or just what we did that day. I may write a long post, I may write a short post, or I may just post a picture. But this blog shall be revived!

Stay tuned!

 

Cognitive development in babies

This fascinates me as I watch my daughter A (13 months old) learn various things, like how to communicate, how to do things for herself like eat / brush her teeth / comb her hair and so many other things. She does not speak yet, but she is learning to communicate her needs through some actions and of course a lot of yelling.  But why does she yell so much? The reason she yells is because at the moment, it is her easiest way to communicate. We have been trying to teach her various other methods as she does not speak yet, such as baby sign language and pointing. She has started pointing at things when requested, such as car, plane, fan, baby. Over the last few days, she has started making sounds like “ka”, “pa” and “fa” which we can only assume she means car, plane and fan.

Thinking back to my days of research, my framework relied heavily on Bloom’s Taxonomy, which I chose to use over SOLO and a few other options I had. I have spent many months questioning my choices nonetheless always returning to the simplicity of Bloom’s Taxonomy which seemed to apply to so many real-life situations as well. I can’t help revisiting Bloom’s Taxonomy of Cognition as I see A’s cognition grow leaps and bounds. To recap for those who need it, Bloom’s levels of cognition are Remember, Understand, Apply, Analyze, Evaluate, Create. At first, A did not know anything about the car. (I imagine, as her dad and I kept pointing at our car exclaiming “car! car!” she must have been thinking “these people are nutso!”) However, slowly, she started associating the “car” with our car parked outside home. She remembered what we told her and she now pointed outside our home when we said “car”.  Slowly, she understood what she was pointing at, what we were telling her and would point outside the house promptly. After awhile she learnt to apply the concept of pointing to a car in a different way – she would point at other cars when she was at the park! She has now learnt to identify a car.

I find that this strategy has been working to teach her about many different objects and with many different processes she needs to apply in her daily life. She has even learnt to brush her teeth in this way!

The human mind is amazing, and it is so wonderful to watch a tiny mind grow!

I wasn’t sure what to write for my first post, but oh well, here goes nothing…

Hi! I’m Vyshnavi, an edu-tech researcher and new mom. Often, I find my two worlds colliding as I watch my daughter learn new things and wonder how her mind learns, and how I can help her learn better. Here I document my thoughts and ideas.

Thanks for joining me for the ride!