Playing can stimulate child development

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Playing isn't just for fun. Babies and children are learning every time they pick up a toy or read a book.

So far, little Kaila is acing her 4-year-old checkup at Peachwood Pediatrics. Dr. Amy Evans is asking very specific questions, looking for a specific kind of progress, making sure little Kaila is right on track. After all, Evans has been tracking her since birth and tells us the first developmental clues are apparent in newborns as early as 2 weeks old.

"Once they hit 10-12 weeks of age, then they can actually start using their hands a little more, very rudimentary, and they're seeing a little better too, so that's when I recommend having one of those little gyms so they can look up and bat at things," said Evans.

At New Harvest Child Care Center, those developmental toys are available for babies as young as 6 weeks.

"Their brain development is huge; that is what we want to encourage the most through play, through music and just hands-on with the child care providers," said Michelle Robbins, director of New Harvest Child Care Center.

The infant and toddler rooms have designated "ages and stages" areas that are age appropriate, using different types of toys to stimulate different types of development. For instance, little babies in their early stages of infancy will get toys that encourage them during "tummy time."

"To strengthen their necks, to have their heads up so they're able to strengthen everything, to be able to roll over; that's a huge milestone is when they're able to roll over on their own," said Robbins.

There are all sorts of toys in the toy storage room. Every single day, the teachers come and switch them out so the babies don't get bored.

"The girls have tubs they take out and they're all themes, so one day may be all animals, one day may be all soft toys, its shapes and colors, every day it's a new experience in that baby room," said Robbins.

Today it's a music theme, another aspect to development that Evans says will further stimulate your child's brain. After more than 25 years in pediatrics, the Clovis physician immediately knows when growth is not proceeding as normal and tells us she'll encourage parents to do more talking, reading and singing if it looks like the baby needs it, but she's a firm believer in allowing your baby to see what you do.

"I just think that getting your child involved with your life is a really important thing. It depends on what you guys do. Mommy and daddy may be doing this job or that job. I think it's great if kids go to work with their parents," said Evans.

Therefore incorporating development in every aspect of interaction with your child.

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