The Role of Play in a Baby's Development

The Role of Play in a Baby's Development

Play is a huge part of every baby’s cognitive development. It helps them communicate, imagine, think, remember, and understand things. 

Your baby’s play should be mainly back-and-forth interactions with their parents and other loved ones. When adults interact with babies during play, the little ones receive important information that helps them understand the world. For instance, even the simplest game of peek-a-boo helps tiny babies understand that when a person or an object disappears, they still come back. 

Playing with babies also helps build your relationship. It helps express your love for your baby, too – a message that your baby needs to learn who they are and where they belong. It also gives them the confidence to face the world.

Baby’s Cognitive Development at Every Stage 

At 3-6 months, most babies can:

  • “coo” and make other sounds
  • Listen when someone talks to them and attempt to answer
  • Smile at the sight of their own image in mirrors
  • Reach out to objects, grab them, and even put them in their mouths

At 6-9 months, most babies can:

  • Say “mama”, “dada”, or “papa” randomly
  • Imitate some talking sounds
  • Respond to their names when called
  • Hold their own bottles
  • Hold finger foods
  • Start looking at things that you name

At 9-12 months, most babies can: 

  • Say “mama”, “dada” or “papa” and use them correctly
  • Understand basic commands like “give it”
  • Make funny faces and sounds to make people laugh
  • Enjoy repetitive games like peek-a-boo
  • Enjoy listening to familiar stories
  • Throw objects and watch them fall
  • Push over baskets and bins
  • Test different toys

It is during this stage that a baby learns the concept of cause and effect – that if they do something, there will be an effect.

Play Ideas to Encourage Cognitive Development in Babies 

As mentioned, playing with the baby is one of the best ways to ensure that their cognitive development continues. Here are some ideas for play that are appropriate to your child’s current age:

At 3-6 Months

  • Read books, sing some songs, and recite nursery rhymes to your baby. Get them cloth books with flaps and different textures that they can enhance their sensory perception.
  • Teach the baby to hold, roll, or drop different types of balls. This will teach them how things move.
  • Play with rattles, bells, and Montessori mobiles that make noise and are visually stimulating.

At 6-12 Months

  • Give your baby some bath toys that they could dunk or float on their tub. You can also give them clean plastic containers that float on water, sponges that absorb them, and containers that will allow them to pour liquid while they’re bathing.
  • Make a busy board for your child with things that they can push, pull, squeeze, and more.
  • Get them to play stacking using blocks or plastic cups. You can also get them toys that they can roll and push across the floor.

What a Rolling Bell Cylinder Can Do for Your child 

Babies start grasping objects from the time they are born but this is just an involuntary movement. By the time they are three or four months old, babies will try to grasp things voluntarily. A Montessori rolling bell cylinder is a toy that you can give your child to improve their grasping skills. The sound that the bell makes can also encourage the baby to move it either from one hand to another or shake it. It can also stimulate the child’s sense of sight, touch, and hearing.


Playing is an important part of a baby’s development. It’s not just their cognitive skills that play helps improve. Their language and communication, their gross motor and fine motor, and social skills all progress when you regularly play with your child.

Along with Montessori toys, a topponcino is necessary if you want to provide your child with comfort from their earliest days. A topponcino will also give parents and siblings more confidence in cuddling and playing with them. It can also serve as a cozy environment for a little baby while they are playing with their Montessori mobile toys.

Topponcino Company is the trusted online store for topponcinos recommended by parents practicing the Montessori way. Get your precious baby a topponcino today!


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