6 Fun Activities To Stimulate Cognitive Development In Children: 10-12 Months

“What does a cow say?” asked Tina’s mother, and Tina answered,‘Moo.’

Sounds familiar? Does your child respond to such questions too? Do you get excited to teach her more and more new things once she starts reacting to your questions? Yes, as a result of tremendous cognitive development in children by this stage, children learn certain things, and when asked, they excitedly respond by uttering the correct answer. Not only this, they keep surprising us by performing their aww-inspiring actions time and again. Showing off their language skills, comprehension, speech, etc. are just only some to name a few.

Cognitive development in children of this age is about showing better engagement with their primary caregivers. So be prepared to give all your time to your little one and get thrilled to hear a lot of new words from your child. Every single move she is going to perform and the way she will interact with you might leave you surprised and charmed. 

Let’s focus on cognitive development in children of 10 to 12 months old vis-a-vis their developmental milestones. Let’s understand

  • the various cognitive developmental milestones that a child of this age should go through.
  • also, the various activities that might prove to be helpful and fun at the same time for your children to learn and master cognitive development skills.

Cognitive Developmental Milestones at 10-12 months

To begin with, let me start by defining what exactly cognitive development means. Cognitive development in children refers to the progressive building of learning and problem-solving skills, such as attention, memory, and thinking. These highly vital skills enable children to process all the information thrown to them and eventually learn to evaluate, analyse, remember, draw comparisons, and understand cause and effect relationships between things.

As the years passes by, you’ll find your baby moving around from here to there, talking and making more familiar and recognizable sounds. Sitting at one place with a single toy is not what she would cherish any more. She would demand more of your time and would enjoy exploring her world with you. You would find her pointing to objects she knows, putting sounds together, and trying to copy the words she hears from your mouth. Saying ‘NO’ by shaking her index finger or shaking her head would be much more frequent now. You may find her little clingy with strangers but highly comfortable with the people she meets regularly as she has started forming a special bond with all of them. 

Babies by this age copy simple hand games like clap hands or shake their hands to say bye-bye

Child and Adolescent Health Service – Community Health

Here are the various developmental milestones that your baby should be going through by this age: 

1.Repetition of action

Infants at this age would probably repeat an action, again and again, that will produce some sort of reaction. For example, if you provide your baby with blocks and she accidentally knocks them over, you’ll find her knocking over the blocks time and again. Has it happened with you that you are repeatedly asking your child not to do something, but she keeps indulging in the same behaviour? Research has shown that infants during this stage engage themselves in doing the same thing, no matter how many times they have been asked not to. They keep trying new ways to reach the same goal or change old actions through trial and error. Dr. Sara Connolly, Board Certified Pediatrician, suggests that ‘infants do crave for repetition for things and go back to the previous things despite distractions.’ —a noticeable milestone in child development at 10 months.

Does your child keeps copying you? You say bye, she would say bye. You point your finger upwards and she does the same. Yes, infants during this age, enjoy imitating other’s actions. Try this out yourself. Provide your child a toy phone and allow her to play with it. You’ll not be surprised to find out that instead of using her toy phone as an interesting object to play with, she’ll put the receiver over her ears as she has observed you doing so. 

2. Exploring the world

Babies thrive on new experiences; therefore, it is important to take them outdoors and allow them to explore to stimulate your baby’s development. However, if it is not feasible for you to take your child outdoors regularly, then be ready to entertain her yourself. But exposing her to new stimuli is important to boost child development at 10 months.

3. Problem-solving

Isn’t watching your 9 to 12 months old baby solving problems fascinating? Piling wooden blocks together or recognizing the images of the objects seems to be too easy for these infants. According to the American Accreditation Health Care Commission: ‘babies start to connect names with objects by this age.’ For example, they recognize a cat by looking at a cat, or they may say ‘Neigh’ when asked what does a horse says. Connecting animals with actions and sounds such as meows, barks or chirps are much stronger now. Not only this, by this stage, infants develop an understanding of themselves as well. In this stage of your baby’s development, you’ll find her responding to her name when you call her. 

4. Ability to Comprehend

You’ll surely find improvement in word comprehension of your child as things start to click more in your baby’s little brain as part of child development at 10 months. Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell, Professor of Pediatrics, Child Development and Education, says ‘that your baby will start understanding and obeying small commands like ‘throw the ball’ or ‘give it to Mumma’, etc. She might even point towards the things she wants or may point to give answers to your questions like ‘where is the fan?’ Moreover, your child becomes more aware of you as separate from herself. When asked, ‘who’s daddy or where is Mumma, she will excitedly point towards the right person.

5. Understanding cause and effect relationship

You’ll be captivated to find that your child no longer needs your help to discover objects that fall on the ground. This is because, by this stage, your child will start to see the cause and effect relationship more accurately. She will understand that things fall when dropped and will search for those objects herself after dropping them. You’ll never find her tired of dropping, rolling, throwing, submerging, or waving objects to find out how they behave.

It may look random play to you, but, in Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5, The American Academy of Pediatrics, suggests that ‘through this random play, your child is actually learning and exploring how the world worksShe is not only playing but also observing the properties of these objects which in turn will help her to learn and differentiate different objects such as shapes, textures or sizes, etc.’

6. Improved memory

Dr. Bettye Caldwell also suggests that during this stage (child development at 10 months), ‘babies develop stronger memory skills.’ They show a longer memory span and tend to remember events for a much longer time. You may even find your child leaving activity in between, when distracted by other attractive stuff, but returning back to the previous activity all over again. For instance, she may identify and recognize yours and your spouse’s phone and hand over it to you whenever she finds it lying down on the ground.

Activities to boost and develop cognitive skills in children

Let your baby’s cognitive skills develop and flourish by engaging her in some fun and interesting activities

1. Play Action Games

Letting your child imitate you is one of the most effective way to stimulate baby development. Perform some simple actions in front of your child like clapping your hands, flying kiss, waving to say bye, hi5, etc. and give your child a chance to copy you. You can also take a few household objects such as a pan and a wooden spoon and use it as a drum set. Let your child beat the pan and produce sounds. Imitating you will enable her to learn new behaviour–a very crucial part of child development at 10 months.

2. Teach Cause and Effect

You can teach your kids cause and effect relationship through a play. Get musical toys where when the child presses a button, it will produce some sounds. You can even use household products like a pan and a wooden spoon. Teach your child if you bang the spoon over the pan, it will produce a sound. You can also talk about cause and effect, like tell her, ‘you have dropped your bunny, so your bunny is on the floor’. This way, she will learn to associate things.

‘I’ve found that the absolute best toy is your face! Make exaggerated facial expressions and watch your baby copy your expressions’. By doing so, you are actually paving the way and planting the seeds of empathy and emotional intelligence in your children.’

Dr. Borba, a Parents advisor and author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101

3. Ask Simple Questions

Put up simple questions to her and make her point towards the right answer by holding her hands yourself. For eg: ‘Where is your daddy’ and take her finger to point towards the father. Teach her about her body-parts like ‘where is your nose’, ‘where are your eyes.’ Praise her each time she give you the right answer. This will boost her confidence, and she will enjoy responding to your questions which is important for boosting cognitive development in children. 

4. Animal Fun

Making your kid hear different sounds of the animals while showing her images is another way to boost your baby’s development. For instance, show her the picture of a cat and then make the meow sound along with it. This will help your child associate different sounds and animals together. Though very basic, this activity boosts child development at 10 months by teaching children the concept of association of different faculties such as sound and imagery with each other.

5. Read to your Baby

Read to Baby at least once a day, and allow her to choose the book she wants to read. This will make her reading time fun. Use facial expressions, gestures, and expressive tones while reading to help her learn these actions from you, imperative for right cognitive development in children. 

6. Talk to your baby

There is no simpler way to boost your child’s development at 10 months. Continue to talk to your baby throughout the day to encourage her to meet cognitive developmental milestones. Keep pointing out to objects of her interest and naming them for her. The more you share a language with your little one, the better will be her vocabulary in the long run.

Remember that all babies are individuals and baby development happens at their own pace–including cognitive development in children. Respect their uniqueness and acknowledge the things they have learned so far. Don’t freak out if you find your child to be quiet and little unresponsive. Some babies are more vocal than the rest, and some are found to be much louder. Let them grow and develop at their own pace. Consider these developmental milestones checklist only as a general guideline to see where your baby is or where is she heading. However, if you notice your baby is experiencing a developmental delay, then please contact your doctor for understanding the reason and take necessary actions. Happy Parenting!

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