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Early stimulation is the result of exposing babies and toddlers to any activity that contributes to boosting development.

Environment and daily living provides a lot of this stimulation, but just as a exercising or learning a new language can improve physical or cognitive skills, early stimulation can help improve many areas of a child's natural development. The more that parents can do at the beginning of a baby's life, the greater the benefits.

Early stimulation activities can be classified in many ways. One way to group them is based on the area of development on which they have the most impact. Following this approach, BabySparks activities are divided into:

Gross Motor

gross-motor
Major movement and mobility. Rolling, crawling, walking

Fine Motor

fine-motor
Dexterity and ability to manipulate with the fingers

Cognitive

cognitive
Processing and understanding of information

Speech

speech
Understanding of what is being said and the ability to articulate sounds and words

Sensory

sensory
Processing and exposure of all senses (auditory, tactile, visual, etc) to a broad range of inputs

Self Care

social
Skills required to become more independent (Self-feeding, getting dressed/undressed, etc)

Social - Emotional

social
Ability to interact with others to play, share, etc

Between birth and age five, the brain is developing extremely rapidly and is also determining which connections to keep and which to eliminate. Repeated use makes connections stronger, while inactive connections become weaker or disappear.

Therefore, early stimulation is based on the premise that a consistent reinforcement of a broad range of positive experiences will help boost your child's development during the first years of life.

 

If you are interested in expanding your understanding of this topic here are a few books and articles to get you started:

 

Brain Development and Early Learning

Brain Development and Early Learning

Give Me a Child Until He is Seven 

Give Me a Child Until He Is Seven

Mind in the Making

Mind in the Making

Watch Me Grow: I'm One-Two-Three 

Watch Me Grow

Why Motor Skills Matter

Why Motor Skills Matter

Advantage, Mom - 20 Lessons from a Parenting Pro 

Advantage Mom Thumbnail