Learning Games for Toddlers and Babies

Without a doubt, there will be plenty of time to have your child take all kinds of tests: math tests, spelling tests, driving tests. But just for fun, why don't you see what kind of smarts that little love bug has now? Disclaimer: These tests are for fun and are meant to give you an idea of how your child learns. If he does not pass or engage in these tests, it does not -- repeat, does not -- mean that he's relegated to dunce-cap status. Nor does it predict future intellectual ability.

For Kids 3 Months Old
Put a finger in your baby's mouth, and let him suck on it while you make eye contact and say "babababababababa" over and over. At first, your baby will suck a bit harder when you start saying "ba" repeatedly, but eventually his sucking will slow down. Then, do the same thing, but at some point say "pa" instead of "ba." You should notice that the amount of sucking picks up when you switch from saying "bababababa" to saying "papapapapa." That change is a signal that your baby recognizes the difference between these sounds. Now, don't worry if your baby doesn't show a noticeable difference. It could just mean that your finger isn't detecting subtle changes in sucking. There are lots of things that affect what your baby does while you do this test. Babies have a hard time paying attention to anything, so it might just be that he needs to nap.

For Kids About 18 Months to 2 Years Old
Find ten new toys of about the same size. They should be small enough for your child to pick up but, obviously, large enough that if he puts them in his mouth, he cannot swallow them. Five of them should be animals. The other five should be vehicles (cars, trucks, and planes). Watch the order in which your child plays with the toys. As he gains knowledge about types of categories, he will generally touch members of one category and then members of the other. When he gets older, he may alternate, touching an animal and then a vehicle, another animal and another vehicle.

For Kids About 2 1/2 to 3 Years Old
Get some objects that are unfamiliar to your child. Two of them should be the same shape but different colors or textures. The others should be the same color or texture but not the same shape. Show the child the first object and say, "See this? This is a screwdriver." Then, show the other two objects and ask, "Which one of these is also a screwdriver?" When your child reaches the point where he is learning words quickly, he should point to the object that has the same shape as the first object.