What is visual cognition?
Visual cognition is the ability to interpret information through vision, for example object and face recognition and colour recognition.
Simply put, it’s the ability to see something and to recognise and identify the object. This can include working out sizes, colours, shapes and spatial relationships (whether something is close or far).
How can you help baby develop visual cognition skills?
Newborn to Four Months:
Encourage baby to look at your face, by making sounds and movements with your face. Keep your face within about 30cms of baby’s face to help them to focus.
Try black and white images – the high contrast helps baby to focus and distinguish shapes.
Use toys like rattles to get your baby’s attention, and move the rattle around to encourage baby to track the object with her eyes.
You could use a mobile above baby’s change mat, or a baby gym on the floor. Don’t use a baby mobile above baby’s cot, as it’s important to keep visual stimulation to a minimum so that baby can learn to put themselves to sleep without distractions.
Place a baby safe mirror near baby to encourage self recognition.
Always ensure that baby wears a hat and isn’t exposed to bright sunlight to protect their developing eyes.
Five to Six Months:
Play peek a boo with baby.
Let baby have exposure to lots of shapes and textures, as well as bright colours and patterns.
Encourage baby to track objects with her eyes and head as you move them from side to side, up and down.
Six to Twelve Months:
Read to baby, and let her follow the pictures in the books. Point out objects in the stories to her – “here’s the dog, and look! What is the cat doing?”
Encourage baby to put objects into containers.
Point out objects for baby to reach for.
Play hide and seek games with toys – put teddy under a blanket and encourage baby to find it.
Give baby toys to stack, and start talking about different colours.
Twelve to Eighteen Months:
Encourage baby to point to things.
Show baby objects in the sky, such as planes and birds, to develop long distance vision.
Play games with baby where you encourage her to get a particular object out of a pile of objects. For example, where’s the ball in amongst soft toys.
Give toddlers a crayon and encourage them scribble.
Let her stack objects or containers.
Roll a ball back and forth on the floor to encourage visual tracking.
Eighteen Months to Two Years:
Show baby photos of herself and ask her who it is.
Encourage her to match simple shapes.
Find particular pictures in books.
Find some simple puzzles (ones with chunky knobs are great for little hands).
Two to Three Years:
Encourage your toddler to point out objects in books.
Show your toddler family photos and allow them to pick out familiar family members.
Encourage your toddler to match large and small objects.
Encourage your child to string chunky beads together on a shoelace or string.
Do lots of drawing, painting and colouring.
Go to the playground as often as you can.
Play catch with a ball, a soft toy, or even rolled up socks!
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