Playing with your baby is good for their brain development

4th February 2020

By Emma Motherwell, NSPCC Local Campaigns Manager

Playing with your baby is good for their brain development. For many parents and carers, singing and playing with their baby is just about enjoying the time with their little one. However, these moments are also really important for brain development.

Right from birth, we are helping to build our babies’ brains through simple interactions. This helps to support their cognitive development and this is the basis of the NSPCC’s new campaign Look, Say, Sing, Play.

Playing with your baby is good for brain development

What is Look, Say, Sing, Play?

Look, Say, Sing, Play seeks to build on the interaction parents and carers are already having with their child. Bringing everyday moments into focus and showing how they offer the chance to engage with their baby. Improving interactions and encouraging parents to be more sensitive to their baby’s cues. This helps parents to better identify and respond to their needs. It also improves the attunement and sensitivity of parents from an early stage, setting up positive behaviours as their child grows.

It’s about simple things that can be done as part of a normal day. No expensive toys or resources are needed, just attentive and responsive behaviours from parent to child. Parents and carers are encouraged to look at what their baby is focusing on and see how they react. They will then say what they are doing and copy the sounds their baby is making. They can also sing along to their favourite tune or play simple games to see what their baby enjoys.

Why is playing with your baby good for their brain development?

The campaign, which launches nationally this May, has been developed following research with over 2000 new parents. It highlighted that parents can sometimes struggle with ideas for activities to do with very young babies and welcome the idea of learning more about the science behind their interactions. Look, Say, Sing, Play provides parents with ideas and information, as well as the opportunity to sign up to a weekly email with expert tips and activities.

The brain-building resources are based on the work of Vroom, a US public health initiative that uses the science of early learning to help parents improve back-and-forth interactions with their children.

How is the campaign being used?

NSPCC has been working with partners in Hammersmith and Fulham for the past year, to bring the campaign to as many parents and carers as possible. Family Support, who run 6 children’s centres in the borough have championed the approach and have introduced Look, Say, Sing, Play sessions at the Children’s Centres. We’ve also been talking to Maternity Champions, who do fantastic work to support parents and carers in the community.

We are delighted to now be joined in support by Doorstep Library. The campaign has enabled volunteers to learn more about modelling interaction and play with books, to support parents wherever they are. Through Doorstep Library visits, parents can benefit from improved confidence and better child-parent relationships. They will also have improved access to community services like the Look, Say, Sing, Play scheme. To read more about the parental benefits of these sessions visit their benefits page.

If you are a professional who supports new parents, there are a range of resources for you to integrate Look, Say, Sing, Play into your local offer.

These are available via the NSPCC Learning. If you are interested in hearing more about the campaign or indeed supporting it locally, please do contact me at