Before we know it, my twin sister and I will both have one-year-olds! So, for now, we are really big into letting our babies simply be babies, for at least another couple weeks! Here are some of our attempts at this–some more successful than others! Between scheduled classes and craziness these activities are just plain and simple fun:
? Clear out a drawer or cabinet and fill it with items that would be safe for babies. Our little cuties stumbled upon L.’s drawer (which was designed so she could be more independent during meal and snack times) and they were over the moon! I am pretty sure they thought they were getting away with something.
? Thick shaggy rugs tend to be a common feature for families with learning-to-walk babies. While they’re nice padding for those purposes, they aren’t always ideal for some types of play. By giving kiddos metal cookie sheets and baking pans, children can have a stable flat surface for building towers. They love the crashing sounds that blocks hitting the tins make!
? I used to use shaving cream for sensory experiences with my preschoolers, but I’m not a big fan of it for little ones anymore, as it’s one of the most painful things to get in your eyes (and good luck telling a baby or toddler not to rub his/her eyes!) I decided to try out nontoxic sensory materials for the babies to enjoy. Jello, cool whip and yogurt were perfect alternatives! B. enjoyed this…but then decided she wanted to climb out of the pool! I think I’ll will wait until summer and try this again outside.
? Aiming to expand the babies’ play space beyond the area rug boundaries, I purchased some yoga mats at Whole Foods, free of potentially harmful chemicals, to baby proof the outlying hardwood floors. They are colorful, squishy, and provide slip-free traction.
? If you’ve had the pleasure of viewing the dozens of Youtube videos of babies laughing hysterically at the mere ripping of paper, you’ll understand why this is one of my favorite “babies being babies” activities (and it’s my daughter’s too!) Simply grab scrap paper you were going to recycle and sit on the floor with your baby. Start the rip and then hand the paper to your baby and hold on to one side as he/she pulls away and makes the paper tear further. (Doesn’t hurt to capture the reaction on video either!)
? No matter the age, getting a bit messy is often equated with FUN for kids. So when I introduced flour to little B. as a way to entertainer her while L. was cooking, she was quite content playing with it alongside her big sister. I put about a half cup of flour into a small bowl and gave her another bowl of the same size to pour the flour into. And back and fourth it went! Not only does she love the feel of it on her fingers, but with each concentrated and controlled pour or pinch, she’s is tuning her fine motor skills!
? Let your babies explore nature first hand. B & BB love exploring items in nature, such as pine needles, grass, leaves, petals, rocks, puddles, snow, flowers, etc. The great thing about this activity it is alway available! Even on days that are too hot or too cold to go outside, you can simply bring nature items inside. One of my favorites is filling containers with snow and putting them in a small blow up pool–kids of all ages enjoy this activity!