Sometimes it’s hard to find play ideas for little babies, but in this guest post, Erin from Bambini Travel has great ideas for infant play using simple materials! So whether you pull out some yard for endless play possibilities or find some ways to let your babies play with a bunch of bowls, get some ideas below!
Ever notice how a simple material, like a spoon or a roll of toilet paper, can be more fascinating to a young child than an expensive, exciting musical toy? I was looking through old pictures of my children and came across this series of my son playing with a ball of yarn. I remember putting it on the floor one morning curious to see what our infants would do with it. My son was delighted by this ball of orange and spent the next twenty minutes pushing it across the floor, pulling at it with his little fingers, staring at the strings that revealed themselves, and trying to get it into his mouth with obvious intrigue.
These real materials are also interesting because they often allow for more open-ended, creative exploration than singularly focused toys where there is one obvious goal that is only satisfying for a brief moment. On the other hand, that roll of toilet paper. It can roll. It dissolves when wet. It can be pulled apart. These are fascinating discoveries.
Materials from the child’s environment also offer a chance to nurture their growing understanding. It respects an image of the child as one who is capable of understanding and already a contributing part of your world. It respects their desire to learn about this world and their natural curiosity for what surrounds them.
Encourage these explorations. Treat these curiosities as the valuable pursuits your child sees them to be. Welcome them banging pots at your feet while you cook, feeling the textures of the socks and washcloths as you fold, and yes, playing with a ball of yarn as you create.
Some Other Materials to Offer:
Ball of Yarn
Different Sized Bowls
Different Sized Cardboard Tubes
Fabrics of Different Textures
Present these with the same care you would materials for older children. Display them attractively in baskets on your shelf. Introduce one or two new materials at a time. Allow time for open exploration. Quietly observe. Occasionally add descriptions of what they are doing. Value their simple explorations.
Erin Buhr is an Early Childhood specialist, freelance writer, and mama of twins. She lives with her husband and three year olds in Mississippi where she enjoys traveling, taking photos, and being outside in the sun. She has a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and was an Early Childhood Educator for 11 years before deciding to stay home with her own children. She blogs at Bambini Travel (www.bambinitravel.com)and hopes to inspire exploration and travel with young children.