Surprise!

Whatcha got there mom?

Here is an easy activity to promote language, motor skills, turn taking, imagination, and sensory skills.

Pull out a large box, container, bowl, or brown bag.  Take a walk around the house and gather random items/toys.  You can do this with or without baby.

Bring the box back to the family room and dump the contents on the floor.  Make a big deal: Hold it up high and count down, “Ready? Here it comes!  3….2….1!!!!!”

Take turns putting items back into the box.  Now take turns pulling items out.  Allow baby to explore each item.  Name it.  If its a spoon, stir.  If its a car, zoom it around the floor.

Pull out an item and place it on your head, your child’s foot, the couch, on the dog, etc.
“The cup is on the dog, the cup is on the dog, hi ho cherry oh, the cup is on the dog”

For infants to crawlers, pull out items one at a time and let baby explore.  Use the above song with different body parts to awaken their body awareness.

As baby grows use categories:
“Let’s find all blue things/animals/soft things/cold things”
Or name specific items to make an indoor scavenger hunt:
“Can you find something you eat with?”  “Find a ball” “Let’s put a book in the bag”

You can also do this on a walk and find “nature things”  Use them to create a nature wreath!
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Move it!

Music and movement go hand in hand with child development.  This Valentine’s Day, sing a song to your sweetheart and dance a little dance.

Lullabies – Singing a song to your sleepy newborn helps to develop a positive bond that soothes and comforts.  As this song becomes familiar it can come in handy when your child is upset or scared.

Finger plays – Songs that incorporate simple words and repetition support language development.  Wheels on the bus, Old McDonald, 5 Little Monkeys, all provide opportunities for children to anticipate or choose what comes next.  When singing these songs, pause at the end of the verse to allow your child to finish the rhyme.
“Old McDonald had a farm, e-i-e-i-………..o!
“And on that farm he had a……..”
“The wheels on the bus go round and round all through the…….”
When your child responds by vocalizing, whether clearly stating “Cow!” or just “Ga”, take it!  Accept any attempt at communication to instill confidence in your child.

Movement Songs – Let’s dance!  Fast or slow, your child can follow directions to get their bodies moving and practice body awareness.  Songs can provide directions or simply spark freestyle based on the genre and style such as Latin, Bluegrass, Classical, or New-Age.
Try incorporating these into your daily morning routine to wake up the body:
“Head, shoulders, knees, and toes”
“Row, row, row, your boat”
“Cha Cha Slide”
“Hokey Pokey”

Now, get up, get moving, and go play!  Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Future

Preach girl, preach.

Children really are the future.  The 3 month old rolling over, the 12 month old having pretend tea, the 2 year old putting blocks together – these are our future doctors, teachers, electricians, artists, athletes, lawyers, and veterinarians.  And these are the people who will be responsible for our country.  There will be 16 million babies born during this new White House Administration.  Decisions made by the new Presidency will directly effect the future of our country, through tiny fingers and tiny toes.  This is why child development is so important.  AND, this is why creating an environment that supports child development is even more important.

When you provide shelter, food, and love for a baby, he grows.  When you provide a relationship for a baby, he learns.  He learns trust, confidence, and that he is valued.  He is on his way to becoming a tiny adult.  Playing with your child is the easiest way to build a positive relationship and it WILL shape who they will become.

Now is the time to invest in the little things.  Endorse programs that provide support for parents, communities, and access to affordable child care and medical services.  No matter what side of the line you fall on, red or blue, children have neither right or left wing stance.  All they know is, they want to play.  And they want to play with you.

Sit down.  Turn off your phone.  Have a tea party.  Read a book.  Drive a toy car across your leg.  Now, go play.

Love and Crafts

The key to arts and crafts?

SIMPLE. SIMPLE. SIMPLE.

The easier the craft the more fun it will be for your child AND you.  Think of an easy project, then find a way to make it easier.  And now, make it even easier.

How?  Plan activities that have few steps.  You can even set up the activity before beginning.  Break it down into steps so you know exactly what you are doing next.  Of course, have clean up materials handy and a space to place items to dry if necessary.

Here are three activities to try this week.

SHAKE UP HEARTS

  1. Cut a heart out of art paper, place in container with paint and mixers -heart candies, marbles, bells, dried pasta or beans.
  2. SHAKE IT!
  3. Let love dry 🙂

 

HEART STAMPS
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Squeeze a toilet paper roll to form a heart and place tape around to hold the shape.  Stamp in paint then on paper.

***With all of these, projects, don’t ever let the stock photo fool you.  With a babe under 2, you will be doing most of the work.  Try the “hand over hand” method.  Here, place your hand over you child’s hand on the cardboard tube.  This way, you are completing the motion, but your child is a part of the fun.

“Stamp the heart, thump, thump, thump.”
“Dip and stamp, stamp, stamp.”

 

VALENTINES FOR THE BIRDS

Spread a thin layer of peanut butter (or soy butter, or sunflower butter, or almond butter) on a piece of bread.  Use a cookie cutter to cut out a shape.  Dip into a shallow dish filled with bird seed.  Thread with a string and hang outside the window.
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Stay tuned for monthly crafty ideas to do with your babes.  Touching on creativity is important on so many levels.  Creating helps children develop knowledge of objects such as crayons and paint, while experiencing sensory materials while getting messy or squeezing play doh.  As children grow, they begin to express themselves through art.  They can also begin to communicate through art where their words have yet to develop.  Children should be creating every day.  This doesn’t mean you have to plan an elaborate project every day.  Provide children with different materials.  Crayons and paper one day, chalk and chalkboard the next, or a white board and dry erase markers.

Now, go play!