I was very glad to hear that The Boo is gradually emerging into the world again after this strange hibernation that we’ve all been through. You can read the statement from Executive Director Esther Ferry Kennington here Covid-19 Update
Baby Boo has plans but at the moment they will still be virtual as we are not able to meet in person just yet. In the meantime summer is an on-off affair and now that we are encouraged to go out again the weather is a bit off-putting! At least the days are still long and the temperatures mild.
Back in March I’d just started a short series of hands-on workshops designed for people who work with very young children, when the lockdown happened. The first two were Play with Clay and Towers and Bunting, and I’ll write more on them in the next posts.
Further down my list was one titled Household Treasure and it seems to be much more relevant to us all now. So here are some of my thoughts on that theme.
I thought it would be fun to look around my house and see what household treasure I can find – many of Baby Boo’s sensory play items are everyday items which we rediscover by playing with them.
For babies 0 – 12 months ( or pre walking ) create a comfy sensory play area by bringing a duvet on to the floor and finding some small objects to bring to baby. Look around in your clothing shelves for items with different colours and textures; leather gloves, fluffy scarf, stretchy leggings, maybe you have a feather boa or a chiffon headscarf, woolly socks or fun fur fleece. Towels, facecloths, nail brushes, tooth brushes , hot water bottle with a fluffy cover and body scrubs are great too.
In the kitchen you can find harder objects good for making noises or that have more scratchy sensations; pan scrubs, tin cans, saucepans, wooden spoons, metal spoons, cups, trays, sieves. Empty tins filled with different grains or pulses will make noisy shakers, add split peas or rice and tape two tins together. In the kitchen there is food of course, lots of things to smell and taste, oranges and lemons, spices and herbs. Create little aroma jars out of yoghurt pots or jam jars with a gauze covering. You can also find cold or frozen items such as frozen peas – caution though, only allow brief contact with the skin. Best to wrap inside a tea towel so the pack does not directly touch the skin.
Fruit and veg can also be very good playthings – potatoes roll around nicely and can be small enough for little hands to hold. They have earthy smells and different textures, colours and weights. If you don’t want a squishy mess stick to the more robust varieties!
Squishy is also good and can be experienced by containing the items in a bowl and having cloths ready for clean up.
Don’t forget the traditional bunch of keys, lovely to make rattling sounds.
For older babies 1-3 years –
Bring out the duvet but add in a few pillows and blankets as well. Throw the duvet over the pillows to create a challenging landscape to jump on and walk over. Blankets are great for making small dens, thrown over two chairs or stools it can create a doorway or a little house ( who lives there? – a new story begins). If you have a torch the den becomes even more magical.
Older children love to build up (and knock down!) see what you can find around the house to build towers with; cereal boxes, biscuit tins, maybe even books, toilet rolls with or without tissue, tins, buckets and plant pots are a few suggestions.
Sometimes it’s interesting to create patterns on the floor with household objects, sorting, ordering and lining up. Try creating a simple set of shapes cut out of coloured fabric or paper that can be arranged and rearranged to make lovely patterns.
Singing and dancing are great energy burners, try controlling the energy by playing games – freeze when the music stops or sit down or hop on one foot when the music stops.
Heads Shoulders Knees and Toes + Sleeping Bunnies are songs with actions that toddlers often know and love to sing. Links …https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okvvOWvyB44
Then wind the energy down again with more gentle songs like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Wind the Bobbin Up.