These bottles can be made at home and created with any little arts and crafts bits you have lying around. Along with some water, baby oil and a little hand soap, you have your very own calming and wonderous toy. This can be used for newborn babies and toddlers. Encouraging calm and discovery, add a torch to the mix and this elevates the discovery. Look at the colours, shapes and listen to the sounds the objects make.
This activity is ideal for babies aged 12months plus. A warning, they will try to eat it, this is ok. If you sit with baby and explore with them and show them how you can use the rice in others ways they will soon copy you. You can do this with babies aged around 10months, but do keep a close watch and never leave them alone.
If you want to make the rice a different colour, pop some rice in a container or bag and add a teaspoon of water and food colouring of your choice, then give it a good shake and lay out on a towel to dry for around an hour. Why not go for rainbow colours? Let baby play and feel the rice, let them drop it, throw it and watch you play. Make shapes with it and just have fun! You can also do this with pasta.
This activity is an extension to the activity above. With toddlers you can add utensils for them to practise and extend their fine manipulative skills. Toddlers love to do things for themselves, this enables them to practise skills for everyday activities and understand what certain tools are used for. Adding tubs will also start the process of understanding quantity and volume. You can also start to encourage mark making, by using fingers to move the rice and make patterns and symbols, they may even start to give them meaning.
Mirrors are amazing for all ages. At birth they will be training their eyes straight away. Offering other ways to see objects, you and themselves will only help them with developing this. The older they get the more you can play and add interesting ways to play with mirrors. Reflections can be used for children while on walks, understanding the world and how it works and also offering other ways to explore while out. These ways of seeing others and themselves also promotes understanding that they're their own person and you are separate from them.
Treasure baskets are not a new thing, but maybe something that has been forgotten by a few. Its a simple but an effective way to introduce objects and offer learning experiences. The object dont have to be complicated. These can be anything you find around the house, as long as theyre clean and child appropriate, everything will go in their mouth so be sure its not too small.
When they become toddlers and have more understanding of objects, why not add more tools for them to learn how to use. Such as toothbrushes, hairbrushes and dusters. These are everyday tools they will see use and themselves using, this way they will be able to explore them and even learn how to use them.
We have visited rice play before. But offering a theme to this play can be a great way to offer knowledge and understanding. With this activity (See picture) we explored colour. For toddlers this is a great way to start them practising colours, language and recognition. You can extend this by offering numbers or even letters from their name. Let the explore, there is no right or wrong way.
A great way to keep you flowers recycled is to use them in activities for children play and explore. This sort of exploration should be supervised at all times, with babies aged 9months to toddler. There are many ways to explore flowers, you can place them in a water tray and let the children explore and see the changes the water makes to the flowers, a wonderful way to explain to toddlers what flowers need to grow. You can pull the petals of the flowers and sprinkle them in water or just let them feel them as they're. Its a wonderful way to introduce and practise colours and if your adventurous, the names of the flowers.
Dont under estimate the power of a box. We have all seen it. You buy a new toy and the baby or child will find more joy in the box it came in. So why not use this to your advantage? This can be a great source for tummy time for our tiny explorers or a great new way to explore even for our toddlers. Using the box as a kind of treasure cave, adding lights give new ways to see. Toddlers will love to hunt for objects under cover and introduce new language. You can place a cloth over the box and pop small lights in to add shadow play. Tummy time can be great way for baby to have something else to look at and start to encourage your baby to reach out for objects.
Baby gyms don't have to be restricted to the toys they came with. Why not make your own. It doesn't have to be fancy, if anything the simple objects offer the most for your tiny explorer. The point of the object is to help aid sight strength and promote understand of colour and shape. Give your baby something to reach for and see it move, but to also introduce texture. Ensure the objects are secure and there are no small loose parts. Hang your new objects from your baby gym and encourage your baby to look out for them and talk to baby about what they might see. Introduce new language and celebrate when they start to reach out and touch.
Playdoh can be a great way for babies and children to explore and make new connections. For young babies, eating anything they find can be a problem, but, why not make a food friendly doh? This way if they do put it in their mouth you know no harm will come of it. Its also a great way to show them what happens when we mix materials together. This can be done with old children, making playdoh is so much fun and so many types to make with different ingredients. Don't be afraid to experiment. We have natural doh from a lovely small business, who have natural ingredients and smells to add a scented touch. lavender and honey, flora or cookie. The possibilities are endless.
If you haven't tried exploring dried flowers and fruits yet with your children I would highly recommend it. You can also add fresh plants or flowers so they can see the contrast.
This sort of activity I would recommend for children aged 18months, as these materials if in the mouth are not that pleasant and there is nothing more upsetting than trying to tell a baby to stop putting things in their mouth.
This activity is so lovely and peaceful and can be seasonal. Adapted to the time of year. You can find some amazing resources to add with dried flowers and fruits, like seed pods and sticks. Once you have explored these you can look at adding tools to develop their imagination in their discovery.