Play & Activity

Tactile and Visual Entertainment Tubes – Crafty DIY Infant Entertainment

Tactile and Visual Entertainment Tubes – for babies and infants

 

sensory activity with baby - tactile/vsual entertainment tubes - Baby-Brain.co.uk - Psychology resource and perspective on babies and motherhood

Toilet Roll Fun - Tactile and Visual Entertainment Tubes - home made fun with baby. Ideas from www.baby-brain.co.uk

 

  • What was the idea originally supposed to be? – A baby play station (click on link for what the activity was originally meant to look like). I changed the idea slightly
  • Where did I get the idea/activity from? – This website called Kids Activities Blog 
  • Why did I make it? – I thought it would be a fun, creative thing to, and something that would entertain the Little Lovely and also allow tactile and visual stimulation

The original activity is to make a baby play station using toilet paper rolls, wrapping different fabric/materials around each roll, attaching rolls to a curtain rod and then watching them roll as baby plays/spins them around. I decided to attach them to some string and attach the string to the play gym for the Little Lovely to play with.

 

Here’s the steps I took to make it:

material/paper scraps: sensory activity with baby - Baby-Brain.co.uk - Psychology resource and perspective on babies and motherhood
Step 1: I found some materials to use that were visually stimulating and/or tactile . I used old wallpaper scraps that were bumpy and had a nice texture, and some shiny material.

sensory activity with baby - tactile/vsual entertainment tubes - Baby-Brain.co.uk - Psychology resource and perspective on babies and motherhood

Step 2: I carefully cut to size and glued the paper/material scraps onto toilet paper rolls, folding any excess fabric or paper into the inside of the roll.
sensory activity with baby - tactile/vsual entertainment tubes - Baby-Brain.co.uk - Psychology resource and perspective on babies and motherhood  Step 3: Leave to dry
Step 4: I threaded the tactile and sensory rolls onto thick string but you could attach to a rod as in the original idea, or something safe for your infant to play with. I then attached mine to hang between two poles of the play gym. 

 

….and voilà! Here are some pictures of LL enjoying his new toy

 

Toilet Roll Fun - Tactile and Visual Entertainment Tubes - home made fun with baby. Ideas from www.baby-brain.co.ukToilet Roll Fun - Tactile and Visual Entertainment Tubes - home made fun with baby. Ideas from www.baby-brain.co.ukToilet Roll Fun - Tactile and Visual Entertainment Tubes - home made fun with baby. Ideas from www.baby-brain.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safety first:

  • be careful of choking hazards when choosing materials and don’t chose things to wrap around the rolls that have little parts that could fall off or be pulled off easily.  I supervised play to ensure safety and the rolls were tied up so that LL could not get them down or his mouth around them easily
  • I am wary of using string with babies because of any risks they could get caught up it in. Therefore, always attach safely so that there is no string or materials free for infant to injure self on and only allow play in your presence and under adult supervision. Take the string down after use and put away safely. Do not copy random pages/blogs on the internet. I bought some child-friendly white craft glue for this activity, however all of the glue remains under the paper/material and so does not directly touch little hands or mouths.

DIY Montessori Inspired Object Permanence Box for baby & infants

 

Do-it-yourself Object Permanence Box for infants: Inspired by Montessori materials.

  • This is practically free to make. You just need some cardboard, glue or tape, and a ball

 

DIY Montessori inspired object permanence box for baby/infants. Costs practically nothing to make. baby-brain.co.uk

 

DIY Montessori inspired object permanence box for baby/infants. Costs practically nothing to make, so many learning benefits. baby-brain.co.uk

How we made the box

Inspired by Montessori materials and activities, I’d always wanted an object permanence box but didn’t really want to spend £40 or so on the wooden box. So – I decided to try and make one out of cardboard and old boxes and it seemed to work. My Little Lovely (LL) really enjoys using it, putting the ball and other items in the top, exploring the box and seeing what happens if he puts the ball in the other hole.
Aims of the object permanence box: The infant has to drop a ball into the hole in the top of the box. The ball is then not visible for a moment but rolls out of the box onto the tray. The child therefore experiences a lesson in “object permanence” because they see that the ball didn’t just disappear out of existence – even though they couldn’t see it for a second, it still exists
Other learning benefits of the box: encourages curiosity, cause and effect, hand movements and fine motor skills (dropping the ball into the hole, etc), achieving a goal independently with repeated practice.
When to use the box: From when babies are old enough to sit up without support.
Here’s a short video of what the real deal looks like, as used by a 9 month old, and another of a child at nearly 1 year

 

Psychology & Object Permanence: Object Permanence is an awareness that children develop where “out of sight” does not mean “out of mind”. Initially, when something is removed from view of the baby then from their understanding it ceases to exist – they can’t see it, so it doesn’t exist. Understanding that something exists even when you can’t see it is an important developmental stage, according to the Stages of Cognitive Development as posed by Jean Piaget, an eminent and Swiss psychologist. It is posed as a stage in development because it requires the child to form a “schema”, or mental representation of the object. Infants develop this skill by the end of the “sensorimotor stage”. It was thought to develop around 8-12 months, although there is research to suggest it can develop earlier, and the psychological research does not seem to agree on exact age.

 

How to make the box:

DIY Montessori inspired object permanence box for baby/infants. Costs practically nothing to make, so many learning benefits. baby-brain.co.uk

1: I found a long cardboard box and cut some of the sides down so that I had a long, not too deep tray for the ball to run into and be contained.
2: An old tea box looked good for the little box to house the ball. I cut a hole in the top and on the front for the ball to run out of.
3: The ball needed a bit of help rolling out of the tea box and onto the cardboard tray so I made a little ramp (otherwise the ball just sat in the box after being dropped in and didn’t roll out). This was actually part of the lid from the tea box and was already slanted so I didn’t need to do much to it.
I then slotted the ramp into the tea box and glued the tea box onto the long box. You might be able to see in picture 2, there are some little flaps on the bottom of the box on each side. This was quite helpful and I put the glue on these flaps then pressed it down onto the long cardboard tray.

 

DIY Montessori inspired object permanence box for baby/infants. Costs practically nothing to make, so many learning benefits. baby-brain.co.uk
4: I realised that the box was looking a bit DIY so for some reason I decided to make it look more hideous by adding some wrapping paper.
5: et voilà – here is the finished box (not particularly Montessori style with the wrapping paper)

 

  • If you would like to make your box look more hideous with wrapping paper like I did, I would not recommend anything too busy like the one I used. Maybe just some plain, nice calming colours?
  • If I made it again I would also probably find a slightly bigger box for the ball to drop into. The tea box was ok but the ball rolled out of it pretty quickly, so maybe something a bit bigger might have held the ball out of sight for slightly longer. The tray is also slightly long, but I was using materials just hanging around the house that were waiting to go for recycling so I had to make do with what was available.

 

How to use the box with baby: 

I quote from a Montessori site:

Presentation of the Montessori Object Permanence Box

1. Put the work mat in place and put the object permanence box on the work mat so it will be in front of the child. Encourage the child to help.

2. Sit facing the child with the work mat between you.

3. Name the box and the ball: “This is the box. This is the ball.”

4. Slowly and deliberately place the ball in the hole.

5. When the ball rolls to a stop in the tray, smile and pick it up.

6. Repeat the action.

7. Invite the child to place the ball in the hole.

8. Once the child begins putting the ball in the hole, quietly move aside and allow her to work undisturbed.

9. When finished, invite the child to put the materials away on a low shelf so she may work with them again when she wishes.

 

And here we are experiencing the box:

(age 12 months)

DIY Montessori inspired object permanence box for baby/infants. Costs practically nothing to make, so many learning benefits. baby-brain.co.uk

Baby using the object permanence box

 

Apologies to Montessori enthusiasts – I know that you value natural materials like wood, but i’m not a carpenter and couldn’t make a box out of wood. I also know that adding wrapping paper doesn’t make it look too natural. But, hopefully I’ve captured the essence of the box, the principles and learning benefits for the child, and made an accessible and cheap alternative that can be put together easily at home.

Music and child development


How does music benefit children? What is the psychological research?

 

Music and child development. A clinical psychologist discusses: How does music benefit babies, infants and children? What is the psychological research. Baby-brain.co.uk

What are the benefits of babies and children playing music?

  • Social Development: music classes and playing music with babies and young children is going to involve a parent and probably other children too. The social elements of this (for parents too) are important. Also, turn taking, expression through a medium other than speech, and just having fun are going to be important elements. See the research below for findings that support the importance of interactive music making with baby.
  • Physical Development: playing an instrument requires good motor skills, both gross and fine. Baby bashing on a drum or shaking a rattle is an example of gross skills and more fine skills might come with pressing a key on a keyboard, or accurately hitting a note on a xylophone. Playing an instrument might also improve control and coordination skills in older children (see research below).
  • Psychological Development and Awareness:
    Cause and effect is a good one. Baby can learn that if they do one action (e.g. shake their hand up and down while holding a rattle) they have some effect (a noise) on their environment.
    Creativity
    Awareness of self and expression – I can make this noise, and express myself through it (especially as infants can not yet verbally communicate through speech).
– Encourages self-discipline, listening and concentration skills (see more about this from the research discussed below)

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INTERACTIVE music making is important:

Research as summarized here with very young children has found that:
One-year-old babies who participate in interactive music classes with their parents smile more, communicate better and show earlier and more sophisticated brain responses to music.

 

The infant brain might be particularly plastic with regard to musical exposure

The children in this study attended weekly music classes over 6 months. One class involved interactive music making and learning lullabies, songs with actions and nursery rhymes. Parents and babies worked together to learn to play percussion instruments, take turns and sing specific songs.
Another class involved parents and babies playing at various toy stations with recordings in the background.

Babies from the interactive classes showed better early communication skills, like pointing at objects that are out of reach, or waving goodbye. Socially, these babies also smiled more, were easier to soothe, and showed less distress when things were unfamiliar or didn’t go their way.

 

Babies who participated in the interactive music classes with their parentspreferred to listen to a version of a piano piece that stayed in key, versus a version that included out-of-key notes. Even their brains responded to music differently… [they] showed larger and/or earlier brain responses to musical tones.”

 

While both class types included listening to music and all the infants heard a similar amount of music at home, a big difference between the classes was the interactive exposure to music.

** Therefore, the interactive nature of the music classes appeared to be important, rather than passively listening to music in the background or playing with minimal interaction between parent and child.**

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Does playing music “IMPROVE YOUR KID’S BRAIN”?

I came across this interesting article (original journal article here): Could Playing Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” and Other Music Improve Kids’ Brains? – Good question? What did the research find?  The main summary of the findings was:

Musical training might…help kids focus their attention, control their emotions and diminish their anxiety.

They looked at children aged 6 to 18 years old, and associations between playing a musical instrument and brain development. They used a measure of “cortical thickness”, and write that as children age, the cortex (outer layer of the brain) changes in thickness. The researchers wanted to see what impact music training would have in the cortex. Interestingly, they found that:

Music playing altered the motor areas of the brain, because the activity requires control and coordination of movement.

 

 

Music practice influenced thickness in the part of the cortex that relates to “executive functioning, including working memory, attentional control, as well as organization and planning for the future”

What are the possible social applications of this?
  • Apparently, 3/4 of high school students in the US never or rarely take lessons in arts or music. Therefore, the authors suggest that it is important to find new and innovative ways to make music training more widely available to young people, and to start this during childhood.

 

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Playing music therefore appears to have an impact on skills and abilities such as attention, working memory, attention. What about just listening to music?
My Little Lovely (LL) and I attended a class called tiny Mozart when he was about 6 months old. It was ok. It involved listening to stories played out with musical accompaniment (It wasn’t particularly interactive between the parent and baby, though). So did it do his development any good?

 

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Music & child development. The benefits, psychological research & how to use music with babies, toddlers, children. Baby-brain.co.ukWhat are the benefits of babies and children Listening to music?

  • The Mozart Effect – listening to classical music enhances intelligence? The “Mozart Effect” is probably a well known term by now. This became a popular saying in the mid-90s after a study (Rauscher & Shaw) reported that students who listened to 10 minutes of Mozart showed improvements on spatial tasks. The effect was brief, only lasting 10-15 minutes. There has been a lot of research around this and results on the impact on “intelligence” and IQ vary.  Later studies found only a minimal increase in IQ (1.5 points, this is really not very much) and limited improvements on tasks.
  • Listening to classical music for primary school children, though, has been shown to have some benefits. A project that introduced primary school children to classical music reported that “children listened to a range of music from a selection of well-known classical composers including Beethoven…Mozart…and Mendelssohn. The process of listening to live classical repertoire enabled children to enhance their listening skills and develop other skills needed for careful listening, including concentration and self-discipline.”
  • As this article here sums up, there is minimal evidence that listening to classical music increases IQ, so instead enjoy the research like the project above that shows children enjoy classical music and it can encourage listening and concentration skills

 

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How to use music with baby and toddlers

  • Interactive music making seems important. Learn to play an instrument together. I’m not talking about both taking up the guitar, I mean even something simple like shaking a maraca together. Take it in turns to make sounds. Respond to baby and mirror or echo their response. You could sing together too.
  • Singing is important for vocabulary development:Singing songs teaches children about how language is constructed. When you sing, words and phrases are slowed down and can be better understood by your baby. Singing regularly will help your baby to build up a vocabulary of sounds and words long before they can understand the meaning”, according to this article from the BBC.
  • More on singing to baby: this article outlines some of the findings. It cites that babies are particularly responsive when the music comes from the parent directly, and singing along with a parent can help develop awareness and skills in reciprocal communication. Music and rhyme in nursery rhymes can impact on ability in spatial reasoning, which the article writes can enhance mathematical and scientific abilities.
  • The article continues, in addition to singing nursery rhymes add songs with actions and encouraging dancing to the music to help build balance, coordination, body awareness and rhythm skills.
how to make a simple bottle shaker to play music with baby and encourage psychological development

Make a simple bottle shaker to make music

  • Get creative with music making equipment. Use pots and pans, or make a simple shaker from an old plastic bottle filled with pulses, dried pasta or something that makes a noise. We made one using red lentils and tapioca (pictured left).
  • Look for local and free activities to get involved in. Local libraries where we are do baby singing sessions. They are about 30-45 minutes of singing nursery rhymes together in a big circle, using actions and sometimes props like colourful pieces of material to wave around and puppets (e.g. animal puppets for Old McDonald Had a Farm).
  • Enjoy listening to and experiencing the music with your child, rather than worrying if it’s the “right kind” of music or that it should be prescriptive somehow, e.g. you must listen to 10 minutes of Mozart a day in order to increase IQ. This is because the research is mainly reporting the benefits of music to be around skills of concentration, listening and discipline (among others).

 

 

 

References:
James Hudziak, M.D. et al. Cortical Thickness Maturation and Duration of Music Training: Health-Promoting Activities Shape Brain Development. Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, December 2014
David Gerry, Andrea Unrau, Laurel J. Trainor. Active music classes in infancy enhance musical, communicative and social development. Developmental Science, 2012; 15 (3): 398
Laurel J. Trainor. Musical experience, plasticity, and maturation: issues in measuring developmental change using EEG and MEG. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2012; 1252 (1): 25
Rauscher FH, Shaw GL, Ky KN. (1993). Music and Spatial Task Performance. Nature, 365(6447):611.

Baby painting sensory activity, with one ingredient and step

Baby painting with one step & ingredient. Safe and edible and sensory play fun! From baby-brain.co.uk

The other month we had some fun with a “painting” sensory activity. We were sitting there one afternoon and I realised that we had some old cardboard, large pieces of packing paper and some yoghurt in the fridge. So we made it into a fun game.

 

I’m calling it “paint” because we used the yoghurt like paint. It’s also safe and edible for baby (although, of course check ingredients and make your own decision as to whether the product is safe for your child). To replicate this you can use:
  • Baby painting with one step & ingredient. Safe and edible and sensory play fun! From baby-brain.co.uk

    How we set up our yoghurt painting experience

    Yoghurt as the “paint”. If you want to make colours I suppose you could add natural colouring by mixing in crushed up fruits (e.g. raspberries, blueberries), or food colouring if you don’t mind baby tasting it.

    • A large piece of cardboard or something to protect the floor like a plastic sheet or old sheet. It also makes it easy to clean up because you can just wipe it off after

    • Paper to “paint” on. We used old packaging paper

 

 

 

The Little Lovely really enjoyed this. It was something novel for him. He liked smearing the yoghurt and feeling the sensation of it. He tried a little taste as well but looked like it was a bit sour for him! (natural yoghurt). Afterwards he was quite messy, but fortunately the overall had taken some of the yoghurt. Here’s some more pictures of what we did:

 

Yoghurt is presented to LL. He gets stuck in and has a feel. I needed to put a bit of paint on the paper and swish it about a bit to start him off and model what to do. Then, he was able to start “painting” by himself.

Baby painting with one step & ingredient. Safe and edible and sensory play fun! From baby-brain.co.uk

 

What does the paint feel like? LL decided it was quite fun (middle picture), and continued to swish it about the paper. This became more of a sensory/fun/swishing game rather than a fine art project!

 

Baby painting with one step & ingredient. Safe and edible and sensory play fun! From baby-brain.co.uk

We ran out of yoghurt so I got another load in a plastic container this time. LL wanted to taste it. Looks like it was a bit sour. He got progressively messier!

 

Baby painting with one step & ingredient. Safe and edible and sensory play fun! From baby-brain.co.uk

 

Safety first: be mindful of any allergies (e.g. to fruits, colours, yoghurts, cow’s milk, etc, and be mindful of baby’s age and if they can have cow’s milk should they decide to taste the yoghurt).

 

The importance of physical activity for baby and infants

Let's get physical! Physical activity with babies and toddlers: the importance of it, and guidelines.

Let’s get physical, baby

I found this nice page from the NHS on physical activity guidelines for children under 5 (walking and non-walking)

 

Baby containers
Often, it is very easy for baby to spend time being still or strapped in somewhere like, the high-chair, then maybe into the buggy for an outing, then when you get home, maybe into the cot for nap, then into the high-chair again for lunch, into the walker, swing, or bouncer…etc…etc. See this post here from Starfish Therapies for more about this “container shuffle”, as they call it (baby shuffles from one container to the next)

 

Ok… So How much physical activity do children under 5 years old need to do to keep healthy?
The NHS writes that it is important for babies and infants to be physically active every day for healthy growth and development.

 

 

 

Babies

Babies should be encouraged to be active from birth. Before your baby begins to crawl, encourage them to be physically active by reaching and grasping, pulling and pushing, moving their head, body and limbs during daily routines, and during supervised floor play, including tummy time. Once babies can move around, encourage them to be as active as possible in a safe, supervised and nurturing play environment. For more ideas, see Keeping kids active.

 

 

Toddlers

Children who can walk on their own should be physically active every day for at least 180 minutes (3 hours). This should be spread throughout the day, indoors or outside. The 180 minutes can include light activity such as standing up, moving around, rolling and playing, as well as more energetic activity like skipping, hopping, running and jumping. Active play, such as using a climbing frame, riding a bike, playing in water, chasing games and ball games, is the best way for this age group to be physically active.

 

 

All children under 5 years old

Children under 5 should not be inactive for long periods, except when they’re asleep. Watching TV, travelling by car, bus or train or being strapped into a buggy for long periods are not good for a child’s health and development

 

Hah – don’t think my Little Lovely would qualify as being inactive for long periods, he is far too busy exploring and needing to pick up everything he sees to be doing that.

There are also two nicely set out downloads of Physical Activity Guidelines for under 5s who are not yet walking here, and under 5s capable of walking here.

 

Examples of physical activity for children who are not yet walking includes:
  • Have a Tummy Fun Time

    Tummy Time Baby

    ‘Tummy time’ – this includes any time spent on the stomach including rolling and playing on the floor
  • Reaching for and grasping objects, pulling, pushing and playing with other people
  • ‘Parent and baby’ swim sessions

 

 

What are the benefits of movement?
• Develops motor skills
• Improves cognitive development
• Contributes to a healthy weight
• Enhances bone and muscular development
• Supports learning of social skills

What are the benefits of being active for at least 180 minutes each day?
• Improves cardiovascular health
• Contributes to a healthy weight
• Improves bone health
• Supports learning of social skills
• Develops movement and co-ordination

⇒ Sounds good, so let’s get physical, then!

Happy Birthday Baby! Now we are one



now we are one, happy birthday baby, baby-brain.co.uk. (Baby's first birthday)

Now We Are One

Now we are one. I can’t believe how quickly it’s all gone. This time last year he was only a few hours old. I had no idea how much things were going to change after that. We had a great day today. Friends and family came round for a little party. Nothing too big and fancy. Had a cake, some food, some fun. It was loosely Caterpillar themed, based on our experiences of reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar and that being something the Little Lovely might recognise.

 

We are going to continue the celebration tomorrow with a “birthday twin” friend who was born on the same day as LL, and her parents.

 

Time has flown. Back at work. Need to enjoy my free time with LL. Soon I’ll be writing a post or something on facebook and saying “now we are 10”, or something. Too fast.

 

now we are one, happy birthday baby, baby-brain.co.uk

First birthday mix

 

Our caterpillar themed cake complete with 1 candle! He couldn’t blow it out but we still did the whole happy birthday song to him. He pointed at the cake while we sang.

 

now we are one, happy birthday baby, baby-brain.co.uk

Birthday caterpillar cake

 

I tried to make some grape caterpillars by threading green and red grapes onto a cake pop stick. I avoided anything too sharp and spiky; the cake pop stick seemed good and no small children managed to poke themselves with it. Not everyone could tell they were supposed to be caterpillars though! Mainly the mothers could tell. Oh well. I was going to put icing sugar eyes on and little antennae made of carrot, but ran out of preparation time this morning. Here they are eating some paper fruit, a la The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
now we are one, happy birthday baby, baby-brain.co.uk

Grape caterpillars trying to get at some fruit

 

Look at that lovely spread!
now we are one, happy birthday baby, baby-brain.co.uk

Food spread

Decorations up. LL was quite interested in all the sparkly things hanging around the house.
now we are one, happy birthday baby, baby-brain.co.uk

First birthday decorations

Simple colour match activity idea for baby and toddler

Simple colour match activity idea for baby and toddler

A quick & easy colour match activity to try with baby and toddler, use existing items around the house. baby-brain.co.uk

Colour match activity idea: Easy and quick to set up

I Just set this up for the Little Lovely to play with tomorrow morning.

At 10.5 months he’s probably a bit young for colour matching (I think, but let’s see what he does tomorrow), but we will:

  • talk about the colours

  • and I’ll demonstrate (model) sorting them

I think these will be important aspects if the kid is a bit too young to sort the colours themselves → Learning through observation (vicarious learning), and also the social and fun aspects of doing it this way will be important.

Other things he might get from this activity: Motor skill development, sensory play (items have different textures and functions), exploration, learning about colours.

 

Materials:

I used things that I already had about the house for this. The items are:

Blue: wooden round shapes, dolphin bath toy, a large lid from fridge pack of baked beans, linky loop, and a small plastic baby food pot

Green: crab bath toy, rattle, linky loop, and gum massager stick for teething

Pink: ball, wooden triangle shape, measuring spoon, and a roller with Velcro texture.

They are sitting on two pieces of LL’s clothing (blue vest and green jumper), and one of his toys (child safe mirror turned face down).

 

….. Hope he enjoys it!

Treasure Baskets & Heuristic play: Quick guide, Themes and Content ideas

10 treasure basket ideas for baby: ideas for themes, content and how to present them (trays, bucket, basket, treasure shoe box). Treasure baskets & heuristic play - what/why/how - from baby-brain.co.uk

Theme and content ideas for infant Treasure Baskets

I’ve decided to write a new post streamlining the Treasure Baskets and Heuristic Play post – in order to make a kind of:

Quick reference guide on Treasure Baskets: the what, why and how

– oh and with some more pictures of what me and the Little Lovely have been trying out too! Here’s 10 ideas on contents and themes

 

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Treasure basket out of a shoe box. Balls. treasure baskets and heuristic play: what, why & how. baby-brain.co.uk psychology resource perspective babies motherhood & blog

Treasure Chest – make an old shoe box into a treasure basket! I filled this one with balls

The What:

What are treasure baskets? A collection of objects, presented in a basket/container, for infants who are old enough to sit up but not old or mobile enough to get about and explore. Hence – you bring the world to them and let them explore and experience various sensory aspects (touch, sound, sight, taste, smell) through exploring the items in the basket and discovery – alongside developing hand-eye coordination skills.

 

The concept was originally introduced by  Elinor Goldschmied. You can read a bit more about her here in this article from The Guardian where the author describes her as “one of the pioneers of early childhood care and education”.

 

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The How:

Collect a range of items from around the room or house, that are baby safe, mouthable and excite the senses.

The parent/caregiver role is also important. After presenting the Treasure Basket to baby, sit close by, be attentive and available to the child if needed but do not direct the exploration or play; let baby explore at their own pace and make the decisions without giving in to the temptation to go through the basket yourself and show baby each item or demonstrate how to use them.
Resist the urge to impose your own ideas;
        • ⇒ Treasure baskets should be child-led and….
        • They offer very young children an opportunity to actually make decisions about what to play with and how  (an opportunity which they don’t usually get)
For my reflections on how difficult it was to resist, but how I experienced an interesting outcome, see “a personal case study” in the full treasure basket post here

 

Contents and theme ideas: 

Some themes we have tried

Treasure Chest:

  • Made out of a shoe box! (full picture above) – just be mindful of the corner edges, these aren’t soft and round like the baskets. I filled one with balls and LL enjoyed opening and shutting the lid
Treasure basket out of a shoe box. Balls. treasure baskets and heuristic play: what, why & how. baby-brain.co.uk psychology resource perspective babies motherhood & blog

Box of Balls (Treasure Box)

Kitchen set:

  • Lemon, orange, lime (smelly fruits), safe utensils from different materials like metal, wood (plastic if you are not being traditional)
     Kitchen themed treasure baskets and heuristic play: what, why & how. baby-brain.co.uk psychology resource perspective babies motherhood & blog

Baskets of Round and Circle shapes, and a basket of Assorted Shapes (in wood)

  • LL loves taking all of these shapes out of the basket, throwing, waving and bashing them around (9.5 months)

Assorted wooden shapes. treasure baskets and heuristic play: what, why & how. baby-brain.co.uk psychology resource perspective babies motherhood & blog

Round and circle shapes. treasure baskets and heuristic play: what, why & how. baby-brain.co.uk psychology resource perspective babies motherhood & blog

 

Treasure Tin: Mixed Circles

  • More shapes again

treasure baskets & heuristic play: how, why, what. mixed circles. baby-brain.co.uk

 

Treasure Tin of mixed colour fabrics

Treasure Bucket of different textured fabrics

  • Silky ribbon, thick fishnet, netting type material, cotton, and so on. LL enjoyed feeling all the various textures, the depth of the bucket (sticking his hand right in the the bottom and pulling the fabrics out), and the clatter of the tin and tin lid when the fabrics were presented in this.
treasure tin, mixed fabrics. Treasure Baskets: what, why & how. baby-brain.co.uk psychology resource perspective babies motherhood & blog
treasure bucket, mixed fabric textures. Treasure Baskets:  what, why & how. baby-brain.co.uk psychology resource perspective babies motherhood & blog

Wooden – or try grouping other materials, like metal

  • This set included some wooden kitchen bits such as a spoon, brush, a wooden rattle, baby hairbrush (soft goat hair), large coloured counters

    treasure baskets & heuristic play: how, why, what. Wooden.  baby-brain.co.uk

Colours

  • A basket of mixed green items

treasure baskets & heuristic play: how, why, what. The colour green.  baby-brain.co.uk

Noisy treasure basket- musical treasure box 

  • A little box of noisy toys, including a shaker, rattle, tambourine, cage bell

treasure baskets & heuristic play: how, why, what. Music box.  baby-brain.co.uk

In general – we have used different materials and ways to present the Treasure Basket contents, including

  • tins

  • baskets

  • shoe boxes

  • trays (e.g. baking tray)

  • buckets

LL has enjoyed the noises he can make with different materials, like the sound the tin box makes when banging the lid against the box, and the kitchen implements against the metal baking tray. He experimented with reaching into the bottom of the bucket and pulling fabric pieces out.

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The Why:

For development (senses, physical, emotional, and more), for exploring, for play, for fun….

Heuristic Play:
This is about discovery play–  used to described the activity of toddlers when they play with objects, how they experiment with objects and the environment. It’s called “experimental” because the child is interested in discovering what they can do with the objects. Treasure baskets are relevant here because they allow baby the opportunity to handle and mouth objects (sensory motor skills) so that they can find out more about them, and they offer new sensory experiences that allow the brain to grow and become more active (2). The term Heuristic Play is more relevant to children of toddler age, and Treasure Baskets to babies.

 

References

  1. Gascoyne, S. (2012). Treasure Baskets & Beyond: Realizing the Potential of Sensory-rich Play. McGraw-Hill. (access the introductory chapter to this book here, and read a more about sensory, heuristic play and Treasure Baskets)
  2. Hughes, A. M. (2010). Developing Play for the Under 3s: The Treasure Basket and Heuristic Play. Routledge

 

Other references influencing this post:

  • Goldschmied, E. & Jackson, S. (1994) People under Three. Young Children in Day Care. Routledge (see chapter 6 – The Treasure Basket)

gentle sensory water play shower idea

Gentle sensory water shower for baby

– a fun bath time activity! And it’s cheap, quick and simple to set up as well.

gentle water sensory shower, bath time sensory activity play for baby. baby-brain.co.uk. psychology resource, perspective, blog on motherhood & babies

Basically, get a small plastic milk carton/bottle. Carefully make some holes in the lid (I used a small skewer), and cut a hole towards the bottom of the bottle, like in the pictures below. The holes in the lid are obviously so that the water can sprinkle out, and the hole in the body of the bottle is so that you can fill it with water easily by dunking it in the bath water.

 

gentle water sensory shower, bath time sensory activity play for baby. baby-brain.co.uk. psychology resource, perspective, blog on motherhood & babiesMake sure the plastic edge of the hole isn’t too sharp or scratchy because the Little Lovely was quite interested in the bottle and ended up grabbing it (as can be seen in the pictures below). I used a nail file to smooth any rough edges. He probably chewed on it a bit as well so, again, safety first and make sure the lid is on tightly. Always supervise this project and be especially cautious around water

 

gentle water sensory shower, bath time sensory activity play for baby. baby-brain.co.uk. psychology resource, perspective, blog on motherhood & babies

Then, carefully introduce the sprinkled water to baby. We did this in the bath, but I suppose you could use it elsewhere if you don’t mind the water splashing about the place. Maybe in the garden on a hot day?

 

Here’s the Little Lovely enjoying the showery water sensation:
gentle water sensory shower, bath time sensory activity play for baby. baby-brain.co.uk. psychology resource, perspective, blog on motherhood & babies

What’s this?

 

 

He was quite curious about the bottle and enjoyed the sensation of the water showering on his hands, tummy and hair.

gentle water sensory shower, bath time sensory activity play for baby. baby-brain.co.uk. psychology resource, perspective, blog on motherhood & babies

 

Having a little shower

 

 

gentle water sensory shower, bath time sensory activity play for baby. baby-brain.co.uk. psychology resource, perspective, blog on motherhood & babies

You can’t tell very well, but LL is actually lying on a special baby seat in the picture below, and enjoying the water being sprinkled on his tummy and chest.

gentle water sensory shower, bath time sensory activity play for baby. baby-brain.co.uk. psychology resource, perspective, blog on motherhood & babies

 

 

New page added – Quick and Easy Baby Activity Ideas

 

Some ideas for quick and simple activities with baby! Read the full page here:

– Simple Baby Play Ideas and Activities 

 (under the “let’s make stuff” page)

Quick easy baby play & activity ideas: baby-brain.co.uk psychology resource, perspective and blog on motherhood

List of quick and easy to set up baby play ideas and activities

 

 

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