The holidays are about to start! We thought you might be looking for a few extra activities at this time of year to do with your little one. Here are some of our favourites with a Christmas twist!
(babies who are in the stage of rolling over to creeping/leopard crawling):
Pick-a-puppet – Take a plain white sock and draw a bold and simple face on it with a black fibre-tipped pen or fabric paint. Place one puppet on each hand and entertain your creeper with your puppets. If you do not have a sock, draw a face on your hands using a thick black fibre-tipped pen. Sing the well-known children’s rhyme “two little dicky birds sitting on a wall” or a favourite Christmas carol making sure you do loads of actions with your puppet hands! Move the puppets quite slowly so that your creeper can track them with his eyes.
Mad about you mobile – Hang a circular peg line above your creeper’s change mat or play mat and peg photos of familiar people (family and friends) to it. While your creeper lies on his back under the mobile, spin the mobile gently and names the people your baby can see. For a Christmas theme, you could mount each photo onto red or green cardboard and add a bit of tinsel in between. Be careful not to add too much sparkle, or it will be overwhelming for your little creeper.
Tiny shiny bubbles – Use a 500 ml plastic bottle and fill it with coloured soapy water (simply add a few drops of food colouring), glitter and table confetti. Make sure the lid is on tightly! Your creeper can hold it and shake it to watch all the bubbles and shiny confetti. Red or green water and some Christmas confetti will transform this into a lovely Christmas activity for your creeper. You can cut up some tinsel into the water to add some extra sparkle!
Crinkly Caterpillar – Fill a long sock or stocking with various textures that will make different noises when touched or squeezed. Knot the sock or stocking before filling the next compartment with a new texture. Lay Crinkly Caterpillar in front of your creeper while he is lying on his tummy. The noise your caterpillar makes when touched will encourage more swiping or kicking. Let your baby cuddle Crinkly Caterpillar while he is lying on his back or sitting. For a Christmas caterpillar, you can fill your worm with bells, small Christmas baubles and tinsel.
(babies who are in the stage from creeping to crawling):
Sticker fun – Place a sticker on your mover’s hands, palms, fingers or toes. Let him peel the sticker off. Some sensitive movers may dislike the feeling of the sticker on their skin. If this is the case with your mover, rather stick the sticker on his clothes. Use big stickers at first and leave one corner of the sticker up to assist your mover while he is still learning how to peel them off. If you do not have stickers, masking tape with different coloured dot stickers, or different coloured drawings on it (to make it more visually appealing for your curious mover) will do just as well. You can look for some Christmas stickers or simply draw some Christmas hats, stars and crowns onto some masking tape.
Gooey fingers – Allow your mover to dip his fingers into wet textures like apple sauce, icing, cottage cheese, custard or yoghurt. He can then “paint”, lick (the edible textures) or smear himself, a tray or a biscuit. When you are busy with some Christmas baking and snack making, look for ways to involve your mover. Allowing him to explore these tastes, textures and smells will be a great multi-sensory experience for him.
Where did it go? – Once your mover has played Peek-a-boo for a while and is enjoying watching you pop out from behind a blanket, you can start to partially hide his favourite toy under a blanket, container or pillow. Show him as you hide the toy and praise his effort to retrieve it. Clear containers are perfect for this game as your curious mover will be able to see his toy through the plastic. Try hiding some Christmas decorations for him to find – the shiny objects will help to motivate him to get to them. Just check that there are no small pieces that can come off in his mouth (or make sure that you explore these objects with your mover).
Granny-in-a-box – Using a shoe box, photo box, tin or plastic container that has an easily removable lid for your mover’s little hands, place small photos (passport size) of family, friends, pets, favourite places and even objects inside. Allow your mover to open the box and explore what he finds! Talk about each picture as he pulls it out. You can wave “hello” or “bye-bye” to each one as he pulls it out or puts it back. You can wrap the box in lovely shiny Christmas wrapping paper and once your mover has had a chance to explore the photos for a while you can exchange them for some Christmas objects inside the box. Watch your curious mover enjoy exploring his new found treasure!
(babies who are in the stage from crawling to taking steps):
Up and in – Make use of different height surfaces in your home to encourage your groover to bend, squat and stand. By placing some objects (e.g. blocks, small toys, plastic Christmas decorations) on a low surface (e.g. the floor) and a container to pack them into on a higher surface (e.g. a couch or coffee table), he will
need to bend to retrieve the objects and then stand to place them into the container. A metal container (e.g. a pot) makes a lovely “ting” sound when you drop a plastic object into it, which can make this game even more fun!
Postman Pat – Make a posting box from a cardboard box or tin with a plastic lid. You can wrap this box in lovely shiny Christmas paper. Cut holes in the lid so that your groover can post plastic Christmas baubles, ping pong balls, squash balls or small toys into the box. Empty the post box and play again!
Baking man – This is a fun time of year to introduce your groover to mixing, pouring and baking. Allow him to help you mix with a big spoon in a big bowl, showing how to mix slowly. He can help with rinsing vegetables, “squashing” cookies, pressing cookie cutters into dough and any other kitchen tasks that are safe. Make sure he is sitting or standing safely (i.e. not on the edge of a counter or a wobbly chair). Be prepared for lots of mess – it’s all part of the fun! Allowing him to explore these tastes, textures and smells will be a great multi-sensory experience for him. You can make some Christmas cookies as gifts for family with lots of love from your tot!
Muffin balls – Your groover will enjoy putting various balls, (e.g. plastic Christmas baubles, squash balls, ping pong balls, tennis balls, golf balls, bouncing balls, etc.) into a muffin tray. He will like taking them out just as much! Encourage him to take them out one at a time. Having a bucket or large container to put them in will ensure that they don’t roll away. If you have a small set of tongs, you can show him (by putting your hands over his) how to use two hands to “pick up” a ball and place it into the container.
Enjoy this magical time of year, find some time to let your baby explore and discover, and marvel at how much his sensory system is learning!