I had every intention of having a "controlled mess" for this mother's day card making project! I found a cute pinterest photo of two baby handprints made into flowers and tried best to replicate by painting Parker's hand and placing it gently on the construction paper! HA! Parker doesn't do gentle anymore and does not like being controlled so it turned into a messy disaster of fun- I glued a heart on the card that said "Happy Mother's Day" and the grandparent's got an authentic home-made card with pictures of him making the gift.
We started with just the hands and then I gave him a textured ball to play with as well. I bet we would have only had half the mess without the ball as of course it ended up bouncing and rolling on my floor! Oh my! But my floors needed a good cleaning anyhow and Parker is washable :) You may think that the mess is not worth it but I promise it was so much fun for both of us. There is so much learning that happens when a child gets to see and do for themselves... mixing colors with his hands, watching the cause and effective of the paint splatter when he smacked the ball down on the paper (or threw it on the floor!) and seeing the marks that his little fingers and hands make on the paper and tray.
Give painting with your baby a try and do not forget to keep the camera close by for some awesome messy shots!
Happy Baby=Happy Mama!
It seems so fitting that since my little Parker loves cats so much that I get him a ball of yarn! He very much acted like a little kitten as well- using all limps to grab and hold the yarn, bite the yarn and play chase with the yarn! He practiced using his pinching skills to pick up the thin object as well as coordinating two hands at the same time to put tension on a string to manipulate it in the way he wanted. Oh and of course he also worked on his new "trick" of army crawling across the floor to chase the moving pieces that I attached on to a small dowel rod- just like a kitty! It is the simple things! And we played with these pieces of yarn for many days!
We loved this balloon sensory activity! Balloons always need to be carefully monitored for choking reasons! I stayed on the floor and watched him closely as he handled the balloons because as you can imagine with any 6 month old they spent most of the time in his mouth! We have spent time around latex so I also know he is not allergic and I also washed the balloons in mild soap before using to remove any powder.
I used a small funnel and filled the balloons with: dried chickpeas, rice, flour, sugar, egg noodles, water and oats. We have been playing with these balloons for many days now! We talk about the colors, sing the rainbow song, drop them on baking pans to watch them fall and hear the different noises that each makes, manipulate them in our hands and lots and lots of chewing! He loves the yellow balloon filled with chickpeas the most and was the least interested in the water balloon- which was surprising to me.
Did you try this activity? What did you put in your balloons?
Brrrrrr..... COLD! Ice cubes were a fascinating and frustrating adventure for my little teething babe. If you think about it most babies have not really been exposed to cold, as generally adults are always so obsessed with ensuring that babies are warm and comfortable-not too hot and not too cold. So ice was a different experience as he wanted to hold on to it, taste it and play but it is uncomfortable cold and slippery! Parker's tolerance was much longer than I anticipated as he wants so badly to play and accomplish whatever "goal" he had set out to do in his little mind!
In other activities, Parker has mostly ecstatically enjoyed the experience but I honestly don't think enjoyment happened with the ice until the end of this activity. He was grumpy and whiny! He did not want me to move him or take him away from the ice (I was watching for his ques to tell me he was done- I am not trying to torture my kid lol) but rather he was focused and wanted to figure out how to hold it and get it to his mouth. He kept trying and failing... trying... failing... and well folks- that is frustrating for anyone-but it doesn't necessarily mean you should quit! It was also frustrating for me to watch him fail and whine because he can't do it himself. It is really hard for me to not just intervene and fix it for him. I did help him by putting the ice in his mouth and in his hand so he could do it himself but they did not fix his frustration as I was the one who controlled the ice or the ice would slip out of his hand and make him mad!
Eventually I stuck a piece of ice in a mesh feeder so he could really grasp it and have the control- and that was exactly what he wanted. I can only imagine what this personality is going to be like in the toddler years-sigh! He was so proud of himself and was back to my happy, giggly little boy. And Parker played and sucked on that piece of ice in the mesh feeder until it melted away.
Happy Baby=Happy Mamma!
I am always looking for interesting, new, and safe items for my little guy to discover, so one rainy afternoon I dug into my fridge to see what I could find. I found a lemon, a big kale leaf, a cucumber, an orange peel ( after mommy ate the orange- ha), and some rosemary. The lemon was the only item I did not leave on the tray as I did not want it citrus juice to get into his little eyes- ouch! I did let him smell and take a little taste of the lemon but left all other food items on the tray and watched him explore.
He picked the kale up by the stem and spent quite a while smacking the tray and watching the other objects move and bounce. The rosemary was extremely interesting to him- and each time he stuck the piney needles in his mouth he made a strange face and moved on to another item. I learned that Parker thinks that cucumbers are the most disgusting food ever- he shivered and gagged on the taste- repeatedly! It is interested to see what one decides to "like" verses "dislike" but he did like to play with the seeds and make a mess with the juicy pieces. He put the orange peel in his mouth a few times but mostly examined it in his hands.
Think about the food in your fridge- what would be interesting for your baby to explore?
Happy Baby= Happy Mamma!
Who knew spinach pasta could be so fun! My silly little 6 month old loves food like his mamma and is exploring both traditional baby food purees along with baby-led weaning. While this "activity" is technically "eating" (actually I don't think much pasta made it to his stomach) so much learning is happening when a baby sees, tastes, smells, feels, and even hears new foods.
Parker works to manipulates the pasta (and all his foods) in his hands while trying (both succeeding and failing) at getting it from his hand to mouth. He squishes it between his fingers, pulls the tangled mess of pasta apart and of course throws it off the side of the high chair while watching it fall. To an organized and well mannered adult this seems like a disaster of a mess but it is actually a baby learning to control his body and objects as well as understand the world around him- fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, cause and effect are just a few of the ways he is learning.
Whether it's pasta, a banana, peas, some mash potatoes, or spinach leaves... try letting your baby "do it themselves"- watch their eyes and focus to see the learning that takes place!
Happy Baby= Happy Mamma!
Holly Flanders- I am an educational professional with a career that has been focused on infants - 3year old curriculum development as well as the quality vetting and training of childcare professionals. I am a new mommy on a mission to 'practice what I have preached' with my baby boy while helping new mammas and childcare professionals come up with easy and fun activities to help the babies they love learn and grow!