Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fun baby activities!

Dear Readers,
I'm always looking for easy and cheap activities to do with Elliot, so I thought I'd share a few that we've done over the last couple weeks that have been really fun. I can't take credit for coming up with any of them myself; who knew Pinterest had so many baby activity ideas in addition to crafts involving chalkboard paint and ways to turn every single food item into something cake batter-themed??

The first thing we tried is the sensory treasure basket (or in our case, treasure box):

The idea is to fill a container with found objects in a variety of shapes, sizes and textures, and then let your baby spend time taking things out and exploring them. I spent literally less than 10 minutes going around the house finding things to add to our box, including:
  • Whisk
  • Wooden spoon
  • Large polished rock
  • Fabric scraps (felt, lace, silky scarf)
  • Part of a crocheted hat I messed up
  • Crunchy leaf
  • CD
  • Small wooden bowl
  • Piece of thick ribbon
  • Small plastic bag
I sat Elliot on the floor and put the box in front of him. He really enjoyed getting into it and pulling things out, one by one. As he did this, I would tell him what each thing was and talk about its size, texture, etc. For example, "look at that rock. See how smooth it feels? Does it feel cold?" Pretty basic stuff here! I plan on switching out the 'treasures' often and recreating the experience a few times a week. 

We've also been having a lot of fun with finger paint! My best friend, Jersa, got us edible (veggie-based) finger paints for Elliot's 'meet the baby' shower back in April. The purple is actually made with blueberries, the green with spinach, etc. You can find them here. Or I'm sure someone has figured out how to make them yourself if you search for it on Pinterest :)

Anyway, Elliot really loves to get messy so this is a super fun activity, I just put him in his high chair, squirt some paint on a piece of paper, and let him go to work! Since the paints are okay to eat, it doesn't matter that he spends half the time sticking his hands in his mouth!

After we do some painting on paper, I put some paint directly on the high chair tray and let him just play for awhile; he loves it!

The end result is not as nice-looking as real paints (my little brother looked at one of the paintings and joked, "oh look, he painted his diaper blow-out from Sunday! Ha!), but at this age its more about the process than the product, right??

Another craft we tried was DIY handprint molds:

 I found a recipe for the dough that couldn't be easier to make:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • Add cold water until the consistency of play dough
  • Bake for 2 hours at 250 degrees
For how easy they were, these turned out pretty well. One thing I'd suggest is taking them out a few times during baking and pricking some little holes to keep them from puffing up. I also burned the edges a bit, but you could probably pretty easily paint these to cover something like that up. Either way, Elliot seemed to enjoy 'helping' me make the dough and smashing his hands into it. The whole activity only took about 15 minutes which was great too.

Last thing I thought I'd mention is an awesome kid's music album we've been loving: Justin Roberts' Jungle Gym. It's seriously the most clever and intelligent children's music I've ever heard. Hilarious! Yesterday I was actually listening to it by myself while Elliot was upstairs napping. We got to see him live last weekend at the Target Children's Book Festival in Minneapolis and he was totally great. Here's a video of one of our favorite songs:

Alright, that's all for now. Anyone else have any great baby activities to share? Please leave a comment if you do! Have a great end of the week everyone!



Shan said...

This time of year always makes me bring out the dark paper and light paints. White (footprint) ghosts on black paper. Brown (hand and thumb) and multi-color (fingers) turkeys on orange paper. I'm old school like that. Of course, I'm also old like that, LOL.

Oh, and we listen to Barenaked Ladies' Snack Time (ALL. THE. TIME.).

Catherine W said...

Oh R loved his treasure basket. Have you given Elliot things to smell? I used to put in the basket a little lavender bag and a bag of herbs (rosemary or mint and such) and put them to his nose to smell! The look on his face was priceless! Oh and a dried orange is also fun! R used to kind of screw up his nose at that one!

Elliot is just so adorable. I love seeing the photographs. He looks like my little R and J, with just a wispy covering of hair!

Keep meaning to make a squelchy pat mat, hair gel in a zip lock bag with sequins but haven't got round to it yet.

This sensory sand is amazing You've just got to be careful that they don't start eating it!

Will have to look at the video as I'm always on the look out for new music for kids that doesn't drive me to distraction.

Janina Featherly said...

This was a great an easy recipe to make. I work as a teacher for a summer camp and this week our them was animals. I had the students look at animals tracks and then make the tracks into the dough, they loved it.

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