Tuesday, July 19, 2011
As Moriah has grown, I've really enjoyed providing opportunities for her to play in helpful and fun ways! As a former teacher, I'm always curious as I read about developmental stages and milestones, which I know isn't the case for everyone :) I've enjoyed reading a few books that give me ideas from time to time, and also enjoy browsing blogs and Pinterest for other suggestions. The following ideas have been Moriah's favorites, and were all easy and very frugal (if not free!) Maybe your little one would enjoy this sort of fun too...
Our most recent fun game involves an empty milk carton and clothespins (or "doll pins"... without a metal spring). I simply cut an opening in the side of the milk carton and removed the lid. I also covered the edges of the hole with masking tape so that they wouldn't scrape Moriah as she reached her hand in and out. The object of this game is for your little one to drop a clothespin in the top of the milk carton and then remove it at the bottom after it fall through from the hole in the side. Remember babies learn in simple ways!
This is a helpful activity for your little child's fine motor skills, and fitting the clothespin through the relatively small hard is easier said than done for tiny hands. I made this for Moriah about a month ago (or more) when she was 10 1/2 months old or so. I showed her how to do it a few times (for maybe 10 minutes or so?!), and helped her by tipping the carton so that it was easier for her. She didn't have much success with it then, independently or not, but LOVED to hold and carry around the clothespins. While we've had it within reach of her since, she hasn't noticed it much and maybe played with it one or two others time at the most. Then, we had friends babysit this weekend while Matt and I went on a lunch date. They told us that Moriah crawled over to the milk carton and dropped the clothespin in right away to show them! I was shocked and hadn't seen her "new trick" in person at that point. When our friends left, Moriah was very interested in her new found skill and played with the milk carton and clothespins over and over uninterrupted. She's been happy to play with them for the last couple of days as well, and works independently now. She likes it most when I cheer for her after the clothespin falls in, and concentrates to complete the task.
It's amazing to watch as she's just at the point of indepedence while still being challenged a bit. (If you're a current or former educator you'll recognize this as Vygotsky's "Zone of Proximal Development" which I just checked on wikipedia to make sure my memory hadn't failed me!) This is right when learning happens and mastery is being gained. Matt and I have both shared that we can almost see the wheels spinning in her mind as she plays with toys like this. I originally found this idea here, from The Imagination Tree blog.