Miss Cherub (nearly 6 months old - Jeez that's gone quick) wants to grab at everything these days.
She isn't shy to express herself when something gets taken away from her either; call it spoilt, call it a temper but boy are we in for it. She is almost sitting completely unassisted, still a little wobbly & growing up all too fast. Won't be long and she'll be following me wherever I go.
Each evening I throw a discovery tray together of things she is allowed to explore with some assistance. It really helps us get through the fussy time after tea but before bed.
I love watching how babies (& kids) first learn. I put this discovery tray together for Miss Cherub so that she could explore with making sounds, experiment with handling new objects and have her first play with some DIY instruments. She thoroughly enjoyed herself and it reminded me just how curious babies are and hoe the simplest things can aid in their development and learning.
I made 2 DIY Baby shakers by adding beads & lucky stones into plastic containers. These are much like discovery bottles but with the purpose of shaking to produce different sounds.
Do the lids up tight and enforce with scotch tape so there's no chance of a choking hazard & they're good to go. These are a great way to introduce babies first understanding of vocabulary, for instance " shake!" hold the bottle and shake it, pass it to your baby and help them shake it, then say shake as they do it. It didn't take long and Miss Cherub was shaking them with a big grin on her face.
Another shaker for babies just learning to hold objects is an easy maraca made from some dry pasta in a baby cup with handles, do the lid up tight and use it as a maraca that is easy to grip.
The baby discovery tray was a cooking pan. Inside it were a couple of metal egg cups to clang together or to bang onto the tray, a spoon to bang with as well as a wooden xylophone stick (be careful and supervise all the time as young babies may wave these towards their face) and a honey dipping stick.
There was also a bell to ding, the DIY maraca's and a bowl.
The egg cups and the bowl were definite favourites.
"Do you like my hat?" I asked with the bowl on my head & it wasn't long before she was trying to lift it on her head. Unsuccessful of course but it was a good gross motor experience, lifting and turning the bowl around.
Every time she lifted the bowl I put the egg cups in it and she was tipping them out, over and over and over. Babies do love repetition and learning through cause & effect.
Miss Cherub quickly learnt to bang things on the side of the cooking pan to produce sounds & found shaking the side of the pan rattling all that was in it quite amusing. I think she surprised herself when she lifted it up by the corner and everything slide out.
The bowl was easiest to grab as it was largest so she explored this for a long while, banging it on the side and against the bell. She had a quick attempt of banging the spoons onto it but mostly enjoyed tipping things out of it, passing it between her hands and turning in back and forth.
Not only did she discover how to make sounds but it was a good way for her to explore with her grasp and practise handling, holding and manipulating a variety of objects in different shapes, sizes and weights. The bell was a tricky one to master but she gave a big grin when she worked out where she had to hit to produce the ding sound.
Who said babies can't have fun with every day objects. Sometimes the best toys are the ones you find in your cupboards and not only do they provide lots of amusement but they help with development in many ways.
Baby Learning Concepts:
Exploring every day objects
Cause & effect learning
Linking vocabulary to actions/objects
Exploring objects of different weight, size shape.
Gross Motor Skills
Ideas for Extension:
Baby Maracas/Shakers can be made in different sized bottles with different objects inside to make a variety of different sounds.
Explore different objects made from different materials, for instance bowls in a variety of sizes (try a mix of plastic, metal, melamine)