Stuck at home? We feel you.
This pandemic is not fun. At all. We're thinking of you, and we know it's hard for all the moms and dads out there. To help make it better, we've created some Valentines-themed activities to have some fun with your baby, across multiple ages!
❓ If you don't have any felt to make these simple cotton hearts, consider using other baby-safe items like Duplo legos, or even a few pacifiers!
🚨Ensure that the items you choose are not choking hazards and always supervise your baby during these activities!
🚼Valentine's Pick-Up and Pinching 💘
➜ For more fun, grab a paper plate or a top to the box and show baby how it opens and shuts. Hiding the hearts from them and opening it back up again. Peek-a-boo! This will help them begin to understand object permanence and provokes their curiosity.
ACTIVITY TWO: For 9-12 months. Place the clothespins on the edge of a box. Help baby learn to use a pincer grasp to open the pins and take them out. Show your baby how the clothespins work and allow them to take a turn mimicking you. Be patient as this is a skill that takes practice. He may enjoy just knocking them off the side of the box to start.
➜ For more fun, place the clothespins on the edges of the felt hearts and watch him pull them apart over and over again.
👶 Why do this?
- Fine Motor: Working with clothespins is a classic fine motor skill that builds as they develop from a young toddler all the way to preschool ages. Pincer grasp develops over the ages of 9-12 months, so don't be surprised if your baby doesn't master these activities on the first try. It takes practice and time.
- Sensory: Felt is a soft, unique new texture that builds on your baby's sensory experiences.
- Hand-Eye Coordination: Allowing your baby to perform tasks with his hands helps his brain learn to process the skill. His movements will continue to become smoother and more coordinated as he continues developing these skills.
Early vocabulary: As you play, try and use new words to describe the items like hard, soft, red, pink, same, different, big, small, inside, and outside.
🚼Crawlers and Pulling Up! 💘
ACTIVITY ONE for CRAWLING babies (7-10 months): place felt hearts (or shaker eggs like we have) on the floor spaced out to help encourage crawling and exploration.
ACTIVITY TWO for PULLING UP babies (9-12 months): Line up the felt hearts on a table surface or somewhere where the baby can work on 'side-stepping'. Place the hearts about 8-10 inches apart from each other and encourage your baby to move along the table grabbing them.
🚨As always, be sure to support your baby and be there in case they fall, and supervise at all times!
🚼 Clothes Pin Fine Motor Activity
🐥For 10 months+
Grab your clothespins and clip them to a surface that is easy for your baby to access. In this activity, we used some large pink Duplo legos upside down. We also tried putting them on the edge of a wooden toy box that worked well too!
🤏 Let your baby play with the pins and practice opening and closing them. Watch to see how they try and use their fingers to do it. Do they use their index finger and thumb? Do they try and open it with their whole hand or palm? Show your baby how to do it a few times and then let them to try and mimic you.
👉 Mix it up: Let them try alternating different fingers along with their thumb to open it. For older babies, you can encourage them to pick up small objects like felt hearts using the clothespins or remove the pins that have been clipped to another object.
📦 You can use the edge of a cardboard box for this too (A great way to reuse some of those Amazon boxes around your house!) If you don't have a box handy, pinch them onto a baby gate or a paper plate!
👶 Why do this?
-This is a great activity to practice fine motor skills with your baby and work on pincer grasp (Using your pointer finger and thumb to hold something). Mastering a pincer grasp is a big step for a baby as it shows that their brain is starting to coordinate their body's movement with their tiny little muscles. This typically happens around 9-10 months but even older babies can benefit from more practice on this.
🤔 What are fine motor skills? This is really all about the coordination of your baby's movements in their hands and fingers! (ie: pinching, gripping, picking small things up).
🤚 Learning how these mighty little muscles in their hands work helps them with necessary skills later on in life like zipping, buttoning their shirt, using scissors, writing, drawing, tying their shoes and so much more!
📚 Looking for some Valentine books for bedtime with baby?
Here are some of our favorites!
- "Guess How Much I Love You" by Sam McBratney ($4 on Amazon)
- "Snuggle Puppy" by Sandra Boynton ($5 on Amazon)
- "Hug Machine" by Scott Campbell ($7.18 on Amazon)
♥️ Happy Valentine's Day!
Have any other favorite activities to do with baby at home? Share them below and/or tag @curiousbabyplaytime in your Instagram posts or stories!
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