Kaion is now 5 months and he is crawling, now I don’t know if that is early but I know that I have encouraged and supported his development through play. He spends a lot of time of his tummy and loves tummy time. Tummy time is important from birth as it helps promote strong neck muscles. Practicing tummy time daily benefits baby growth and development, it strengthens neck, legs, arms, back. It helps babies meet their developmental milestones like rolling, sitting and crawling. He spends most of the day on his tummy and hates being in any swing/ rocker/ bouncer.
Some babies may not like tummy time and it is important to start them slowly and build up the time. Simulating your baby while they are on their tummy makes it more enjoyable for them. When Kaion was 3 months old I made him a Sensory Tactile Board to entertain his tummy time play. At 3 months babies are discovering their hands, when they feel different textures it stimulates the brain. The board I made had sponge, foam, fur, polystyrene and a few other textures. The different textures helps babies understand that different textures feel different. The board also develops hand eye co- ordination. I used language like soft, rough and bump to expose him to different words.
Fast forward to now he is loving the treasure basket I have put together for him. The benefits of treasure baskets and heuristic play are endless. Treasure baskets are filled with everyday house hold items where babies are able to explore and discover the properties. Babies learn cause and affect (if I bang this toy on the floor it makes a sound). The idea is that there is a range of objects that stimulate all the senses. Items can include domestic items, natural items, items that make sounds, items with a scent and items with a variety of textures.
Heuristic play is allowing babies the space and time to discover them using their senses. You need a shallow basket so when baby is on their tummy or sitting up they can take objects out easily. All the contents that are inside are open ended play items, nothing plastic or too small that they can choke on. Create a cosy area for your child, this could be in a teepee, with cushions, maybe some fairy lights. Monitor your child and check the contents regularly to ensure everything is safe, discard of any broken items accordingly.
*Never leave baby unattended*
I will change the contents of the basket according to his age but currently the basket is filled with natural and stainless steel items which include
- Emergency blanket
- Small pot
- Wooden spoon
- Pastry brush
- Rattle from barley
- Rolling pin
- Sensory bottle with coloured water
*For the sensory bottle and rattle I made them myself using travel size bottles
I have made this part of our morning routine, after the school run I lay his rug out, put on some relaxing music and watch him play. I never interrupt his play as there is no right or wrong way to play with the items in the basket. However if he is pushing something down his throat i’d gently take it away. I let him play until he is bored, this could be between 5-20 minutes, he will usually go down for his morning nap after this. Currently his favourite thing in the basket is the emergency blanket, he has loved this since OT introduced him to him, it is shiny, and makes a great sound.
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