How to keep your little ones engaged, specially during summer vacation(only 0-2 age group)
Cooing All The Way
Run, run as fast as you can;
You cannot catch me,
I am the Gingerbread man…
Babies and toddlers are big bags of fun and laughter and you cannot like the gingerbread man put them in a mould. They are the newest scientists, singers, painters, scribblers that you can discover with. When the outside temperatures are soaring and the heat is unbearable, cool down with them. Sounds impossible? Give it a try.
Spread out a foldable, washable mat. Place 2 large bowls, one half filled with water. Place the baby’s soft rubber toys around that squeeze and laughs along. Help your little one to dip those tiny hands into the bowl and splash around to wet the rubber toys. Show how water flows from one to another. Let a lot drip over and then splash further. A wet baby with playful mirth is a delight in summer. There is discovery of a new element that does not stay in place. There is learning that not everything is hot in summer. Water is cool and then the final realization that we cannot drink all the water that we see. The formative lessons before getting them into a pool. There is water that we can drink, which comes in a bottle or a cup or a mug and water to be played with which, comes in a bucket or a bathtub or a pool.
After this morning fun get them to have a bath and your relaxed happy baby is ready for the next feed/meal.
Have you looked at spending some quiet moments with your little one and an album with favourite people and moments? Do try. Let your child flip the pages as you narrate a story for each photograph, identifying the people, the event and perhaps even a song- happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you… Watch your child’s face glow as the moment comes back and perhaps you will have to revisit that special photograph for zillion times. A baby tests your patience. I am sure loving parents have it in plenty.
Do you remember the pleasure of crushing paper within your palms? The crumple, the krish-krash-kroosh sounds it makes. Cut a few squares of paper and let your child crumple them up. Then prepare bowls of any 3 colour of easy, removable baby paint. Help your child dip each crumpled ball into a colour, immerse it fully and then place it on a separate sheet kept alongside. Repeat this for each of the crumpled balls of paper, using a different colour each time. Let the child make a design as these are placed on the separate sheet. With your child’s help leave it in a safe place to dry explaining each process as you go. Tell them they will get back to these colourful balls of paper the next day. What you have helped your baby to do is to associate a sound with paper, the malleability of paper, the colours that you use to be repeated for association and even if the child has placed them in a bunch on the separate sheet the learning of arrangement and order is seeping in.
The next day the dried colourful balls of paper can be put together as a garland or stuck to the sheet in a shape chosen by your baby. If the crumbling continues so be it. It shows your baby loves sounds and perhaps will be an auditory learner for life.
Have you tried to build a fun obstacle course for your crawling, walking baby? It is a super-duper activity. Lay bedsheets on the floor and soft cushions and pillows to make a course. Use your baby’s favourite space or a passage way. Place a table under which your baby can crawl through and so can you. Remember you have to teach your baby first. Don’t get stuck under a low-sized table! Then place a basket and a toy next to it. Show how the toy has to be placed in the basket before moving forward. Next keep a favourite book which is inside a transparent file. Show your baby how to take the book out of the file and then crawl/run to the end where a prize waits.
What is the prize? For that you must reach the end along or before your baby to give a hug and a kiss and play or sing his/her favourite song which is the prize. You might also want to sit down to read the story book that was a part of the obstacle. If you look closely a lot of fine and gross motor skills are explored, patience and perseverance is brought in and the joy of doing and completing a task is being realized through hand-eye coordination. Parents are encouraged to change objects based on the likes of their babies. A balloon or building blocks, a rubber ball or a swimming float could be great substitutes.
Parents, what cannot be substituted is your presence and playing along with your baby. There lies pure joy and happiness. Like the gingerbread man your child is off to see and discover a new world of pure bliss with you.