I love watching BabyRoX explore the world. It’s so fascinating to me how he engages with each new object, how he explores textures and tastes and functionality. I love giving him simple toys and watching how he chooses to use them (as opposed to loud, plastic toys that buzz and beep and play 5 different songs and he can’t really understand cause and effect because every time he touches the toy something new happens!). Since he is older now, and able to sit up on his own, handle toys, and understands object permanence, I’ve started giving him treasure boxes to explore each day. I purchased several different types of boxes at Michael’s craft store and each week I fill them with different items. One box has colorful pom poms in it. Another has a variety of wooden shapes – a sphere, a cube, an egg, a peg. Another had feathers but I just changed it and put different types of string and yarn in it. We set aside time each day for focused exploration. In the Montessori tradition, children sit on a work mat – I haven’t gotten him a work mat yet since he usually only spends 5 minutes or less with the treasure box, but I should probably start using one soon so he gets used to the ritual of putting away his other toys and having some focused time exploring different objects.
I give him the treasure box and sit a little ways away and just observe him. Sometimes he is more interested in the box itself. Sometimes he dumps everything out and then chooses which item to put in his mouth first. Other times he takes items in and out of the box. Everything goes in the mouth at this stage, and that’s an important part of his sensory exploration, so I try to give him items that are safe for mouthing, but I also let him play with items that aren’t necessarily infant-friendly. I watch to make sure he isn’t going to hurt himself or choke, but I also want him to explore on his own. I wish I could see his thoughts!
In the grand scope of the day, this is just one adventure of many for him, but he seems to enjoy opening the box and discovering what is inside. It’s amazing how intently he can focus on the objects, turning them over and over, passing them from hand to hand, exploring the taste and texture with his mouth. As he gets older, I plan to introduce items to practice fine motor skills with – jars with lids for opening and closing, or little slots for putting coins or beans in… keys and locks… different sizes and shapes of buttons to sort… the possibilities abound! It’s a simple activity and it costs very little money and hardly any time to put together. And I could seriously watch him for hours! I can’t wait til he is talking and telling me what goes in that lil brain of his.
I always love suggestions of other fun, age-appropriate activities – please share!