|Babies||Walkers 2||2s to 3s||3s to 4s|
Overview and benefit
Babies quickly develop grasping as an automatic response, usually around 3 months. But they need to learn to release the objects they grasp and to co-ordinate the movements involved in reaching for them. Encouraging babies to stretch for objects help them to learn this co-ordination, and at the same time strengthens their neck and arm movements. Once they have mastered reaching and grasping laying down, and are able to sit they then have to learn to do the same action whilst balancing and transferring their weight and keeping upright!
- Props for the babies to reach for (see list below)
- two to three weeks
How it works
This activity is all about encouraging children to reach for objects.
What to do in the class
With young babies, have them laying down in front of them and give the parent some interesting props suitable for babies. Encourage the parent to hold the objects, one at a time, out within reaching distance of their baby and ask them to take it. If the baby is on its back, they could hold the object above their head, or to each side, or even behind their head (as long as they can still see it). If the baby is on their tummy and happy, make sure the object is low enough so the baby can reach for it without falling to one side.
With older babies have them seated in front of their parent. Parents should hold the object far enough away to encourage the baby to lean forward slightly and perhaps even shuffle forward, but again warn the parent that they need to watch that they are not encouraging their baby to reach too far that they may topple. Offer the baby a toy so they have to reach out and grab it, then do it again, so they have to reach out and grab the toy with their other hand. Finally offer the baby a third toy and encourage them to put one of the toys they are holding down so they can take the toy you are offering. This takes a lot of thinking skills, as well as multiple stage co-ordination.
Sensory Tunnel – Get some big cardboard boxes, cut the sides off to form a tunnel and then fix ribbons, scarves and other dangling objects to the roof of it. Babies can crawl through or lie in the tunnel. You would need one box per four babies I would have thought.
Use a range of sizes so babies begin to learn whether they will need to grab with one hand or two.
Objects that are good to use may include:
- Small shakers
- Mega bloks
What to do in a nursery setting
Providing there is a one to three ratio of adults joining in the class this should work in the current format.