|Babies||Walkers to 2||2s to 3s||3s to 4s|
Overview and benefit
Unlike hearing, baby’s sight develops slowly over the first 6 to 8 months of its life. This is not due to eye development, which doesn’t change, but brain development which is responsible for processing everything the eye is seeing. At first a baby’s brain is not sufficiently developed for them to follow objects with their eyes. Very young babies often go cross eyed when trying to do so! But around 5 months they are able to watch things that move quickly and enjoy practicing this skill, which also teaches them lots about the world around them and the rules that govern it.
Babies can start to track movement at about 8 to 12 weeks. Initially they will have to move their whole head to move their eyes but by 2 to 4 mouths they should start to acquire the skill of moving their eyes to track movement. By around 4 months they will also start to reach out and grasp for the object they are tracking. Also at around the fourth or fifth month, babies’ brains have finished learning how to combine the pictures from each eye coming into a single image for full binocularity. This will then allow them to perceive depth and distance more accurately.
- Prop of choice
Two to three weeks
How it works
To encourage babies to follow moving objects with their eyes. Sit in a large circle and have the parents set off their toy at the same time. Smaller babies may also like to track the objects on their tummy for some extra tummy time.
- Traction cars
- Zhu Zhu pets
- Spinning tops (large and small)
- Clockwork toys
What to do in the class
Lay a large blanket down in the middle of the hall. The babies sit or lay on the blanket while you put some soothing music on. Use a bubble machine to blow bubbles across the babies (or you can blow some bubbles yourself). Ask the mums to help blow the bubbles in different directions so some are closer to the babies than others. Also mums could catch them and bring them closer for baby to look at. Encourage mums to point out the bubbles to their babies. Older ones could try to catch them or pop them. Possible nice music tracks could be: Black and Gold by Sam Sparro; Midnight at the Oasis – Maria Muldaur; Summer Breeze – The Isley Brothers.
Ensure the floor is wiped up of any splashes once the activity is over as bubble solution is very slippery!!!
Sit the babies and parents in a large circle. Give out a variety of different moving toys to the parents. Encourage the parents to show their toy to their baby and engage their attention. Then ask the parents to set the toys moving in the circle. Ask the parents to redirect any toys approaches them and keep as many moving as possible. Babies may like to be laid on their tummies as they watch the toys.
Adaptations for older/younger children
What to do in a nursery setting
Encourage the staff to work with babies on a one to one basis where possible.