I was recently asked by a friend who’s expecting his first baby whether we got any sleep when Alia was a newborn. My quick answer was: We’re still not really sleeping :p And we miss sleeping in on weekends heheh… So when you have a newborn, feeding the baby and getting enough sleep are the main priorities of many parents. While I was on leave for the first 6 months of being Alia’s mom, I missed teaching my students. So in between nursing and taking some catnaps, I decided to be Alia’s very first teacher! 😀
Here’s a glimpse of our lives then… Feel free to ask me any questions about the activities or materials that we used. 😀
Water play: our very first messy play
Alia has always liked bath time so I thought she’d like to play with water in some other way. So I created a super mini and shallow pool for her.
All you need is a large and shallow baking tray, a bunch of toys, and warm water! Oh for easy clean up, put a large towel underneath this. She wasn’t afraid to dive right into the tray and basically stayed there for awhile splashing the water.
Sensory board: touch them, feel them
One the things that Alia liked to play with during tummy time was this sensory board. Babies love to explore things with their tiny hands, and this was a great way to allow her to discover interesting materials.
For this particular board, I used a thick board (I cut a piece of a large Amazon shipping box) and I gathered different materials (from top left clock wise): paint brush, wooden floor tile, carpet tile (all tiles are obtained for FREE at Home Depot!), thick rope, colored rice in a plastic, wool threads, fuzzy pom poms, aluminum foil, another carpet tile, foam stickers, and bubble wrap.
All are attached securely using a glue gun. Babies like to pull things and they’r stronger than you think, so make sure that you do some quality assurance (A few minutes after Alia played with it, the foam stickers fell apart, so bye bye to stickers for now :p).
Sensory bag: squishy bag!
I taped several sensory bags on our wooden floor for her to explore while she roamed around the room.
I used ziploc bags, the freezer bags since they tend to be more durable. I filled them with clear hair gel (get them at the dollar store for a cheaper price), water is also possible. I then added a bunch of buttons, glitter, and sequins. You could also add color to the liquid by adding food coloring. I taped the bags on the floor. but later took them off when Alia was able to sit up on her own.
Be sure that the ziploc bags are properly closed, double and triple seal them if needed. Also every now and then, check to see that there’s no leakage. Super easy but super fun for babies to explore!
Discovery bottles: rattle rattle, shake shake
One of the first #diytoys that I made for her was this set of discovery bottles. Babies can explore different materials using their eyes, hands, and ears. When they play with the bottles, you can use various words to describe the materials.
I used the small water bottles (the bottle on the left) since they’re small enough for Alia to try to play with during tummy time. I then filled them with colored rice, colored pasta, cut up pipe cleaners, pom poms, coins, and water + glitter. Basically you can fill the bottles with anything that might interest your baby. Super easy to prepare! 🙂
Be sure to seal the lids for safety reason. I didn’t use glue gun this time since I wanted to be able to to change the fillers, so I just glued the lids with some duct tape.
She still plays with the bottles till now – we make music with them!
I also made a rattle toy that was easy for Alia to hold since the ones at the stores were too big for her tiny hands.
I used a plastic shower ring, a ribbon, and a bell. I basically wrapped the shower ring with the ribbon and added the bell. Just make sure that the bell is securely attached.
Last but not least, my favorite thing to do with her is…
Reading books: We did a ton of read aloud, both fiction and nonfiction.