Looking & Learning Cricket Crate

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We’re on to Veronika’s second Cricket Crate, with themes around developing eyesight and visual ways for your baby to explore the world. As a reminder, it looks like Cricket Crate is no longer available through Kiwi Co, but look for their Tadpole line which has replaced it!

Here’s what our kit contained this month: the featured product was a mobile to put together, and we also received a new book about our Cricket pal from month 1, this time titled Where’s Cricket?

The mobile was fantastic, if not short of ingenious. First off, the assembly of it is a perfect craft to engage older siblings. Travis loved helping slot the two wooden bars together.

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The four soft sea creatures that hang from the mobile feature snaps, so they can easily clip on…

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…or off again. You’ll see why this is ingenious in a moment.

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I mounted the mobile above Veronika’s bassinet for new visual stimulation, but the kit also contains instructions for how to permanently mount it in the ceiling above the crib. We skipped the drywall anchor this time around.

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Those soft toys will be great for baby’s eyesight on the mobile, but don’t stop there. Simply unsnap and attach to a stroller or car seat and voila – take-along toys!

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This turned out to be just what we need; Veronika is at her fussiest if she’s in the stroller ready to go and the rest of us are still getting on coats and boots.

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Now there was so much to see!

You can also attach the toys to any playmat. We gave the sea creatures a little swing to further delight her.

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The toys can also be used to encourage batting for objects. We placed the seahorse near her hands, and encouraged Veronika to reach out for it, which she seemed to enjoy.

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From here, the kit explored other ways to develop a baby’s gaze, beyond the limits of the mobile. Many of the suggestions are ones I’ve already blogged, such as a position change. Veronika likes looking around now from sitting up in my lap…

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…and here she is checking out holiday cards in an over-the-shoulder pose!

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You can also use tummy time to increase vision, propping up a board book – why not Where’s Cricket – to encourage head lifts.

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Suggestions in Wonder magazine were nice reminders to return to a few old favorites, like dangling ribbons or scarves.

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We also used fun patterned socks as little puppets.

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A few final games: We pulled out the classic peek-a-boo, both behind my hands and behind a see-through scarf. Big wide eyes!

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We also repeated an imitation game, sticking out my tongue to see if she would copy. Almost there, Veronika!

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This months Wonder magazine was equally full of advice for parents, including what to expect in baby’s vision milestones, brain development, and a doctor’s opinion on screen time for this age (hint: none).

Online bonus material included downloadable black and white cards, also great for developing baby’s looking skills at this age. We tried ours in the bassinet, and then later taped up during tummy time, which got Veronika to lift her head for a few moments.

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And of course we cuddled up with suggested reading, including lots more books designed to stimulate vision:

Black & White by Tana Hoban

Gone Wild by David McLimans

I Kissed the Baby by Mary Murphy

Look, Look by Peter Linenthal

My First Book of Color by H.A. Rey

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See you in month 3!

Picture Frame Winter Scene

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Here’s one of those crafts that didn’t exactly turned out as I imagined! My little artist had his own plans, but the whole point was the fun and the crafting moment together, not perfection.

To start, you’ll need a simple frame (you can find these cheap at a craft store, measuring about 5×7 inches). Travis loves the mechanics of removing the back off a frame, so was delighted to discover our project enabled him to do so.

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Cut a piece of leftover holiday wrapping paper to fit the glass of the frame, and insert.

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I set out acrylic paints and invited Travis to draw any winter-themed scene that would fit nicely with our Christmas tree background. He chose white for snow, and I encouraged him to paint a snowman, thinking of how the body is made up of various circles.

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Travis had his own plans, making a big snowy blanket of white. “It’s covering the trees,” he insisted.

 

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Luckily at this point I snapped a pic, because he soon decided he needed to “snow” over the trees completely with white paint. I laughed but didn’t tell him this rather negated the point of having wrapping paper inside the frame.

He then wanted to mix other colors over his white. “I’m an artist!” he declared, doing swirls of paint.

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Well, we didn’t end up with a winter scene, but we did end up with a good time!

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I encourage you to have fun with these, though. Your children could paint something quite beautiful in front of the wrapping paper background, whether snowmen or ornaments or anything else that fits the season. I’d love to hear what they come up with in the comments!