This week, Veronika and I cracked open the last of the newborn three-pack from Kiwi Co., originally termed Cricket Crate, and now having shifted to Tadpole Crate. The theme of this last box was faces and emotions, and the keepsake was just what we needed – a new tummy time prop!
The tummy time mirror folds out in four panels on two sides, for eight visual panels total. You can lift the flaps and explore on each, where silly fruits wear different facial expressions.
These are great for starting the conversation with your wee one about emotions – hey there, silly blueberry! Hello happy banana!
Oh look, a sad cherry. I giggled and so did she!
Next, we experimented with four different ways to position the mirror:
Hanging in her bassinet (Note: this is great when I need to entertain her as I cook dinner!);
Upright for when she lies on her back;
Folded into a triangle for tummy time;
And lying on the floor for tummy time. This last she isn’t quite ready for yet, but it definitely encouraged head lifts.
Don’t stop there! The Wonder magazine had lots of suggestions for games. First, we played ‘Look BothWays’; I used it as a way to encourage her to turn her head to the right, since she favors the left. By putting the panels on the other side, she turned her head and strengthened the muscles on that side.
Next we played ‘Name That Facial Feature,’ similar to the game we play when she touches my face. This time, I touched the mirror, then the corresponding part on her face, naming each feature as I went.
Lots of wonder in her eyes!
It’s also great for helping your child learn their own name. Your baby won’t realize that the reflection is them – not until much closer to one year old – but this was a chance to say ‘Veronika,’ and point first at the mirror, then to her body. I taped a photo of her to one of the mirror panels to reinforce the notion.
Next we played ‘Emotional Me’; I made silly faces into the mirror, naming each emotion. To further this idea, I lay down next to her on the blanket (she looked so surprised finding us face-to-face!), and held up my phone in selfie mode. She was instantly captivated – who was that baby staring back? We went through emotions – happy, surprised, sad – and you could see her trying to copy each. Take some adorable pics while you’re at it!
Another great way to talk about faces and people is to go through photo albums with your child. Veronika loves the one I have with crinkly textures and soft pages, full of family pics.
Or you can even look at strangers; babies will take any faces they can get. We flipped through a magazine together, and I pointed out what each person was feeling, or if they were old or young.
Finally, start to actually engage your little one in “conversation.” Ask a question or make a comment then… Wait! Give your baby time to respond, and they will start to pick up on the rhythm of how a real conversation goes. I was rewarded with lots of little “ah ooh” and “ah geh” responses, and she seemed to happy to be “talking” with me just like she sees big brother do!
The book this month concentrated on emotions too, aptly titled Cricket’s Feelings. Don’t be afraid of getting overly dramatic as you read each page in this book – happy, scared, excited etc. You might feel silly, but Veronika was wide-eyed!
We also read:
Baby Faces by Margaret Miller
Huggy Kissy by Leslie Patricelli
Happy Hipp, Angry Duck by Sandra Boynton
Little Gorilla by Ruth Bornstein
Gideon & Otto by Oliver Dunrea
and From Head to Toe, by Eric Carle
The website bonus this month was a downloadable Tummy Time tracker. This sheet was definitely a reminder for a mom like me who never makes enough time for it.
Now it’s on my counter and jogs my memory every time I walk into the kitchen. As mentioned, this was our final Cricket Crate – eager to delve into Tadpole next, once the series is fully up and running!