Arrange a Musical Playdate

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Classic children’s songs are so much fun for babies. Parents will likely know the words and motions from their own childhood, making them favorites to pass down (think Itsy Bitsy Spider, Wheels on the Bus, or Open Shut Them). When you make it a group event, it’s just that much more fun!

Today, Veronika and I joined a group singing at our local library. She was thrilled to receive props like scarves and puppets as we sang to favorites like Old MacDonald Had a Farm.

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This is a great way to see other babies in action, too, playing with instruments and moving around. Our group singalong featured an assortment of rattles and shakers.

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Another fun song for movement is Row Row Row Your Boat. After we rowed our babies’ arms on the classic first verse, the library added some cute new lyrics.

Drive Drive Drive your car (move your baby’s hands like a wheel)…

Chug Chug Chug your train (elbows swinging)…

and

Fly Fly Fly your airplane (arms out)

At home, I made up a few more silly verses. We rowed up a river to see a polar bear shiver, up the stream to see a crocodile and scream, and to the shore to see a lion roar.

You can continue the musical fun long after group time has ended. I’m a Little Teapot is another one that’s great for gross motor movement (and props!).

I’m a little teapot

short and stout

Here is my handle (one hand on hip)

Here is my spout (other arm out straight)

When I get all steamed up

then I shout

Tip me over

and pour me out! (lean over to the side)

The tip gets a giggle very time – mommy is sideways!

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If your library doesn’t have a musical sing-along for you to attend, consider being the host for a musical playdate. Have a few friends over whose babies are about the same age, and scatter all the instruments in the middle. Parents sing while babies bop and shake along!

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3 Baby Obstacle Courses

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Veronika can’t wait to break free from “pillowville” (the name I have for the way I currently block her in the playroom with pillows; it’s time to buy baby gates!), and she’s trying to scale the pillows constantly. Today I set up a few obstacle courses to develop her gross motor skills, and boy did she have a blast.

First, I placed a very low obstacle in the center of the playroom with a few toys on top.

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This is lower than couch cushions, so it was great practice for getting her knees up and onto the top, the last piece of the puzzle for her to work out.

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She was so proud when she reached the toys!

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You can make a similar “obstacle course” for any early crawler with low pillows or bean bags to crawl across. Toys at the end as incentive always help!

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Next up was more of a cerebral obstacle course. I had her practice zigging and zagging across the room by placing a series of enticing toys.

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First she crawled to bean bags hidden under cups.

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Then she had to zig to a tower of blocks.

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A current favorite music box toy was up next. She made a beeline for it.

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She probably would happily have stopped there…

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…so I moved it to the final point of her “maze” too. As she moved towards each group of objects, we also worked on language development. “Come get the blue bean bag!” “Can you get the square block?” The activity also builds math skills, believe it or not (the geometry of zigging and zagging) and fine motor skills as baby plays with each toy along the way.

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Finally, it was time for the big girl obstacle course! For this one, I set up the couch cushions so they formed “steps” and “ramps.” I did all of this over a soft floor mat, and added blankets along the sides as added protection against any rolls.

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She needed no encouragement at all; she wanted up! She headed for the toys at the top of the first ramp, still needing a bit of a boost on her bottom.

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About half way to the toys, she got tired. This is hard work mommy!

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I encouraged her with another boost, and she made it!

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Heading down was interesting, and I spotted her along the side in case of a fall. She decided to take a side route instead.

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Once again with a little boost she reached the top.

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What great exercise!

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Moon Crater Experiment

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Travis loves learning about the moon, and specifically how its craters were made. Okay, so this “experiment” isn’t exactly accurate, but your kids will have a blast launching “asteroids” at the moon surface to make holes!

To make our moon, Travis first poured 4 cups flour into a cake pan.

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Add 1/2 cup baby oil and mix until the mixture holds together; we found that hands worked better than a spoon for this purpose. Now we had moon dust!

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Next we headed outside to the “asteroid belt!” My proud astronaut discovered a trove of pebbles and very carefully selected some to bring inside.

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Place your moon cake pan on a layer of newspaper to avoid any mess. Wouldn’t you know, there was an ad featuring a view of Earth from the moon!

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Travis began launching our “asteroids” one at a time.

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He discovered that pressing the pebbles in a bit made a better crater than simply dropping them, and experimented with the difference between dropping them from up close versus up high.

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That’s one small drop for a boy, one giant leap for imagination.

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