A recent question in the community forum about infant toys and play gave me an idea. Shana, the mother of a 9 month old, expressed concern that her boy’s occupation with books and “cruising” might not be “enough”, and asked if I could give “examples of what happens in your classes with this age group.” So, I made this video tour of our play space at RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers), where infants and toddlers, 3 months to 2 years old are fully absorbed in independent play each week.
Safety first. Infants and toddlers need gated-in areas so that they can play safely and feel free to explore without interruptions. We can put our minds at ease (and even go to the bathroom on our own, imagine!) when our baby is left to enjoy a safe and secure place.
As a substitute for the baby sofa you see here, use an inflatable wading pool (granted, easier to find in the summer than the winter) and line it with a blanket and a couple of firm pillows.
Infants 2-3 months of age and younger don’t need toys. They usually aren’t able to grasp yet, and are absorbed with examining their miraculous hands.
Instead of showing your baby new toys, wait, and allow the toys to be discovered.
This play space is much bigger and busier than necessary for a home setting. I was trying to include as many open-ended toy examples as possible.
This is just a small sampling of the types of objects that infants enjoy exploring. I’m hoping parents, RIE enthusiasts, child care professionals, and others who read here will share their favorite ‘play object’ ideas.
As someone who once made a living acting, doing commercials and voice-overs, I’m a little embarrassed by how rusty I’ve become. My blooper narration reel includes, “And here are some balls…all shapes and sizes.” (And we won’t even mention the camera work.)
For examples of babies in action using these toys, please see the videos posted in Shhh…Babies Playing
In all the years I’ve observed infants and toddlers, I’m still surprised each week by the creative new uses they find for objects in their environment. I never tire of watching babies explore. Create a space for your baby and prepare to enjoy!
(For links to some of the toys you see here and more, please check out: 6 Gifts That Encourage Child-Directed Play)