From the youngest age, children learn through all 5 senses. They are touching different textures, tasting different books, hearing the cadences of their language, refining the images they see in front of them, and smelling new aromas of the world. Fremont provides two programs that focus on the sense of touch and allowing an infant to interact with the world around them–and mess is surely welcome. Our Hands-On programs are offered to one-year-olds and two-year-olds.
Structure: These are offered in between storytimes, generally on the same day of the week that this age group’s regular storytime is offered in order to align with patron’s schedules. Two or three crafts are offered, and I try to divide the group in half, so that one craft is not bombarded with the whole class at once. For the one-year-olds, I prefer setting out the activities after the announcements in order to discourage distractions. Two-year-olds can generally show constraint (don’t laugh). The program is free flowing, so patrons may leave whenever they want. After the beginning announcements, I serve as a photographer, guide, and general booster of pride (“that looks AWESOME!”).
Beginning Announcements: I start the program by reminding parents to sign up for storytimes. Then I give a general overview about the importance of art and play in a young child’s development. I emphasize that the PROCESS is much more important than the product. We’re not throwing pottery on a wheel or knitting a sweater. The development is in the process. Additionally, parents should expose their child to as many different materials and processes as possible. I then explain the activities we will be doing today and what skills their child will be developing through these activities. Then I open it up to full-out warfare! Not really. Everyone does stay fairly calm and engaged throughout the process.
Activities!: For the one-year-olds we did sensory bins with colored rice and flour and tactile boards with all sorts of fun feeling stuff. For the two-year-olds we played with cars by first painting with tire tracks then having a car wash.
One-year-olds: Sensory Delight
Two-year-olds: Cars, Cars, Cars
Feedback: The parents loved this opportunity to come and play and talk with other parents. They loved the simple ideas that they could take home and use.
Lessons Learned: My one-year-olds are not comfortable with sticky, very messy, or completely unfamiliar materials. I had a pumpkin guts Hands-On Ones and they were not into it, unless it was in a ziploc bag. Either the infants have a problem with it or their parents do (and the kids are picking up on that).
Inspiration & Resources: Pinterest. Duh. Check out my Pinterest wall for Hands-On inspiration.
Any other librarians doing craft-like programs for infants? Let’s share!
And one more thing–My handout–March2013 Handout!