Babies are little balls of adorable gooeyness, like loaves of squishy dough waiting for an adult to move along with them or demonstrate movement. This is what makes baby storytime a challenge and a blessing. While you can do any laptime activity (that’s appropriate) and not worry about them wandering off, they also have very limited capabilities regarding self-control so you must be comfortable communicating to an audience of adults. Which I am totally down for doing. Naw, for real, I got this. Much like storytimes, babies would not be able to enjoy my new program Baby Art Playground without their caregivers.
So now I’m bringing the action, bringing the funk of crafting fun for even the littlest tykes. Baby Art Playground is for ages 0-14 months, the same as my weekly storytime. There are three parts to this program:
- Main craft
- Sensory bins
- Toy area
This program veers away from Hands-On Ones and Twos because the main craft is made by the caregiver to be used later by the baby. The craft could also use baby to complete it (like handprint/footprint art), but the baby is not getting much out of it–which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because the parents love the final result and aren’t they people, too? But I still wanted to model activities for baby development. Enter sensory bins and a space for toy discovery and socialization. Children learn through play and experimentation. Exploring a sensory bin allows them to discover new textures and practice fine motor skills. Also, our library programs are a great way for parents to see that mess can be fun!
Last Monday was the first Baby Art Playground and our main craft was Peekaboo Puzzles. The supplies included:
- 10-20 Photographs of family, friends, and things that were important to baby (from participants)
- Magazines for those that forgot to bring photos
- Fine-tip sharpies
- Jumbo Knob puzzles or chunky puzzles
- Cotton balls
I went with the three puzzles below. If you order the puzzles directly through the Melissa and Doug website then you receive BOGO. In the past, I have also taken the slightly worn puzzles available for play or check out in the Youth Department and perused thrift stores or consignment shops for nice looking puzzles. The most popular puzzle at the program was the First Shapes puzzle because they could use more photographs and the shapes were a bit smaller.
The directions were as follows:
- Take your puzzle piece and trace over the image with the sharpie
- Cut out your image and affix in the slot
- Play a game of guess who/peekaboo with baby–talk about the shape on top and the person underneath. Use this experience to communicate and talk with baby!
Parents and Caregivers were extremely appreciative of the program and loved the opportunity to sit down and create a meaningful project for their babies. Although the cost was a bit high, the results were well received.
Little Literacy Librarian, Storytime Katie, and I will be presenting about crafting programs for ages 0-5 at the Illinois Library Association Conference this October. Have more questions? Come check us out!