Activities for toddlers and babies
Not only are massages beneficial for toddlers and babies, they also have the power to help them calm down and relax while enabling the formation of an emotional bond between the massager and the massage recipient. For all these reasons, I have chosen to create a theme on the subject. Have fun massaging the babies and toddlers in your group who show an interest.
Display pictures of babies and young children being massaged on the walls of your daycare. Trace the contour of your hands on pastel-coloured paper and cut out the shapes. Hang them from the ceiling to represent the gentle touch of your fingers during massages.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
To greet your group in the morning, transform your daycare to represent the plush atmosphere of a massage studio. Set battery-operated tea light candles here and there and hang a string of small lights from the ceiling. Dim the ceiling lights and use an essential oil diffuser to fill your daycare with a lavender scent. Play relaxing music and set soft cushions and blankets on the floor. Let children explore the décor as they arrive.
Leave a bottle of moisturizing lotion (beware of allergies) next to your changing table. During diaper changes, gently massage children by executing circular movements on their tummy. You can also massage their lower back. This form of massage is especially helpful to relieve constipation.
Scented facecloth massages
Add a few drops of lemon juice to a bowl of lukewarm water. Soak a facecloth in the bowl. After lunch, use the facecloth to massage and wash children's hands and face, avoiding their eyes. Encourage children to smell and manipulate the facecloth.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (listen)
Take advantage of this theme to introduce the children in your group to soft music. Explore lullabies, instrumental music with sounds of nature, classical music, relaxation music, etc. During your various activities, play several different types of music.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (smell)
If you are using sweet almond oil to massage children, have fun playing with the scent of your oil by adding a few drops of a different essential oil at each session. A very small amount of essential oil will suffice. Lavender essential oil and mandarin essential oil are interesting choices. Caution! Certain essential oils are not recommended for babies' delicate skin.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (listen and touch)
Feathers and soft music
Play soft music and set a large container filled with feathers on the floor. Use the feathers to caress babies and toddlers. Let children manipulate the feathers as they wish. They will love using them to tickle their early childhood educator and friends.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Makeup pencils and body paint
Let older toddlers paint or draw on their own body to experience a simple massage. They can, for example, draw on their hands or stomach (supervision required). At the end of the activity, hand them moistened facecloths they can use to wash off the paint or pencil markings. Avoid using red and black pencils or paint since these colors can be difficult to wash off.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Soft blanket massage
For this activity, you will need a soft silk blanket. Place babies and toddlers on the floor. Gently glide the blanket back and forth over their body to represent a gentle massage.
My body parts
As you massage children, name the different body parts you touch to enrich their vocabulary.
Which body part shall I massage?
In a bag, deposit laminated pictures of children's body parts: a hand, a foot, a stomach, etc. If you wish, you may also add pictures of different parts of their face such as a picture of a nose and a picture of mouth. Encourage children to take turns picking a picture out of the bag and identifying the illustrated body part. Briefly massage that body part before letting another child pick a picture out of the bag.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
Fill a large bin with different types of textured balls: fabric balls, soft balls, plastic balls, rubber balls, etc. Gently roll the balls over children's arms and legs if they are comfortable with it. Let children manipulate the balls as they wish.
Massage children as you recite various songs and rhymes with your group. Follow the rhythm.
Early childhood educator
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