Baby rattles are popular among babies and toddlers. These toys are often provided when children are very young, but as they grow older, they are quickly set aside and forgotten. This theme will suggest ways to explore them.
Activities for toddlers and babies
Box of baby rattles
To present your theme, set a box containing several baby rattles on the floor before children arrive in the morning. Let your group open the box and explore its contents as they arrive. Throughout the week, fill the box with different rattles.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
I can make choices
Set a basket filled with baby rattles next to your changing table. Every time you change a child’s diaper, show him the basket and encourage him to select a rattle that he can manipulate throughout the routine.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (hear, look)
Select a few rattles that produce very different sounds. Hang them from the ceiling within your daycare. Walk around the daycare with your group, touching the rattles to hear them tinkle or jingle. Doing so will encourage children to look up. They will appreciate the different melodies.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (touch, look, smell)
Squares of fabric represent the ideal first rattles for very young children. They are light and easy to move. Select fabrics with interesting textures, such as silk. Pour a few drops of vanilla on each piece of fabric (providing children are not allergic). Let your group manipulate the scarves.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Use empty plastic bottles to create homemade rattles. Fill each one with a variety of different colors. For example, you could insert red necklace beads in one bottle, tiny blue aquarium pebbles in another bottle, dry green lentils in a third bottle, etc. Fill another bottle with pink feathers to create a silent bottle. Seal each bottle with hot glue and let babies and toddlers explore your homemade rattles. Encourage them to listen to the sounds and admire the colors (constant supervision required).
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
A rattle from home
Pick a day and invite children and parents to choose a rattle they have at home and bring it to daycare. Leave the rattles out where children can explore them freely during the day. Before sending them home, be sure to wash the rattles.
Hang a small baby rattle on each child’s high chair using a piece of colorful ribbon. Make sure the ribbon is not too long (for safety reasons). Let children explore cause and effect. They will have fun dropping their rattle and pulling on the ribbon to retrieve it repeatedly (fishing). Constant supervision is required throughout this activity.
Under the blanket
To develop object permanence, hide a baby rattle under a blanket. Manipulate the rattle so that children hear the sound it produces. Let babies and toddlers lift the blanket to discover the toy.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
In your yard or daycare, set up a few play tents. Hide a few rattles in each one. Let children go from one tent to the next to discover the rattles.
The sound of my rattle
Have fun listening to the sounds produced by different rattles. Try to reproduce the sounds with your mouth and encourage children to do the same.
Early childhood educator
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