Babies and creativity - Part III
A few basic activities for introducing very young babies to creative exploration
Very small babies sometimes have difficulty sitting in a chair, even surrounded by several cushions thus making painting impossible. Babies will not take pleasure in creative expression if the activity does not correspond to their developmental stage. Here are a few simple tricks which may help introduce younger babies to creative exploration.
The first cutting experience:
For a baby, tearing paper represents a first step towards cutting. Provide old catalogues and let babies tear the pages and crumple them up (they love the sound this produces). Older babies will enjoy making paper balls and stuffing them in plastic containers. This can be a great variation for this activity.
The first painting experience:
It is very important to let babies touch their food. Baby food has a texture which is much like paint. A nurse once told me that a person who does not like to get his or her hands dirty could be a child who did not explore textures. Simply deposit a spoonful of yogurt on the high chair tray at the end of a baby's meal. Let the baby spread it across the tray using his fingers.
- Add "a colourful sound" to empty plastic bottles. Example 1: a tiny bell with bits of tissue paper or sparkles. Example 2: diluted paint with a handful of dried peas.
- Cut squares out of colourful transparent paper and glue them on a bottle. Use colourful tape to outline like a frame to strengthen the edges. Not only will it make noise when manipulated, babies can see through the bottles.
- A great suggestion for a baby's first rattle is a light scarf. Choose several different scarves in a wide variety of colors. Add a drop of vanilla essence to awaken the baby's sense of smell!
- Have a color day! Wear clothing of a certain color. Manipulate various types of paper with different textures, but the same color. Eat foods which are the same color, etc.
Exploring the texture of materials is part of creative development. Babies will use textures in their future crafts. Soft fabric, feathers, rough objects, papers with different textures...visit your local Dollar store and look around your daycare for things you could use to create a manipulation bin.
Make sure that any material you present to babies is safe. You must be present at all times during exploration periods!
In conclusion, creative exploration can begin at a very young age. This column demonstrates this very clearly. Since there are no final products to show parents, you may take pictures of the material or the baby manipulating the material.
In my next column, I will provide ideas for paint. I will include tricks which enable you to diversify structures and a few creative activities you may try.
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