This is a question that I find myself asking constantly. Glo-Worm, like most babies, loves to play, to go for walks, and to do anything stimulating. But I find myself at a loss sometimes during our long days together. 8 hours is a long time with a baby – even if she still naps twice a day! (I know, lucky me!)
So I’ve been doing some more research on things I can do. The fact of the matter is, I can’t do much more than I’m already doing. Glo-Worm is almost 14 months old and she doesn’t walk yet. A lot of our day is dedicated to strengthening her legs and getting her used to walking. She pushes her push-toy around (and sometimes ends up doing it on her knees – oh well) and walks around the furniture. Walking will open up a whole new world to her – and get her off the floor, where she eats any little speck of dust she can find. (Very frustrating for me – I do my best to try to get her to stop!) She likes to play with her toys, of which she has many – except that she gets very bored after about 5 minutes. I’ve mentioned that TV time is limited to 20 minutes, and I try most days not to put it on at all.
So what’s left? We go visiting, or we go out to play places and Early Years Centres (which are a wonderful invention dreamed up by the Ontario Government – they allow us to go and socialize and play with lots of other toys and kids!). We walk around the mall, or go to the library. I find getting out at least once a day – sometimes twice – helps me with my own boredom, and stimulates my creativity so that I can figure out other things to do with Glo-Worm. It helps Glo-Worm with her own stimulation and interest in the world.
Some things that have worked for us include:
– Playing peek-a-boo: this teaches object permanence and is a really fun game to play with a baby. Glo-Worm’s whole face lights up when we play this game. You can either play it with the baby herself (putting a blanket on her head and gently lifting it off to discover a smiling face) or with yourself (covering yourself with a blanket and letting her “find” you), or with a toy.
– Stacking: I like to get regular kitchen bowls – plastic, of course – and let Glo-Worm stack and unstack the bowls. This teaches spatial awareness and can occupy her for hours. Repeat with other stacking toys.
– Shaking: Glo-Worm has no end of rattles, and she loves the sound of making rhythms and noise. She will crawl around the house shaking her toys happily for at least 15 minutes. This is great for audio stimulation as well as just plain old fun!
– Rummaging: I’ve suggested to Glo-Worm’s mom and dad that they allow her to rummage in one of the kitchen drawers full of plastic, non-sharp kitchen bowls and other utensils. She loves opening and closing the drawer and taking out whatever she finds. A few kitchen utensils like a wooden spoon and a spatula can be the perfect toys for banging, waving and simply examining. They agreed and now she has three drawers that she can rummage in!
– Singing: I do a lot of singing with Glo-Worm, complete with clapping and other actions. She may not be able to do the actions, but she loves the songs and they’re ones I learned at the Early Years Centre I went to before I started working with her. When we go to the EYC close to the house, she knows the songs and some of the actions, so she’s able to participate without feeling awkward or shy about it.
These are just a few things we do that can occupy our time. While I prefer to be outside with Glo-Worm, soaking up the sun and doing things that are fun for both of us, she actually needs these activities to help her learn and grow. I just hope she starts walking soon, so that we can include park time (besides the swings!) in our daily activities!
What do you/did you do with your little ones?