The first time I looked after her after she started confidently moving around was quite a challenge and I really had to re-think what toys I put out for her to use and where I put them. This led me to write an article that is feautured on pg 66 of this month's "Practical Parenting" magazine - called "Baby on the Move"
It's all about how life (and play) changes after baby starts to move around and includes some ideas on "play stations" to set up for a baby who has just become a "toddler". These play station ideas are really open-ended, so they suit children aged from around 9 months, all the way up to children who are almost 2. They can be varied according to the interests of your child.
When I did this for my little Ally, she played independently for over an hour, keeping herself busy with what I had set up. I just made sure I wasn't far away so she could come and visit and play near me if she needed to and I also made sure I checked in on her every now and then, asking her questions and showing her toys she hadn't discovered yet.
Here is what I set up for her:
Some noisy buttons to press
This was a couple of months ago now, but I looked after her just the other week and did a similar set up, with the play stations just a little more elaborate now she's older. She still had her cubby, but I added some blankets, food and a high chair for the baby and also set up a pretend cooking area for her.
The wondeful thing about these play experiences is they can keep little ones busy and engaged for long periods of time. Setting small staions up around the room like this allows children to go from one thing to another (as young children are prone to do) and then back to things they enjoy, without getting bored. It also gives them lots of opportunity to
- practice motor skills
- problem solve
- have an effect on their environment
- create and imagine
- use their memory
- practice language skills
- play out things they see mum and dad do
I'm looking forward to her next visit. I have some ideas up my sleeve taht I can't wait to try out. I'll keep you posted