When parents notice and understand the developmental stage baby is going through, they get better at knowing what activities will appeal to their baby the most. Remind them that a baby’s mouth is still likely to be their first ‘test zone’.
In SKIP Whakatipu booklet Te Pihinga 2 page 4, Pēpi says: ‘I use my hands, eyes and mouth all together to explore…I notice small details.’
Ask the whānau:
- What have you noticed pēpi doing with their hands and fingers lately?
- Have you noticed them using their fingers to explore little details?
- What things are you not happy about them playing with?
- How do you manage that?
Encouraging testing with nesting
‘Cause and effect testing’ is when baby does something over and over again to see if the same thing happens every time. An activity that encourages this is nesting and stacking objects. This is another way to help baby practise their problem-solving skills.
Plastic cups that fit inside each other are great for this activity, and they can be safely stacked into a tower. Bring 3 or 4 with you to the visit, or ask parents if they have some they’re happy to use.
- How will we introduce them to baby?
Encourage and affirm parents' ideas.
- Shall we put them down in front of baby and see what baby does?
- How about we just watch and see how baby goes about exploring them?
Sometimes adults want to ‘show’ baby ‘how’ to play with an activity — for example, ‘Look, baby, these cups fit inside each other, and see, they can be built into a tower!’
The reality is, baby won’t go straight to nesting and stacking the cups. They’ll explore them in their own developmentally appropriate way using their senses. They’ll look at them, mouth them and maybe bang them together to make a noise, long before they figure out that they can be nested or stacked.
A parent’s role is to encourage this exploration and show baby how interested they are in what baby is doing.
- How can you show baby you think it’s interesting too?
- What could you say or do to let them know that?
Offer suggestions if parents need some ideas. We could:
- bang them together to make a noise
- hold them out for baby to grab
- hide them under a cloth to see if baby will look for them.
When baby has had plenty of time to explore the cups, then it might be appropriate to show them what else can be done with them — for example:
- how they fit inside each other and can be tipped out again
- how they can be stacked and knocked over.
- What did you notice pēpi doing?
- What else could you use to practise stacking or nesting that would be safe for baby?
Taking time to enjoy baby’s stages
Support parents to enjoy the moments of this developmental stage. Help them to slow down and encourage the exploring involved. Dad and mum can further encourage baby by describing what baby’s doing. Older siblings will probably want to go straight to the ‘nest and stack’ part of this activity, and that’s fine, as it will be a reflection of their own stage of development.
How does this topic relate to the SKIP resources?
Baby Wall Frieze – Homai ngā mea hei tākaro māku - give me things to play with
Six things children need - Te ārahi me te māramatanga - guidance and understanding