As Squirm gets older, the ways he interacts and explores constantly change. Over the last few weeks, he’s become more and more active, and we’ve been trying some new ways to play with him. Here’s three of those . . .
3 Ways to Play with a 6 Month Old
1. Build a Fort
Squirm isn’t crawling yet. But he can roll, and push himself forward and backwards. So I thought about creating a kind of track, using pillows and other soft furnishings, for him to follow. However, he decided not to play to my rules, so clearly the track needed to be turned into a fort. Then it needed to get bigger.
A fort always seemed to be something we would do with Squirm when he was a lot bigger. However, it was really easy to use a sofa as one side (with easy hiding underneath) and various pillows and cushions to create the other walls. A couple of dining room chairs served to give us some more structure, as well as giving tunnels (which no one got in or out of, except a few stuffed animals. However, the humans did enjoy looking through them) and a way of creating a ‘ceiling’. Two undone ring slings created a canopy overhead, with the rings around the tops of the chairs and the ends anchored in other places. Add in some baby blankets as ‘curtains’ and a bunch of stuffed toys as ‘guards’ and you have a very comfortable place to hang out, play, read and giggle with your baby.
Although Squirm wasn’t 100% sure what was going on, the fort really did allow him to experience a lot of fun. He enjoyed watching us build it. He liked having a safe place around him (walls are fun to roll into when they’re soft) and it was brilliant for peek a boo games. At the end of the day, it was easy to pack up, ready for another day of fun.
2. Treasure Baskets
This is totally not my idea 🙂 I think I found it first on How We Montessori (which is a fabulous site, even if you’re not looking specifically for Montessori information). The idea is that the baby is given a basket of different objects, most of them everyday and regular, which they are able to explore.
With Squirm, we are slightly restricted to safe materials, because everything still goes in his mouth. I had some difficulty finding a good open basket of natural materials, but found a good sized plastic one at my local discount store, which is serving as a strong substitute. I’ve put a whole range of things in there at different times. Once I collected a range of balls for Squirm to play with, another time it was a collection of different spoons and ladles (he adored the ladle.
These baskets are brilliant when I need a few more minutes to finish something. I’ve found Squirm will sit quite happily with the baskets, taking out one item after another, examining them and carefully putting them aside. Mr Pilot and I sometimes join in the fun too – there was even a ladle vs. wooden spoon fight between Mr Pilot and Squirm 🙂
One of these days, I’ll make them as beautiful and meaningful as How We Montessori, but for now, we’re just having a lot of fun with them.
3. Rhythm and Music
This one was discovered completely by accident. We were sitting at the dinner table, with Squirm in his high chair, and he was doing his usual distracted looking around thing. I wanted to get his attention for something so I tapped on the table. The next day, Squirm started making tapping noices on the tray of his high chair. Since then, we’ve discovered that he loves clapping and tapping rhythms.
We’ve built this into our day in a few ways. Sometimes we sit down with him and play pat-a-cake or we just try to create a rhythm on the floor or with our hands. Sometimes he tries to join in, sometimes he just watches (or laughs at us). We’ve also increased the amount of music we listen to (a good excuse to make sure the TV is off) and sometimes we dance along, either with him or without him – not sure if it’s increasing his appreciation, but it usually gets a good laugh.
Of course, another way we’ve been playing with rhythm and music is through nursery rhymes. I recently got into an absolutely silly habit of singing every nursery rhyme like it’s a very serious piece of music. Adds tonnes of fun, especially during the difficult nappy changing time!
What’s the best fort you’ve ever built? Have you ever collected a treasure basket? What ways do you bring more music into your house?