As Makenzie gets older we're really getting into a good routine. In the morning she has a good 20-30 minutes of free play but I struggle to keep her occupied in the afternoons. I've been thinking and thinking about what I could do to help us pass the time, as well as help her little brain develop. It seems like the only thing that keeps her attention is taking things out of cupboards and drawers and exploring them. I decided to modify her favorite (messy) activity and make an exploration box.
Essentially all you need to do is go through your garage, cupboards, drawers, pantry, etc. and find items that you think will intrigue your baby (and of course is safe for them to play with). I tried to find things that intrigue all of the senses but I'm still working on it.
So here's what's in this week's box.
White Nonpareils (sound)
a square of fine sandpaper (touch)
ribbon (fine motor skills)
2 candy canes (exploration)
gum wrapper (she loves shiny things)
2 black rocks (touch, sound & exploration)
a strip of blue painters tape, made into a loop, sticky side out (touch)
paintbrush (exploration, touch)
empty MAC eyeshadow box (exploration)
formula scooper (exploration, sound)
contact case (exploration)
2 different colored hair rubberbands
To add a sense of smell I need to buy a cheapo salt shaker and put "smelly" things in it such as a cut up lemon or coffee beans. This is such a great activity for getting your baby to explore his/her world and to learn about different shapes, textures, sounds, etc.
Makenzie's favorite items were the two rocks, which she played with for at least 15 minutes and the nonpareils. She explored everything for at least a second or two but most things for longer. The key to this is to frequently switch up the items in the box and you MUST supervise them while they are playing. This isn't something that you can do and then leave them to play because although the items aren't harmful they could be if swallowed, etc. This has given me some sanity and I hope it will give you some as well :)