May 29, 2013

Mystery Sensory Bags for Baby: Junk Drawer

Since I was pregnant with Kingston, we have collected a vast array of toys. We've purchased a small amount ourselves, but the majority we bought secondhand, received as hand-me-downs, or had gifted to us. We have an assortment of plastic electronic toys, wooden toys, soft toys, etc. However, we have always joked that the only things K wants to play with are things that are generally labeled as "off limits". He is all about the remote control, our cellphones, keys, wallets, etc. I find myself constantly torn because I want him to explore everyday items, but not so much all of our electronics. So lately, I have been giving him random baby-friendly household items to explore. Things that I used to take away, I offer (under close supervision) instead. For example, when I'm cooking in the kitchen I set some tupperware, a spatula, or bowls on the floor. When I am changing his diaper, I let him explore his brush, another diaper, or a baby wipe. He is so genuinely interested in exploring these items that he gets giddy over them. After doing a little research, I found that this is a form of heuristic play, a play which involves babies interacting with the world around them in the form of common items. 

In honor of Kingston's love of heuristic play, I am introducing a new series: Mystery Sensory Bags for Baby. I am focusing on certain rooms/places within the household to collect objects to be put in a brown paper bag for K to explore. For Kingston, the brown bag holds a sense of mystery in itself. He is so enticed by the concept of a bag of stuff. He NEEDS to know what is inside, and he loves to be the one to find out!



The first spot in the house that I decided to pull items from was our junk drawer. Yup, our junk drawer. Everyone has one. It is the household black hole where the most random things find a home. We have crazy items in ours, anything from bolts to playing cards. 


I tried to find items that offered different sensory explorations. I settled on these items to put in Kingston's first mystery bag: a bag of scented wax melts, sticky notes, a bag of bottle caps, a lint roller, a flashlight, a takeout menu, business cards, and a magazine. 


I cleared the area of all other toys and set the brown bag in the middle of the dining room. Kingston, who was in the kitchen trying to open all of the drawers (I need to install those safety latches ASAP!), came crawling over at lightning speed to see what it was. I was thrilled that he was excited enough to use his new speed crawl!


He spent quite sometime exploring the outside of the bag and contemplating how he was going to get inside. There was a bit of patting, some crinkling, and some pushing.


Finally, there was some tipping!


I asked Kingston questions like, "What's inside? and "What do you see?" But I wanted to let him investigate on his own as much as possible. I named each object as he discovered it. The first item he took out was the magazine. He waved it around a bit. Then, he put it on the floor and flipped through some of the pages. I pointed to the cars in the magazine.



What else is in here Mama?

The next batch of stuff he took out was stuck together. He examined the business cards and menu briefly, and then turned his attention to the sticky notes. 


Why didn't I think of letting his play with sticky notes before? It was hilarious. If you want to laugh, give your baby some sticky notes. He kept pulling a note off and then waving his little fingers around with the note stuck to the ends. Then I put one on his forehead, which was just pure entertainment! In his attempt to get it off of his head, he was convinced he had to look at it and pull simultaneously. If it was quite adorable. He thought it was really funny too. He was making little shrieking baby chortles that melted my heart.



Next, Kingston took out the lint roller. I knew this was going to be a hit when I put it in the bag. (On a side note, Dada is completely obsessed with the lint roller. He is crazy about removing every single dog hair from his jackets and clothes before going out. Weirdo.) As K pulled the roller out, it stuck to his fingers. He was so puzzled by it. He furrowed his brow and began passing it from one hand to the other hand experiencing the sticky sensation. He flipped it around and around. Finally, he put it to his lips. He grimaced when it stuck to his mouth. 


Kingston took out the scented wax melts and the flashlight next. I didn't get any pictures of him smelling the melts, but I held it up to his nose for him. He thought it was funny, but wasn't much interested in them. The flashlight was a different story though. 


I loved watching him explore the concept of light for the first time. He was so interested in the bulb, tapping the plastic with his little finger. He held it up to his eyes and face. Then he put it up to his mouth. He looked like he was about to tell me a ghost story! He had such a look of fierce curiosity as he examined each part. 


The last item in the bag was the bag of bottlecaps. These are my MyCokeRewards bottlecaps that I have in bags all over the house from awhile back. He pushed the caps around and shook the bag back and forth. He listened to the caps clack into each other. Then he put the bag on the floor and pushed them around. 


This activity was so much fun. It held Kingston's interest for a good half hour, which was wonderful! I can't wait to offer him more bags to explore because this is so up his alley right now. I liked giving him freedom to explore, but also help guide him by pointing out names and characteristics of the objects.

Stay tuned for more mystery sensory bags from different areas of the house! 

14 comments:

  1. Great idea, my baby is exactly the same at the moment and it's so hard, especially as he always wants what my 4yr old has got. I 'll give this a try.

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  2. Flash lights are always a hit with my boys too. I love the sticky notes idea though. So fun!

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    1. Thanks Dyan! K was so intrigue by the flashlight, and the sticky notes were a big hit!

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  3. Love it! I've already pinned it to try out with a little one I watch. And I am STILL giggling about the sticky notes!! :) Thanks so much for linking up with Stress-Free Sunday last weekend. It's always nice to see what you and K are up to!

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    1. haha Thanks for pinning MC! Let me know if you try it! It was so fun to watch him try to remove the sticky notes! :)

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  4. I love this! What a great idea.

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  5. I love this idea so much! The look on your baby's face says it all. He is learning so much from those simple everyday objects. Thank you so much for sharing this post.

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    1. Thank you so much Kristylee! :) I appreciate you reading! He really loves to explore the world around him, and it is super fun to get to watch him do so!

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  6. Featuring this in my WKC roundup this week! Kz LOVES anything that's mine... I can't wait to make him a bag full of goodies!
    xo Krissy

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    1. Thanks for featuring Krissy!! :) We made our second bag of goodies today!

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  7. As the owner of a preschool and child care business I know how important it is to create an environment where the adult does not have to keep saying No. With the sensory/mystery bag, you've done a wonderful job of turning your "No"s into, "Have at it"s. Yay for your son, the young ones in my care and the others who read about your idea!

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    1. Thank you so much Lucy! This comment totally made my day. That is the exact reason why we love heuristic play so much. I despise having to say "no" so often when he is just so curious about everything and how the world works. Mystery sensory bags helped him to be able to safely explore things that would generally be "off limits". He got so much out of it! :)

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