One cold winter day I stood by the window to enjoy the last few drops of my deliciously warm pumpkin spice cappuccino. While big flakes of snow floated outside my window, the chill in the air ran up my spine. I contemplated another cup of cappuccino. Sweet Pea was playing quietly on the floor so I slipped passed her into the kitchen. As I savored another sip of pumpkin goodness I turned the corner to find Sweet Pea sitting in the middle of a pile of baby wipes. She looked up and laughed. How could I be upset at her curiosity and her sweet smile? I wasn’t laughing because all I could think about was how wasteful she had been. The wipes were no longer sanitary but I couldn’t throw them away. I’d have to find some new way to use them.
Sweet Pea thought this was a game. She was having fun. Unfortunately, I had a new problem. Anytime I forget and leave the container within her reach, she is going to pull out the wipes. Is this a game I want her to continue to play? Yes, it’s a wonderful game that will teach her a lot about fine motor skills and consequential actions.
Because of the waste I can see in the future (not to mention the frustration for me) is this something I want to punish her for? No. It’s never right to punish a child for being a child. She was just being curious and exploring her environment. That’s a good thing. I do need to teach her not to do this to the wipes and the Kleenex box, that would not be acceptable. How can I solve this so we both win?
I went surfing on the web. I clicked from one idea to another until I found a post for a fabric wipes box. Someone else must have had the same problem. Mommies are so creative. I loved the idea and had to make it right away!
- Empty baby wipes container (A Huggies container is great for this activity. The inside is rubber so you don’t have to worry about scraped fingers from hard plastic)
- scraps of fabric
I cut my fabric pieces into 5×5 squares. You can hem the fabric or cut it out with pinking sheers to prevent fraying. I left mine untouched and we have not had a major problem with fraying strings. As Kim Bond at aspottedpony.com describes you can decorate the outside of the box for boys or girls and use this activity for older children as well. I chose not to decorate the box right now. Sweet Pea likes the Winnie the Pooh characters. As she gets older and we adjust with other things to hide in the box, we may decorate it at that time.
I cut 15 pieces of fabric and threw in some felt squares as well for a different texture. I put the fabric pieces in the box and let the fun begin.
Sweet Pea loves this box. She sat for long periods of time pulling each piece out of the box. She works to add each piece back to the box. It’s fun to watch her not only using motor skills but her reasoning skills as well. Once the pieces are back int the box, she grins and begins to pull them all out again. I’m sure all this repetitive action is building strong new mental skills.
She also likes to pull each piece out one at a time with one hand – while holding all the pieces together in her other hand. It is so cute to watch her try not to drop any fabric while doing the transfer.
The fabric box is a great toy to work on a few different skills on the pediatrician checklist.
The box helps our kiddos work on fine motor skills by grasping each thin fabric square. Remember: Using your body isn’t a cognitive given….a baby has to learn many of the responses adults take for granted.
At 9 months your pediatrician will ask if your baby picks up an item with the tips of their thumb and finger. If your child is using the fabric box you can answer with a confident “yes”. The fabric box is a fun activity to help develop this skill.
At 9, 10, and 12 months your doctor’s questionnaire will also ask if your baby can find a toy when you hide it under a piece of fabric. I added this activity to the fabric box game. Sweet Pea giggles and loves to play “where is it?” After she has pulled out several pieces of fabric, I grab a small toy and hide it under a square of fabric. When I say, “Oh, oh no….where is it? she looks for the toy. When she moves the fabric and reveals the toy she squeals with excitement.
She has tried to hide the toy back under the fabric. It is a challenge for her to completely cover the toy since the pieces of fabric are small but she continues to try until the toy is hidden. I feel a great sense of pride when she looks up at me triumphantly. She has the look that only accomplishment and success can bring.
This simple toy is easy to make and provides many opportunities for learning. Thank you Kim Bond at aspottedpony.com for this great idea.
I hope you have as much fun with this toy as we have. If your child is sitting up on her own, I encourage you to make this great toy right away!! Please leave your comments. We would love to hear your stories.
Stay tuned next week for another activity!