A Look Back at A Year of Infant Activities

My baby girl turns 1 today and I am in shock that it’s already been a year.  As any parent feels it’s hard to imagine what reality was before this little book ripping, happy squealing , grape eating mama’s girl was here.  So today’s post is devoted to all the infant activities we did this past year .

Emotions Board Book

Peek -A-Boo Fruit

Discovery Bottles

Baby Block Painting

Baby’s First Sensory Tub

Baby’s First Finger Painting ( psst! It’s Sweet Potato!)

Peek-A-Boo Fruit

When people complain about my stance on flash cards they will often say to me ” Well how to you teach them the names of things? ” Well besides simply talking about the things you play with , things you eat and things you see as you go about your day you can play games like this with your littlest learners, but please don’t push that’s not how anyone especially infants learn. This should be fun, when they decide they are done move on to something else. Also this activity is a one on one activity, an adult needs to be able to reach the fruit easily at all times for safety reasons.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some light bowls we are using Dandelion Bowls made from corn ( no worries about safety and they are light) , whole pieces of fruit. A knife for cutting some fruit for tasting after ( depending on your child’s ability to eat solids, you could use purees too).
  2. Start by putting one or two fruits under the bowls, I like that the bowls don’t completely cover the fruit because it teased her into investigating .
  3. As they turn them over label the fruits for them saying something like ” What have you found? Oh it’s an orange! Oranges are food. ” As they explore narrate their exploration but don’t lead it.
  4. Another reason to use safe bowls – everything ends up in the mouth at our house.
  5. After they discover all the fruit cut some up, mash some etc… for them to taste . This picture shows how close I am to her as well.
  6. The activity might just bring other people to the table too.
Please remember all infant activities require constant adult supervision – never do anything your child isn’t ready for( follow your child not how old mine is or your friend’s baby who can do xyz is) and if you are doing this with someone else’s child please be careful to only use fruits you know don’t pose any risks to the child, some babies react to the peel of citrus fruits so it’s always important to check.

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Books About Fruit


The Very Hungry Caterpillar When I sat down to think which book is my absolute favorite, the one that kept coming back into my mind was this classic. As a child the holes the caterpillar made in the pages fascinated me, the colors enchanted me and I remembering being amazed that the caterpillar turned into that huge colorful butterfly! In university while studying elementary education I chose this book as the literary inspiration for a cross curricular unit study for grade 1. I made math lessons with fruit, science lessons about observing insects and the butterfly life cycle and health lessons about smart food choices. Then teaching preschool I used this awesome book to teach the days of the week, basic counting and more. When I was pregnant I chose this book along with a few other favorites to be my son’s nursery theme. Now that my son is 3 we often pull down the Very Hungry Caterpillar felt board and play with it as we read the story. To me this book is a given, and for every stage of my life, student, student teacher, teacher, mother it has come along for the ride!

Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z
by Lois Ehlert is an alphabet book extraordinaire! Wonderful paintings of fruits and vegetables seem ultra simple and it is but somehow the way the author has pieced this simple book together is brilliant. Maybe it’s that children learn about food at the table multiple times a day and feel proud being able to identify not only some of the letters but some of the pictures too! From a teaching standpoint I love that there are both upper and lower case letters on each page! This book will grow with your child, and beware it will also make you
hungry!

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear (Child’s Play Library)
by Audrey and Ron Wood is a fantastic book that children adore! The story not only unique in that the narrator speaks directly to the mouse , it’s illustrations will enchant your child’s imagination and make the most overtired parent smile. The little mouse is trying to keep the strawberry away from the bear, and his adorable attempts to hide it make my son laugh every time! Great book!

Full Disclosure : I was given the Dandelion bowls free of charge to try out  , I was not compensated to make mention of them.


DIY Board Book About Feelings

make your own board book for babies

My son and I had a blast making this photo board book for my 9 month old daughter. Not only is the book entertaining for her , creating it was a lesson about emotions and giving to others for my son.  All in all it was a family project that gets played with a lot.

  1. Gather your materials .To start you will need to take photos of different emotions .  This is a great chance to talk about each of these feelings with your kids. I sat my son on the couch and we chatted between pictures. It was such a wonderful talk , we shared what makes us happy, sad, worried etc… and really listened to each other. We also made lots of silly faces!
  2. Now after printing out the pictures you will also need an old board book, contact paper, card stock , scissors, a marker and double stick tape. Let me explain why I used a book and paper instead of just laminating sleeves like I have before like for the Eye Spy Book.  My daughter likes to put the book in her mouth. I don’t let her just chew on it but the laminated pages can be really sharp if you get it at the right angle on sensitive gums. So I opted for the board book. If you are making this for older kids a simple laminated book would be great.
  3. Next write out the emotions with marker on the card stock ( of course if you have a printer you can just use it). Cut.
  4. Time to do the layout. My son helped choose the paper from our stash and I taped pieces of card stock on each page to cover the existing illustrations. Add the photo and emotion.
  5. Cover with contact paper . I cut mine so it covered the paper but didn’t go all the way to the edge .
  6. Fill the whole book.
  7. Make a cover page, I tried to get my son to help but he was busy playing pretend spy( Oh and that is my art closet packed up behind him… we are down to the basics until we move).
  8. Let your baby explore!  She lit up and unlike most books she didn’t immediately try to eat it. She gently explored touching her brother’s photos. Success!

** Safety Notice : Only you can decide what is safe for your baby. This book is made to be used with an adult caregiver , it is not a baby toy. **

Shamrock Shakers – Discovery Bottles

shamrock shakersI love including my son in making something fun and useful for his sister. This discovery bottle is a fun way of using a holiday theme and gives your infant something fun to play with too. Remember with infants all activities and projects are intended to be used only when directly supervised.  Also only you know what is safe for your child, if they aren’t ready for an activity bookmark it and try it when they are.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some plastic bottles with lids a hot glue gun, a shamrock bead necklace, scissors and some rainbow ribbon. I also use tape on the bottles that run the risk of making huge messes if they open.  For the gel and sparkle bottle you will also need a funnel,  some gold sparkles and green shower gel or shampoo( got mine for a buck at the dollar store). For the rainbow shaker bottle some pom poms in rainbow colors.
  2. Start by drinking the water. 
  3. Next take off the label.
  4. Next cut the shamrock necklace into the bottle. This is awesome for fine motor development and takes a lot of patience. I was amazed my son was not only able to do this without help but how into it he was. They grow up so fast!
  5. Next add the sparkles.
  6. Next add the gel. 
  7. I used hot glue to glue the top on. Then more on the outside to seal it, and wrapped it in tape. Be careful some bottles are so thin that they will melt with hot glue on contact. If you are worried consider using crazy glue. Whether you are using hot or crazy glue should be done by adults only
  8. Cut a small piece of rainbow ribbon and glue it on.
  9. Let everything dry and cool completely .
  10. For the rainbow shaker Cut the necklace in.Pop in the pom poms. Glue the top and ribbon on as above.
  11. Play!  For the photos I had her in the crib so the bottle wouldn’t roll too far when I was trying to take a photo. I am not suggesting giving it to your infant for independent play, these discovery bottles are for closely supervised play only.

The rainbow one has lasted forever. 2 years later it’s still kicking!

Baby Block Painting

Painting with an infant is messy. I don’t like using paint brushes with tiny kids because paint flings everywhere, they look like spoons so they tend to go straight in the mouth and even ones with thicker handles are hard for little hands. Instead using easy to wash plastic toys like these blocks are a great way to paint and explore .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper, paint, blocks, plastic plate, painter’s tape and an eager baby.
  2. Start by using the painter’s tape to secure the paper. This is a must for us, for whatever reason my daughter has a serious fondness for paper. This keeps it as art instead of food.
  3. Pour some paint on the plate.
  4. Dip the block in and go for it.
  5. She examined it for a long time.
  6. Then started moving it around the paper. I took the other block and tapped it on the paper but she wanted to roll . It’s tempting to show babies and toddlers how to do things by holding their hands in yours and moving them, resist that urge when it’s a free exploration like this . Show them by example and then just narrate what they are doing. *( ETA – reader Brooke asked for an explanation about this and I want to make it clear that it’s not wrong to help your child do tasks by holding their hands , I was referring to free art explorations like this. My reasoning being that by letting them explore with their own motivation that they will direct their own play. I hope that clears it up ! Thanks Brooke!)
  7. She managed to get it up to her mouth but because the blocks are big not much made it in and was easy to wipe off.

With toddlers and preschoolers you can make fun shape prints with the blocks by slamming it down so if you have multiple ages this is a fun easy project for a rainy day.