This was my first ever Baby Playground program and the first for our library. Basically, I wanted to have a giant baby party that practices fine motor skills. I chose to focus on pincer grasp, gross motor skills, and eye tracking. It was so much fun! We had over 40 people attend. Babies were everywhere. Rice was everywhere (we used it as “sandbox” material).

We started out with the Hello Song that all of the Listener classes do.

Then we broke out our brand spanking new parachute and sang three songs.

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Singing parachute songs. You should have seen their faces when the parachute mushroomed up and blew their hair straight up. Pure joy.

These were the songs we sang for parachute time:

“Peek a Boo, I See You” (tune: Frere Jacques)

“Rain is Falling Down”

“Grand Old Duke of York”

Here were our stations. I made all the toys from Montessori and Pinterest sites that focused on developmental skills for babies.
play-stations

To focus on the eyes, I did high contrast by making a light table out of a wrapping paper box filled with Christmas lights and parchment paper to make it translucent. Then I cut out different farm animals, a barn and a farmer on black paper and laminated it (slobber proof). The parents would make up a farm story, have the animals talk to each other or sing songs like EIEIO and make the animal noises while the babies played with the farm shapes. Then I made a bubble station by laying down a tarp and putting out a bubble machine. I also had a take-home craft where the parents made bubble snakes (sans food coloring) and could blow bubbles with their kids. They loved watching (eye tracking) and catching the bubbles.

rainbow-bubble-snakes-outdoor-funPincer Grasp Activities:

  • pom pom drop
  • stick pull
  • pipe cleaner play
  • ribbon pull
  • scarf pull

At the end of the program (1 hour), we sang out goodbye song over by the parachute again. The parents (and I) were amazed that all the babies lasted the entire hour without getting bored and having a meltdown. At the beginning, I introduced the skills and stations. I told the parents they could do them in any order, stay as long as they wanted at a station, and choose not to do some stations. If their baby loved scarves, they could sit there the whole hour. By the end, parents were saying, “so… can we do this next week?” “Can we do this for the 2/3?”

The setup and takedown were kind of overwhelming, but it was totally worth it, and now I don’t have to remake all the toys. I wrapped them all in packing tape for easy cleaning instead of having to throw them out. I want to do a parachute play for 4-5-year-olds where we do 30 minutes of parachute songs/games.