If you haven't seen it yet, The Baby Club is a new TV programme available on Cbeebies and BBC iplayer to interact and stimulate young babies. Having said that, Mason is four now and he was gripped watching it too!
I think one of the main reasons I adore this new show is because it shows parents and carers how household items can provide lots of entertainment at home, which you know is something close to my heart and the reason why I developed playPROMPTS activity cards. And because they're household items, you can have them ready before the shows starts so you can join in at home. If you follow the presenters or The Baby Club on social media, they will give you prior warning for the items you will need! Brilliant!
The Baby Club is a fantastic idea for anyone at home with a baby. The presenters Giovanna and Nigel are softly spoken, calm and dare I say...not too cheesy!! The combination of stories, songs and household items as well as a calming session work brilliantly and it's almost like attending a baby class without leaving the house which can be a godsend when surviving on minimal sleep!
I am also a big fan of the way they encourage you to attend local baby classes. I recieve messages on a daily basis from parents at home with young children feeling very lonely and isolated. I think for anyone daunted by the idea of attending a class, this is a brilliant step in the right direction. And anything that encourages play is a win from me!
So, having watched several of the first series, I thought I would make a list of suggestions for ways you may want to continue playing once the show has finished. Afterall, you've probably already got the items at home!
Something The Baby Club suggests is that you prepare the focus item before the show and hide inside a soft bag or pillow case. I love this, what a brilliant way to be able to interact with the show!
Below, I have suggested a few ways you can play with the items featured in the show and continue the fun in your own living room! The activities suggested are there to inspire you and I would love you to interpret them in your own way to suit your baby. Please remember to always supervise your baby when playing!
Firstly, one of the easiest ways to continue the play is by learning the songs and actions from the beginning and end of the show and begin to use those in everyday life. Singing to babies can be really calming for babies but also a lovely way to hold your baby close and let them hear your voice, feel the vibrations in your chest and keep eye contact with close face-to-face interactions.
Episode 1. Hats
- Use the hat to hide different toys inside, use it to play 'peekaboo' and make guesses about what it could be! Babies love to see a dramatic surprised face when you reveal the toy!!
- Let your baby explore the different textures of the hats, even placing it on their head if they wish
- Play a game, putting the hat on different parts of their body or yours and let your baby pull it off! Put it on their hands, feet, knees etc
- Make up silly rhymes with words that sound like hat!
- books: Hamiltons Hats by Martine Oborne
Episode 2. Ribbons
- sing the rainbow song and pick out the different colours in your ribbons
- turn an egg box upside down and pierce each compartment. Thread a ribbon through the holes leaving a small piece poking out to invite your baby to give it a good pull! Great for their little hands and grasp!
- Tie ribbons to a coat hanger and place near a window or outdoors for your baby to watch blowing in the wind
Episode 3. Sponge
- place two bowls infront of your sitting baby, add water to just one bowl and a handful of sponges. Encourage your baby to squeeze and fill the sponge and transfer it to the empty bowl. (A flat bottom bowl or box is much harder to tip over!)
- play around with the words splish, splash, splosh and describe the sound the water makes
- explore washing simple plastic toys or plastic plates in a shallow bowl of water, why not add bubbles to make it extra special!
Episode 4. Socks
- fill little socks with a variety of fillers such as pasta, rice and smellies like herbs then secure with an elastic band. Encourage your baby to explore the socks by smelling, touch, shaking and squeezing
- put socks of soft toys for your baby to pull off! They will think it's so funny!
- Older children will enjoy washing and pegging socks on a washing line
- book suggest: Foxes Socks by Julia Donaldson
Episode 5. Cardboard Box
- fill a large box with blankets, cushions and soft toys for a cosy den
- Turn a large box upside down and pierce small holes in the roof to poke fairy lights through, it makes a lovely calming space for babies
- hide toys inside small boxes for your baby to shake and open to discover!
- Book: Not a Box by Antoinette Portis
Episode 6. Hairbrush
- gather a selection of clean brushes such as toothbrushes, hairbrushes, dustpan, nail brushes, paint brushes etc and place in a basket for your baby to pick up and explore the different textures
- explore the brushes dipped in small amounts of water
- let older children paint with just water on cardboard, they will think it's magic when it disappears!
- sing songs about brushing hair and teeth!
Episode 7. Bath Toy
- explore plastic cups in a shallow tray of water, let your baby fill and empty the cups
- pour a small amount of water onto their highchair table for them to splash with their hands!
- try some new toys at bath time, what about bottles, plastic building blocks or plastic people or animals?
- Have you ever tried a colour bath?! You can buy bath tablets that colour the water but not skin, it can make bath time super inviting! click here to buy bath tablets now on Amazon (affiliate link)
Episode 8. Wooden Spoon
- explore a wooden spoon with pots and pans or boxes, this could be a noisy one so why not take it onto a blanket outside?
- Why not draw a simple face on the spoon to use as a puppet to talk to your baby?
- use the wooden spoon to make marks and draw in sand or a sensory box
- Book: Spot Bakes a Cake or any cooking books, including recipe books!
Episode 9. Cardboard Tube
- Use a tube to gently whisper in your babies ear or sing them a song
- Use the tubes to look through out of the window and talk about the things you can see
- Thread scarves or ties through the tubes for your baby to pull out
- Slice the cardboard tubes into rings and use to hang on a mug tree
Episode 10. Leaves
- Gather a selection of leaves and sticks from the garden and seal inside a ziplock bag for your baby to safely explore without putting in their mouth
- salad or vegetable leaves are wonderful to add to a shallow tray of water for your baby to explore, scrunch and rip!
- older children will enjoy printing or painting with vegetable leaves on paper!
- book: A Tree Is Nice by Janice May
It is really important that when playing with your baby or setting up activities, that you supervise at all times to ensure they are safe. Nobody knows your baby like you so only attempt those activities you feel suits their likes and ability.
And then finally, for anyone still looking for more ways to play with their baby at home, don't forget we have baby playPROMPTS activity cards containing 100 simple play ideas like these using items from around the house. And 50 pence from the sale of every pack is donated to the Baby Bank Network Charity in Bristol, so it's nice to know you're helping another baby who may be in need.
Please note, this blog piece is in no way paid for or linked to The Baby Club, just a personal opinion from someone with a passion for play!
photos credited BBC