Age: 6 – 9 months
Goal: To lay the foundation of following directions while developing concentraion and problem-solving skills, a sense of cause and effect, and hand-eye coordination.
Materials: mat, an object with a piece of ribbon attached
- Prepare the work and get out the mat.
- Put the object on the mat with the ribbon facing you and the infant (you’ll both be sitting on the same side).
- Reach out and slowly pull the object toward you with the ribbon. When you have the object pick it up and examine it.
- Then, put the object in another place on the mat and place the ribbon in front of the infant.
- Invite the infant to pull the ribbon. (Ex, “Now you pull the ribbon and get the duck.”)
- If the infant pulls the ribbon and gets the object allow him/her to examine it.
- Once the infant has let go of the object place it on another part of the mat and ask the infant to pull the ribbon again, but this time place the ribbon just out of the infant’s reach.
- Continue for as long as the infant is interested.
- When the infant is finished, take him/her with you to return the work and mat to their proper place.
Extensions: increase the number of objects (up to 4, but use the same color ribbon), increase the complexity of the objects (such as things the infant is unfamiliar with), or choose objects of different colors but identical in size and shape.
When I did this with my son, I have to say, I was genuinely surprised at how quickly he caught on. What I loved is when I told him to pull the ribbon, he’d look at the object and then the ribbon, pause, and then pull the ribbon to get the object. The first few times he’d just reach or crawl to grab the object, but then he’d listen, look at me, and grab the ribbon!
It seems so simple, but it’s so exciting to know that he’s processing what I’m saying and following directions.
Next time, one thing I’d do differently for Extension 2 is choose two objects whose words don’t sound similar. The objects I choose were ‘duck’ and ‘book.’ While the ending sounds are different to my little guy there wasn’t much of a difference.