I love it when my two siblings play together. Most of the time they don’t, the play alongside each other or Monkey plays while LM watches adoringly or let’s face it, gets in the way! Pulling up train tracks to chew, pulling her big brother’s hair, crashing into him in the walker. Babies and toddlers are rarely on the same page when it comes to playing. But, just occasionally, they are. Usually because Monkey decides he wants in on whatever it is that LM is up to!
That is what happened recently. LM was in a bit of a grump and to give us a moments peace (?? probably not the best word as you will see) I set her up with a good old fashioned activity. Making “music” with cake tins, wooden spoons and some jangly spoons. She loved it, and as soon as Monkey saw/her what she was up to he just had to join in!
Such a simple easy activity, that took very little involvement from me, but kept them both happy for ages! Evn if it was seriously noisy!!
I don’t very often post videos as I find pictures a bit nicer, but if you have a spare minute this one is worth a watch!
When Monkey is happy, for a long time he has obviously been singing in his head as he stops what he is doing and ‘winds the bobbin’ doing all the movements. He can be doing anything, watching something he loves on TV, playing at the park or on the mud, doing some messy play, and he stops and winds the bobbin.
Lately though it has become something more and he adds all orts of extra movements in, and in a seemingly random order. I’m not entirely sure what this sounds like in his head but he clearly loves it! I managed to catch a bit of this during some painting the other day and I think it’s hilarious.
Monkey loves music. has done since he was tiny. You can see him singing to music in his head sometimes as he dances along to ‘wind the bobbin up’ or ‘twinkle twinkle’ doing all the hand movements!
He has quite particular tastes though and is happy to let me know when he doesn’t like the music that is on in the car or something – generally by lots of whining. Heaven forbid if we have the radio on and I don’t realise that a song has finished and there’s talking on instead, he gets very stroppy!
But what I love his the way he reacts to a song he likes coming on the radio. They are very rarely songs he has heard before, and they do vary, but he likes music with a strong beat, particularly a good rock song. As a lover of rock music it makes me dead happy and proud, when a heavy guitar rift comes on the radio and I hear my little boy behind me clapping and shouting ‘yeeeeeaaaaahhh’ haha. So daft but I love it, so that’s my ordinary moment this week!
Not the best pic I’m afraid, hubby was driving on this day and monkey was moving a lot, but, you get the idea
It was half term this week so our baby classes weren’t on, and I had to find other ways of entertaining the monkey. Add to that it was cold, miserable and pouring with rain a lot of the time, so I had to be really inventive as he gets so bored of being at home for too long! Again I like to put the age of the monkey to help people search, I find on some blogs that I don’t know how old their little ones are and so while you can tell a bit whether it’s suitable, you’re not always sure what age is right to try it. So anyway, Monkey is 1, or 12 months if you prefer it that way
We did get out and about a bit, lots of walks and luckily there are some nice play areas locally to go to and blow off steam. But one day in particular was just miserable so we only got one walk in the morning and then were inside basically all day. Now I like to get out and do things with monkey as much as possible, the prospect of staying at home with him all day makes me a bit anxious as I know I will need to entertain him, and, well I am a planner and am not great with the totally unknown! Getting out and about a lot is my way of staying sane. Obviously he has playtime at home but he does like seeing the world and things.
So anyway I came up with a few ideas for this week, one just being a bit more musical play and the other was to turn our office/spare room into a soft play area for a few days to give him some climbing, clambering practice in a safe environment.
The musical play went quite well, I got a music CD when we became a member of tumble tots which had a few songs, and we also did some of the music and actions that we do in our music class as he loves those (I did all the ones I could remember!) Monkey was very interested in the cd player though, normally we just play music through our phones or ipod so he was intrigued by our portable cd player and all the buttons and dials. He particularly liked the blue light coming from the display and the way it turned our hands blue when we put them in front of it. I didn’t mind him prodding and playing with it but when he decided that he would use the cd player as a drum, making the cd jump and skip, I felt it was time to move on!
We also played with a lot of his instrument type toys, such as the homemade shakers, and he also got some piano type things for his birthday. At the music class we go to they are all in a big bucket in the middle of the room, so I copied that and out them all into one box for him to pick and choose from. He really enjoyed this, normally they are spread throughout the house as play is often unstructured, so seemed to really enjoy pulling them all out and having a play with all of them at once.
I gathered up basically every cushion, throw, duvet, pillow and quilt from the house. My mum is a quilter and works in a craft shop where they sell quilting materials and make loads of samples and teach classes. So we have loooooaads of quilts of various shapes, sizes and colours and they were perfect for today. I also got a few of his favourite soft toys in there. One of our friends, for his birthday, bought a very cool mat that makes sounds when you walk along it, and he finds this very funny so I decided that would be the entry to the room. (Apologies that the photos aren’t the best, had to use my phone for these ones!)
As soon as we walked into the room, Monkey found it hilarious. I had also opened out the old sofabed, which is basically just foam and so very soft and perfect for this. He’s used to playing in the office and often pulling out dvds from the racks (we are trying very hard to teach him to put them back, but that’s another story) so seeing the room set up completely differently was really amusing for him. I think I’ve mentioned before but he’s never been much of a crawler so he got annoyed at points that he couldn’t walk very easily over some of the soft things, but I think it’s good for him and once he realised that falling over was funny he was loving it.
I’d also made a mini den by hanging his favourite blanket over 2 chairs and he found it so funny when mummy was hiding in there! He soon clambered his way over to join me in there! Another thing which we have been doing is putting a random selection of toys and things into a box for him to find. So in the soft play room I filled it with ribbons and things out of my craft box (mainly left over from our wedding, so very colourful) and a couple of wicker ball things that were on the floral displays at our wedding. He wasn’t interested in the ribbons but carried the wicker ball around with him for ages.
In the end I had to put the sofabed back up and give him some room to walk about as he was getting annoyed but other than that we have left the soft play room set up and have been in there a few times this week as he has really enjoyed himself in there!
I’ve also introduced crayons recently, not sure what age is best to do that really and when I tried before he was not interested. This time however I did get him to do a bit of scribbling, though I had to stop him trying to eat the crayons a few times, but mainly he was just interested in trying to take the crayons out of the tub and put them back in, one of his favourite things to do at the moment. Maybe next time I will just give him one crayon at a time to scribble with?
Anyway, the sun finally came out at the end of the week and we have been back out exploring and playing in the water table and paddling pool, which is great fun Hopefully the nice weather will continue!
I’m trying to give approximate ages on blogs of things to do with the monkey, in case anybody wants to give something a try too. With this one I’ve said 10 months because that is how old he is right now but in truth we have been doing musical play in one form or another since he was quite a bit younger, and I’m sure we will as he gets older too!
Music is one of Monkey’s favourite things, I think that babies have a natural rhythm and that definitely seems to be true with our little one. He is such a little bopper! The slightest little tune and he bounces up and down and shakes his head from side to side, and sometimes forward as if he is headbanging! Little rocker baby Because he loves tunes so much I have been introducing ‘instruments’ to him.
First of all, let’s make it clear that I have nooo musical ability whatsoever. Zero. In fact, hubby laughs at me because when singing along with a song I will go in and out of tune and have no idea that I am doing it. I certainly can’t tell when I’m in tune! Though when I am really out of tune I do occasionally cringe at myself! My whole family is like this, my mum was told to mime as a child when singing in church or at school (different times hey?) and my brothers are as bad as me. We all love to sing, we just sound awful hehe. Hubby on the other hand is very musical, as is his family, so that must be where monkey gets it. Sorry, enough of the family history!
As I said, monkey likes noise, and definitely likes making noise! Banging things together in particular. One day a couple of months ago, at a sensory play session at a local centre he located some little musical shaker toys and he absolutely loved them. I tried to find them online and sadly couldn’t find them anywhere but it prompted me to try and make some of my own. Very simply, I used a couple of empty plastic drinks bottles with some dried lentils and rice and oui, là! I have seen other mummies online who put masking tape around the lids to make them stay on, but in honesty I haven’t done that yet as with Monkey I think he would be more tempted to try and peel off the tape than take off the lid. We’ve been using them for a few months now and so far no lids have been removed.
He does like shaking these a lot, and has got more interested in doing so recently than when I did them initially. Anyway, on an unrelated trip to the shops I stumbled across the very shakers that Monkey had played with in the play session! Fantastic! (Early Learning Centre/Mothercare if you would like them)
He loves them! They get shaken and banged around all over the place, cue some very big grins!
They also connect together to produce some interesting sounds, but that’s a bit heavy for monkey at the moment.
Before we met, hubby had bought an upright piano on ebay for £5o with the idea that he would learn to play properly. Since we met though it has barely been used and in our new house has been sat in the conservatory, pretty much untouched. During one of our musical play sessions I decided to give it a try with monkey, and thankfully it wasn’t quite as out of tune as I thought it would be! He took a little warming up, very clingy with me initially at the unfamiliar sounds, but we persevered over a few days and now he loves it! When he is sat playing in his little ball pool and one of us plays a tune (hubby has taught me twinkle twinkle little star, Oh when the saints and Mary had a little lamb, all of which can be played with one hand thankfully!) he will sit and bob and give the loveliest smiles. But more often than not as soon as we go into the conservatory for a bit of musical play he is chomping at the bit to get up on our knees and have a bash at the keys himself, it’s so cute. Who knows, maybe we have a budding pianist in our midst hehe.
There are also many unconventional ‘instruments’ that Monkey loves to ‘play.’ Empty cereal boxes are good for banging. The plastic pump for my gym ball is a brilliant drum and he likes the funny noise the plastic pipe for the pump makes too.
Our little measuring spoons make a wonderful jangling noise and randomly he loves the noise of banging the radiator (it is not turned on!). Particularly using any of the above instruments to bang on the radiator! He was standing at his little cupboard in his bedroom banging it open and closed and I realised he was bopping to that too! Seriously this kid has some rhythm!
I guess my point with this is that though I found some little instruments to buy quite cheaply, you don’t really need to spend money on expensive toys to do this kind of play. Watching monkey learn you can really see things in a new light again and it’s lovely to see him discovering what noises he can make with different things and how he can play with household objects (with supervision of course) and enjoy them as much as expensive toys. Hmmmm gives me an idea for a future post!