Play Date Idea: Baby Care Station
By Jackie Currie, Happy Hooligans
Nov 19, 2013
Setting out an inviting activity like the one I'm sharing with you today is always a sure way to provide my hooligans with countless hours of fun and hands-on learning.
This Baby Care Station was recently a big hit in my home daycare. It was easy to prepare, and the children played with it for days, practicing real life skills while they nurtured and cared for their babies. This would be a super activity to set up for a group of children having a play-date. I set up our baby care station using simple items that I already had here in my home:
- medicine dropper
- eye/ear dropper
- infant toothbrushes
- empty, clean soap pump
- empty, clean lotion/cream jars
- empty, clean spice shaker
- toy baby bottle
- any other baby related items that you may have: soother, spoon, bib, thermometer etc.
A few other popular items that I included were:
- damp washcloths
- a couple of infant diapers (one was real, and one I made by sewing strips of
- velcro to a white cloth napkin)
- several small baby blankets (baby towels would be a fine alternative)
- a box of homemade, cloth play-wipes (the hooligans LOVE these!)
To make my play-wipes: I simply took some white cloth napkins (any light-weight white fabric will do), and cut them into about a dozen wipe-sized squares. I laid them out, and stacked them, one by one, in an over-lapping fashion. Examine a package of real baby wipes or a box of facial tissues, and you'll get the idea. Then I popped a piece of styrofoam into an empty wipes box to raise my small stack of cloth wipes up high enough that I could pop the top wipe through the opening in the wipes container. Because these "wipes" are folded in an interlocking fashion, when you pull one out, another one pops out of the opening, ready for use, just like the "real thing"! The hooligans have spent days bathing, powdering, diapering and pampering their babies.
Opening jars, pumping "soap", and squeezing medicine droppers are lots of fun, and they help to strengthen fine motor control.
Diapering, bathing and swaddling their dolls all challenge the children's coordination skills and teach real life skills, and when watching the children attentively caring for their babies, one can see how this calming activity provides an opportunity for a little ones to express and develop their tender, nurturing sides. After one of the two year olds had lovingly washed and diapered her baby, she carefully covered her with a blanket, fed her a bottle, and rocked her to sleep. She then whispered in a quiet, little voice "My baby is so happy now".