The Baby Club – Episode 10
Playing with Leaves – Advice for parents
In each episode of The Baby Club we have a ‘What’s in the bag?’ section, and in episode 10 we were playing with leaves. When we were playing with them, you may not have been aware of how much thought had gone into how and why we used them. Also you might be interested to know how leaves have inspired other parts of this specific episode. For that reason and to provide tips for new parents and more seasoned ones too, I have written Nigel’s Baby Club Diaries. Hopefully they will help you see:-
- How important your interactions with very young children are.
- Why they can help with learning.
- Ideas for verbal interactions you can have with your baby.
- That you are not alone in your thoughts.
- That dad’s shouldn’t be embarrassed about getting involved too.
The information you will find here draws on Peeple’s Learning Together Programme. Peeple and the Foundation Years Trust charities were consultants on The Baby Club. As with anything regarding your baby, if you have any queries you should speak to your health visitor. They will be able to provide help and support with questions you may have.
Things you can do with leaves?
During episode 10 we were playing with leaves. You may have seen us exploring them using touch, feel and smell, playing peek-a-boo with them, and even tickling each other with them. All of these help develop different aspects of your baby’s basic skills, and I will discuss these in a moment. But first I would like to give you a couple more ideas and things to look out for when you are trying this at home. These ideas are good as your baby gets older and you want to develop more complex skills.
- You can use your leaves to introduce descriptive words like ‘Big’, Small’, ‘Smooth’ or ‘Green’. This is a great way to learn that things can be hidden inside or underneath something, and can reappear later.
- If you are playing with leaves of different textures or colours or sizes, encourage your child to find a specific type. This is another great opportunity to develop language. Simple phrases such as ‘Which one is the brown leaf?’, ‘Look at the big leaf’, are a good place to start and the more repetition, encouragement and smiles the more your baby will get involved and understand.
- Finally, leaves are a good excuse to get outside and discover nature. From trees and plants to insects and animals there are many things in nature that will fascinate and intrigue a young child.
What areas does this activity help with?
Most activities are a good opportunity to develop language and understanding. The ones described here are good for learning phrases like ‘Where is the Brown Leaf?’ or ‘Can you see the Big leaf?’. The more repetition, encouragement and smiles that you use, the more your baby will get involved and develop.
Leaves come in a multitude of shapes, sizes and colours from smooth to rough, from big to small. Couple this with the fact that you may want to explore leaves while outside and your baby has another sensory playground to explore. As ever, your narrative and encouragement through your baby’s exploration is key to their development. Talk about things as much as you can, they are always listening.
Singing songs while playing with leaves will encourage your baby to be vocal and make sounds. This will help develop the muscles in your baby’s mouth and tongue, as well as those that control their vocal cords. These muscles are essential for when your baby starts to talk.
Songs and Nursery Rhymes
Songs and nursery rhymes are a huge part of The Baby Club and a fun way for babies and young children to learn. You’ll be surprised how well babies remember information that is delivered in a song. When we were playing with leaves we sang ‘All the Leaves are Falling Down’. But there are many nursery rhymes and songs that involve nature and the outdoors. ‘At the Bottom of the Pond’ and ‘Little Red Tractor’ are a good place to start.
What other objects can I use?
Playing with a Stick
Playing with a Ball
Playing with Paper
Playing with Gloves
Playing with a Saucepan
Playing with Cardboard Tubes
Playing with Bath Toys
Playing with Ribbons
Playing with Socks
Want to learn more?
If you have found this helpful and want to find out more about supporting your child’s learning, please check out Peeple’s Facebook page. If you’re a practitioner, you can find out about the Peep Learning Together Programme and training on the Peeple website, or email Charlotte on email@example.com.