Sensorimotor Station: Infancy Room

Especially for babies in the first year, this exhibit will feature soft blocks and ‘slides’ to sit against or lay on, varied rattles, tables to practice standing with, and other objects that stimulate all five senses and encourage exploration.

Skills

#1: Gross motor movement

Babies will be able to crawl, slide and climb and roll on large soft cushions. Such play helps children coordinate the left and right hemispheres of the brain, gain muscle strength, balance, coordination and confidence. We hope to have a mini trampoline for jumping that builds core strength and balance. Learning to take a little tumble is not only fun, it helps build knowledge of how to move your body through spaces and plan motor movements.

#2 Building, Stacking, Sequencing: Fine Motor movement

A variety of toys will be rotated in and out of the Sensorimotor area that children can practice putting together. Some items will be used to stack, or fit together,

Planning, learning about size, shape, color and texture helps children understand their world better. By practicing the same motions over and over infants naturally become their own tutors.

 

#3 Self-Awareness & Emotional Development

Items in this area promoting self-awareness will include (baby safe) mirrors and facial expressions that parents and children can mimic or pretend and practice expressing lots of different feelings. Body charts, dolls or puzzles to help baby identify his nose, belly, knees and toes are other interactive ways to build self-awareness.

#4 Sound and Smell

Children most often explore their world through their eyes and hands, but smelling, tasting and listening are just as much fun. On a rotation, children will sometimes have the opportunity to experience different smells (e.g., via fragrance flasks of cinnamon, mint, dirt, lemon, pine, or sulfur for example). Musical toys where children can listen to and produce sounds also increase their auditory connection with the world.

#5 Communication

Most of the time in our country children hear the sounds of English so we’ll focus on other sounds and gestures that can help baby communicate. Sample signs of American Sign Language will be posted for parents to practice with children. It makes communicating so much better when two can play the game! Before baby is ready to speak, teach them how to use their hands to ask for HELP, MILK, UP, BOTTLE or comment on a DOG, CAT, BALL, other interesting items in their environment. Don’t forget that having teething toys and objects that baby puts in her mouth help build strength in the tongue, lips and cheeks. Mouthing objects is a work out for later chit chat.

Web Links

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Developmental Milestones. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/index.html

ZerotoThree.org. National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families

http://www.zerotothree.org/child-development/early-development/developmental-milestones-from.html 

HealthyChildren.org.  Baby 0-12 months. Retrieved from http://www.healthychildren.org/english/ages-stages/baby/Pages/default.aspx