Working my 1st BabyFest NW this past Saturday was quite a treat for a baby-loving, grandma-type like me! Everywhere you looked there were pregnant bellies!
First-time parents, parents-to-be with grandmothers in tow, seasoned parents and hoping-to-BE-expecting parents all converged at Seattle Center’s Exhibition Hall for a baby extravaganza! Granted, it’s been awhile since I was a mom-to-be, but I couldn’t get over all the fantastic gadgets and gizmos available nowadays to make caring for an baby just a little bit easier.
Again, noting my older-than-dirt status…back in the day Dad was presumed to be in the delivery room (unlike my own parents’ experience) but beyond that there wasn’t much thought to what Dad’s needs might be and/or how Dad could contribute to taking care of baby.
At BabyFest NW there’s no doubt DADS play an important part in their children’s lives right from the get-go! Dads have their own baby shower games…well now, wait a minute, these are DADS so it’s really competitions–chucking a baby bottle; blindfolded diapering and walking over Army men vying for prices like deluxe strollers, car seats and carriers plus nursery items and baby accessories.
As I said, there were pregnant bellies everywhere….and almost everywhere you looked there were future BIG sisters or BIG brothers going around with their Moms and Dads looking for things for their new little baby brother or sister.
Except at MY booth!
Here it was ALL about the sib-to-be! And when I mean all about them I mean it! I had sensory activities set up for them as one of the fantastic benefits of sensory activities is it allows a kidlet to discharge, dispel, dissipate their emotions.
Little dudes and dudettes can have a harder time with the concept of adding another family member…they might be anxious; they might be excited; they might be angry; they might be joyful…OR they might feel all those at various times! Sensory activities can help give them an appropriate outlet for emotions that might seem too much to handle.I brought examples of sensory activities that could easily be done at home. Pumpkin pie spice AromatheraPLAY™ dough + orange-dyed rice = AUTUMN sensory fun!
AromatheraPLAY™ dough table:
& Sensory Tub filled with orange-colored rice!
I also wanted to give parents examples of ways to extend toys, in this case, blocks into different types. Blocks, which are a type of open-ended toy, have no 1 way to PLAY so they easily conform to different themes letting you get more bang for your buck!
There are different types of blocks…at preschool, these would fall under the broad umbrella of manipulatives. The blocks I brought to BabyFestNW were Bristle Blocks. They were an immediate hit…not only with the kidlets but also with the DADS that PLAYED too! AND they also have a sensory aspect to them! They’re colorful, yes, but the same attribute that makes it easy to connect the blocks, ie, the bristles, are also tactilely stimulating.
Finally, but far from last, I shared the Go PLAY Activity Cards™ with parents. For a 1st or 2nd born who sees their position being altered by the addition of a new baby, having something special to do with Mom or Dad can make a huge difference! One-on-one time with the big brother or sister is the best antidote to quell any fear of abandonment or rising jealousy. I usually note the Cards will foster early literacy skills and promote PLAY with hands-on, not thumbs-on, learning activities using real materials…not virtual materials…but for families expecting a new baby, the Cards can also serve as a way to solidify a parent-child relationship in stressful times.
If you’re awaiting for a new addition to your family OR, better yet, you know a mom-to-be, THINK about the soon-to-be sib…give a shower gift for them—they’ll all thank you!
Yours in Play!