My baby wakes up from his nap. Either something woke him up early, and he’s extra cranky, or despite a two-hour siesta he’s whiny and fussy. I try all my tricks — books, snack, cuddle time — to no avail. Ugh. I have a fussy baby for two hours until dinnertime. Now what?
My baby is demanding personal time from me. And unless I want to listen for screaming for two hours, I get to find something fun for us to do together.
When my children woke up fussy as older babies and toddlers, the first thing I did was read to them. For some of my kids (I have four), that’s worked. When my daughter was ten months old, I could bring out a book and the tears would literally freeze on her face. But when my 13-month old is cranky, a book does not comfort him. He grabs it from my hand and hurls it.
The other day, after trying the books, the snack, and the cuddle, I wondered what to do next. My eye caught the jar of buttons in our play dough cupboard. Usually I work to keep small items from my little guy, but I was going to sit right with him. Why not? This worked out great as a Mommy & Me baby play idea.
I set out a mini-muffin tray and a jar of buttons (the tiny ones had been removed). I loved how excited he was. Buttons? For me?? You’ve never let me touch these before!
In the last month he’s shown great interest in putting things into containers. So I pulled out a mini-muffin tray and showed him what to do. He was busy for a long time. (By a long time, I mean about 5 minutes. Baby attention span here :).)
He was so busy that he didn’t even try to put buttons in his mouth– right away. The few times he tried, I was right there with him (it’s Mommy & Me, after all!) and was able to stop him. He’s old enough now to understand “No! No! Not in your mouth!”
Next, I brought out these Tupperware popsicle molds which gave him a little more of a challenge. He loved filling these up, too.
I tried bringing out paper muffin cups, but he only wanted to scrunch them.
He learned while he played:
- explored shapes (circles)
- experienced the feel of different buttons/textures
- practiced fine motor skills of grabbing, dropping, and placing in and out
- heard language: in/out ; no eating!
We love ideas like this! Thank you for sharing at Share it Saturday!
Anything to get through those fussy baby days!
Ann @ My Nearest and Dearest
My son (33 months) has loved playing with buttons for as long as I can remember. We’ve actually had a jar of buttons out for a couple of days and he’s been towing them around behind one of his trains and pretending that they’re chocolates that he needs to deliver. It’s fun to witness the new ways little ones play with the same old thing as they get older.
That’s great, Christine — thanks for reminding me about expanding this idea. One thing my other kids enjoyed was putting poker chips into a slot. Sounds like your guy is ready for that!
My little guy is also 14 months, and he really enjoyed this activity…it became his favorite game for a few days running. I also cut a slot into the top of the jar we hold our buttons in and would then help him put them in one at a time. He loved to watch them clank to the bottom and also learned about sizes, etc., as he tried to fit bouncy balls, golf balls, you name it into the little slot. And then got really excited when we took the lid off and, behold, the balls fit too!
What age is your little one? My youngest just rolled over for the first time, so this is a little early for her, but I figure I have to start coming up with activities for her soon! I like this idea!
Hi Leah! My little guy is almost 14 months. I figure the kids are ready for this sort of thing when they don’t immediately put something new into their mouths. For my kids, that transition has happened somewhere around one year.