Sunday, 7 April 2013

Art Therapy

So spring is finally here!

Yesterday Libby and I were determined to make the most of a glimpse of the sunshine. First we took the dogs for a walk around the fields. This is the first time I’ve taken Libby out without about 11 layers on since she was a few weeks old. She was delighted to be able to point to things that she saw on the walk without the restriction of her mittens!

Next, we went to our local pool for a swim. She has recently learned to launch herself into the swimming pool and took great pride in doing so in front of the older children who were frightened of the water. I’m so glad we started swimming with her so young. We even played on the bouncy castle and ball pit afterwards at the leisure centre open day.

When we got home, my sister came over and brought some lovely art toys that she had made for Libby. I have often tried to do colouring with Libby, but she doesn’t understand, preferring to scrunch up the paper and try to eat the crayons. She is clearly much too young for this sort of art. Luckily, my sister had done her research. For a 10 month old, there are other ways of making her appreciate colour and texture.

We played with food bags filled with hair gel, glitter, beads and other exciting, colourful objects. Libby was able to squish them and mix them both with her hands and with her bare feet. This was all without mess, because the ingredients were safely sealed into the food bags. The edges were also sealed with tape for extra security. She also used a tub filled with pasta and lentils that she enjoyed shaking; a piece of ribbon to feel the texture and, her favourite, some confetti. We did all this outside to make the most of the weather. This also made it all the more exciting for Libby, who has never been able to play outside before.

I have previously read that different experiences when young can help to develop neurotransmitters in the brain, thereby helping children to learn more easily. It was great to be able to do some art and crafts without making too much mess and I could see that Libby was really taking everything in. We will keep playing with the art toys because she was really interested in them, unlike the usual plastic baby toys which tend to be discarded within seconds. Hopefully if we keep trying different types of age-appropriate art, it won’t be too long before she appreciates paper and crayons!