Now most people just see the purpose of a high chair as somewhere to feed baby, however the highchair can be a great help once baby is on the move! The high chair allows you to contain baby, but also gives you a place to entertain baby with new experiences. Babies brains develop by being introduced to new stimulus and environments, and by exploring using their five senses – taste, sight, hear, touch, and smell. Now I must warn you most of these activities are messy play, but are so much fun and engage babies senses. Check out the whole list of 52 Activities to do on Maternity Leave.
High Chair Water Messy Play
Some days us mamas just don’t feel like leaving the house but we still want to engage and keep baby busy. Now Thursday this week was a hot day but I didn’t feel like leaving the comfort of the AC, so I decided we would spend the day at home. Now Thumper loves water so I decided to strip her down to just diaper, and put her in her highchair and fill the tray with water. I put just about an inch of water and some bath toys onto her highchair tray and let her splash around…. although my floor was soaked, she had a blast playing in the water. I am also trying to encourage her to like spending time in the high chair as its a new space for her. Thumpers’s reaction to the splashing of water was quite entertaining.
Baby Art Messy Play
I love doing arts and crafts, so I plan to encourage these types of activities with Thumper. Now I thought I would start with something simple such as finger painting but done in a less messy and safe way, since we all know at 6 months our babies hands live in their mouth. So to avoid Thumper eating paint I did some finger painting using four simple materials: some white cardstock or paper , kid friendly paint, a large ziploc bag and painters tape.
- First I cut the piece of paper down to fit inside the ziploc bag.
- Then I placed a blob of a couple different colors of paint spread out on the page, and carefully slipped the paper back into the ziploc.
- Then I zipped the bag shut, you can even use the painters tape to ensure the bag is sealed shut.
- I taped the bag onto the high chair tray using painters tape, and let Thumper go crazy and explore.
- Thumper then started using her fingers to touch the bag and move the paint around and squish the colours together.
- Once she was bored of the activity, I cut open the sides and took out hard art work and let it dry and then hung it on the fridge.Materials:– Ziploc bags
Edible Paint Messy Play
Now if you are a little braver and your child is already eating solid food you could definitely consider doing edible paints. A simple activity that uses greek yogurt and food coloring (the recipe I read suggested Wilton Food Gels) and allows babies to experiment with sensory play. I personally have not given this activity a go yet but its on our to do list as it looks super fun. Now I would definitely use greek yogurt as the consistency is more similar to paint than regular yogurt. Mix the food coloring and yogurt and then provide a couple spoonfuls on edible paint onto the highchair and let baby go WILD! Let baby mix with their fingers and just have fun making a mess. A messy kid is a happy kid. Just remember that since its yogurt, its only good for a short period of time (couple hours) before it would become gross. Also since its only yogurt there are no worries if baby put their fingers in their mouth.
Edible Sand Messy Play
Now babies love playing in the sand and exploring with their hands, however they often also decide to explore with their taste buds which when using real sand would be gross and yucky! So using edible sand you can still encourage creative play and curiosity however you don’t need to worry about them eating it. Edible sand is simply just crackers grown down into crumbs using a food processor. Or if you want something even simpler and easier, fill a container with Rice Krispies and allow the child to go crazy exploring.
High Chair Toys to consider:
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Now we have made it part of our family evening routine that once my husband gets home, one of us feeds Thumper since she is eating purees and not eating the same foods as us yet and the other makes dinner. We have established that sitting down as a family for dinner is important so Thumper still joins us every night at the table as we feel it is an important routine to start even as an infant. Since she has already eaten we need to keep her busy, and that is where the cool high chair toys come in.
Why Should we get MESSY?
Now all four of these activities are fun and encourage time in the high chair other than simply just to eat, but lets be honest they are MESSY! You may ask why should I engage my child in messy play, here is 5 simple reasons.
- Builds creativity, curiosity and imagination
- Teaches the ability to play independently
- Develops concentration and focus
- Encourages communication and language
- Helps with physical development and gross motor skills