The good news is: children don't need expensive toys to play and learn. In fact, you probably have all the things you need to create a fun and engaging game!
Here is an idea to help get you started with Do-It-Yourself toys.
DIY ribbon stick for all ages
Why: Develops hand-eye coordination, motor skills and stimulates visual skills
- Long colourful ribbons or pieces of fabric
- A stick (one from a forest is fine, natural materials are ecological too)
- (Hot) glue or rubber bands
Instructions: Take the colourful ribbons or fabrics and cut long stripes out of them. Tie or glue them on the stick. (You can decide and test whether one long one is better or a couple of shorter ones.) Ta-daa! Your ribbon stick is ready!
How to use it?
Babies & toddlers:
- Use the ribbon stick as a capturing toy for babies. It helps to develop hand-eye coordination and stimulate visual skills when focusing eyes on the toy and trying to grab the straps. Do not let small children eat the toy.
- Use the ribbon stick as a tickle toy! Go through the child's body by tickling softly with the ribbons. Repeat the names of each body part while doing this. This activity promotes body awareness and is great for a relaxation moment.
- Play music and let children run around with the ribbon sticks. Play a game of "musical ribbons": when the music stops, also children and their ribbon sticks need to stay still. The smaller the child, the shorter the stick.
- Make a fun ribbon dance! Choose a song that captures your little ones (for example Shake your sillies out) and encourage children to move the ribbon sticks along with the music. Shake them high and low, quickly and slowly according to the music.
- Let the children make their own ribbon sticks. You can go for a walk in nature so that children find good sticks or use another type of stick you have. Let each child choose the colors of the ribbons they want, and help when using scissors and glue.
- Use the ribbon stick in movement & music sessions. Play instrumental music in the background and let the children imagine they are octopuses under the sea or colourful butterflies flying toward the rainbow! Encourage children to move rhythmically to the music and shake, swing, and wave their ribbon sticks.
- You can also ask all children to follow certain movements according to the music and come up with a ribbon dance! Filming the dance or performing it for other children is a great idea to make the activity a bit more interesting.
- Rainbow mobiles are great for relaxation with older children too. Ask all the children to lie on the floor eyes closed. The teacher or a peer can softly tickle each child's leg, arm, or back with the ribbons. This activity promotes body awareness and guides children to respect one's bodies when being gentle to one another.
Happy play time!