Babies learn using their senses
As they grow
They also learn through movement
Babies love to investigate and explore
They love an adventure
Scarves are a wonderful way to play
With your baby
Engaging all of their senses
Scarves are a simple pleasure
Not only for babies
But toddlers and older children too
They are great for creating scenery for small world play
And have a regular role in our dancing shows
Here are some super simple ways to play with scarves
That are fun and have huge educational benefits
Move a scarf for baby to follow
They will track the colourful material’s movements
Developing their sense of sight
Baby can also have fun looking through a scarf
Challenging and changing their visual perception
A baby’s sense of touch is stimulated
As the scarf brushes their skin
As they pull the chiffon or silk through their hands
Feel it softly fall over their face
By learning to grasp a scarf
Baby is developing their fine motor skills
In preparation for learning to grasp a ball, a crayon, a pencil
Peek-a-boo games with scarves
Develop an understanding of object permanence
Which is the understanding that an object still exists
Even though it is temporarily unseen
Peek a Boo!
As baby swooshes and moves a scarf from left to right
And alternates between their right and left hands
They learn how to cross the midline of the body
Which is a seminal pre-reading and pre-writing skill
So many ways to play
Edie loves having scarves stuffed inside a box or ball
For her to find
For her to grasp and tug
We have found the Skip Hop Roll Around Hedgehog to be perfect for this
There are lots more inspirational ideas for scarf play
Scarves are a fabulous open ended toy
That can be used with children of all ages
Sarahs Silks are the Rolls Royce of play scarves
But if like me you are on a budget
There are lots available on Amazon
I always keep a couple of scarves
And an open cage ball in my bag
For sensory play on the go
Scarves can soothe a temper
Diffuse almost any situation
They are a good distraction
A bright and colourful portable play thing
With so many ways to play
Wherever you may be
More Ways To Play
Scarves provide hours of fun for imaginative play. Super hero caps, butterfly or bird wings, snakes, baby blankets, blind folds, wash cloths (a mother can dream can’t she), there doesn’t seem to be anything my girls can’t turn their scarves into. Here are some fun activities I love to use in studio and at home to illustrate how scarves can also be used in structured play from ages 0-5:
Babies 0-12 months:
Eye tracking: Scarves are a fabulous way to practice eye tracking with your baby. With baby laying on their back or stomach or sitting try moving your scarf side to side and up and down in front of your baby. For babies 3 months and under make your movement slow so they have time to track the movement. With older babies movements can be faster and directions more varied.
Peek-a-boo: Use your scarf to play this all time favorite game. Peek-a-boo is a great game for helping to develop object permanence. And really nothing is cuter then the smiles and squeals from a surprised baby. Try putting the scarf over your face, wait a moment, take it off quickly and say peek-a-boo! After a few times try putting the scarf over your baby’s face, take it off and say peek-a-boo. With babies around 12 months try giving them a scarf and see if they will copy you.
Dance with your Baby: Pick up your baby and your scarf and whirl and twirl around the room to the music. Your baby will love the combination of watching the scarf and feeling the movement you provide.
Gentle Tug of War/Row row row your Boat: While your baby is in side lying position engage her with a light soft toy or scarf. Watch as your baby reaches for the scarf, extending her top arm and leg while the other side grounds her to the floor. Once she seems to have found her balance bring the prop close enough for her to grasp. Then gently tug on the prop providing a slight shift in balance. How does your baby react?
Once she seems very comfortable sing Row, row, row your Boat while gently pulling and releasing the prop providing a dynamic balance experience.
Row, row, row, your boat
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream!
Toddlers 1-2.5 years:
* Toddlers will still enjoy many of the games above varied for their greater ability level. You will notice they will be more active participants in the games. Also try adding the following activities.
Hide and Seek: Place a few items under a scarf (e.g. a small book, teddy, and a sock). Ask your tot to give you the teddy, then lift up the scarf, and see if your tot will identify the correct object. This game can be used to help develop color, shape, animal, and letter identification.
Siesta/ Fiesta: Put on slow music and tuck your tot in under the scarf for a short siesta (nap in spanish). Then switch to upbeat music and encourage your tot to get up and fiesta (party) and dance with their scarf. Continue to switch back and forth. Toddlers enjoy this simple music and movement identification game.
Preschoolers 2.5-5 years
Throwing and catching: Scarves are an excellent way to introduce throwing and catching skills. Little hands have a much easier time handling and manipulating soft scarves then balls. Because they float slowly as they return to the ground preschoolers are able to easily combine hand-eye coordination. Another bonus is they do not have the same risk of damaging the house while playing indoors.
What’s Missing?: Show your preschooler a series of objects (e.g. a small book, teddy, and a sock). Cover the objects with the scarf and without your preschooler seeing take one object away. Lift the scarf and ask your preschooler what is missing? This game is great for short term memory development and retention skills.
Dance and Balance: Turn on some music and dance with your scarves. Pause the music at intervals and call out a body part for your preschooler to balance their scarf on. Discuss which body parts were easy to balance the scarf on and which were trickier.
How will you play with a scarf today?