Baby Play: Spider Web Baskets

After each of my baby storytimes, I include a Discovery Time free-play session that encourages parents to talk to one another and to interact with their children. I include a variety of fine motor, gross motor, and sensory activities that appeal to 0-2-year-olds.

Babies love a challenge. Making their regular favorite items just the smallest amount harder to access can be just enough to serve as an interesting distraction and build strong finger muscles needed for writing when they are older.

This is a very simple project that just requires a little time ahead of a storytime to prepare. Find a stash of baskets that have holes along the sides–the ones pictured here are more standard, sturdier laundry baskets from Walmart, but there are many baskets of this style at Dollar Tree. Toss favorite toys, instruments used in storytime, or bright, colorful items onto the bottom, and tie a web of strings across the top. Fewer strings in simpler designs for smaller babies, and more complicated creations for older kids.

How to Make

Materials: laundry basket, yarn, baby-safe toys or household objects

Steps:

  • Place toys or objects in the bottom of the basket (this can be done after the next step instead).
  • Tie string across the basket in various patterns, at least 5-6 strings for a very simple challenge.

Cost: $0-10

  • Baskets (can be bought at Dollar Tree, though sturdier laundry baskets can be found at Walmart for less than $10)
  • Yarn

Time to Make: 10 minutes

Pro-Tip: Make sure to double knot the string to the basket so that it is less likely to come undone and be a potential hazard for little ones.

Conversation Starters

Start conversations as babies play with this tool by asking questions like:

  • What toys can you reach?
  • How can you get the dog out of the basket?
  • What toy did you find?
  • What color is the toy?
  • What can you do with the toy?
  • Are any toys stuck?
  • What do the strings feel like?

Stretch Vocabulary

When talking with little ones, use big words and small words. The more new words a child hears, the larger their vocabulary will be when they start to learn to read.

Consider using some of the following vocabulary words when using this activity:

Backward
Conundrum
Finagle
Forward
Heave
Left

Maneuver
Manipulate
Problem
Pull
Reach
Right

Stretch
String
Stuck
Tug
Underneath
Yarn

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