Tag Archives: scarves

Baby Play: Scarf Play

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.

Scarves are a staple in many baby storytimes. They are an ideal item for parents and children to manipulate together. Scarves are particularly fantastic for games of peek-a-boo, teaching basic object permanence to our youngest learners. Babies can grip scarves, even from the youngest ages, and most enjoy placing them on various body parts or just shaking them vigorously.

Scarves are also fantastic free-play items. The easiest way to make scarves accessible to little ones is by hiding or placing them in a container that little ones have to pull scarves out of.

I regularly use two kinds of items to hold scarves during play–Oballs and empty tissue boxes. Both storage containers allow little ones to practice fine motor skills in an effort to pull the scarf out. Generally, tissue boxes are a much easier tool for pulling than oballs (and cheaper). However, oballs pose a better challenge for older babies and toddlers.

Both storage items, though particularly tissue boxes, also allow babies and toddlers to learn about case and effect. When they reach inside a box and pull, something interesting comes out!

Of course, once the scarves are out of the box (or ball), they can be used for all kinds of play. The little one below ended up with a cape of scarves this past summer.

Recommended Scarf Play Purchases

Price: $17 for 12 scarves

Consider your audience size when determining how many scarves you want to purchase, especially if you are also using these as manipulatives in storytimes.

For play, a rectangular tissue box can hold 5-10 scarves. An oball can nicely fit 3-4 scarves.

Pro Tip: Scarf prices at Lakeshore Learning don’t fluctuate much (though look out for coupons). Oball prices on Amazon change often. You should be able to buy each oball for $4-5 each. If they cost drastically more (I’ve seen them up to $20 each!), keep checking back daily until prices drop again.

Conversation Starters

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

  • Can you pull the scarf out of the oball?
  • How does the scarf feel? How does the ball feel?
  • Can you put the scarf on your head?
  • What color is the scarf?
  • How fast can you wave your scarf?
  • Can you play peek-a-boo with your scarf?

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: