Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Baby Exploration Site 1: The Kitchen

         Our goal is to make our house as baby-proof as possible. We want to allow Q-ball to control her own exploration/play while we spend little time saying "no" or redirecting.  I have discussed some of the research that has encouraged us to make this decision already (see Mahler, play, Ainsworth) and will present more as time goes on. We have taken the standard baby-proofing steps (covering outlets, removing breakables, getting rid of poisons, etc.).  But, we have also created what I'll call "baby exploration sites" in each room which keep baby occupied and allows for individual exploration.  This series of posts is just going to showcase our baby-exploration sites as general baby-proofing information abounds.
        The first site I'm presenting is located in the room in which we spend the most time- the kitchen.  Although I've also discussed in this blog about our Montessori leanings (in this sense, presenting objects that stimulate multiple senses...), the kitchen contains very few items that have been "placed" for Q-ball to find. One Montessori aspect for which I strive within these sites, however, is to minimize clutter.  So, it's been great for helping me stay organized! This site still contains all of the items I needs to operate our kitchen which have been arranged to accommodate an acitve, exploring baby.  Also, we rent, so there are no structural changes that we have made or that we can make.

Now, how we play safely in the kitchen.
  1.  The island came with this fun curtain instead of cabinets on the bottom shelving.  I'm sure it was a cost saving measure on the part of the owner's when fixing the house up for renters, but it's perfect for grabbing a baby's attention.  Q-ball is instantly drawn to it because it's so accessible to her and fun to play with itself.  I was worried it could be a hazard because she was try to pull herself up on it, but she seems to know that that is not an option. Also, it eliminates the possibility of pinched fingers. Even if I had my own kitchen with cabinets in the future, I would consider replacing some with curtains because this has worked so well. 
  2. So, all of the items placed in this area are items that are 100% ok for baby.  I've placed the ones that are "more" ok in the front, and frankly, these typically please her long enough that she doesn't make it to the back.  Wooden bowls, baskets, paper plates, bibs, towels, cookie racks, plastic storage stuff.

Baby-exploration sites require quite a bit of clean-up! 

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