Friday, June 4, 2010

Fun with Wraps: Wearing Optional

We often talk about the wonderful ways we enjoy using our carriers to carry our children, but our children really enjoy our wraps too.  Wraps are terribly versatile.  Our children are often the first to point out something fun for which they can use a wrap (or two or three).

Our first suggestion would be to use the wraps with your little wrappee as part of peekaboo or tummy time.  This little one had fun peeking out from under it.  You can hold it in front of you for early peekaboo, and as baby gets older and can better manipulate his environment, you can toss it over and let him find his way out of the edge.  This is a good developmental activity for older babies.

It can also make a good tummy time mat. Depending on the pattern baby can explore the pattern and then use his/her gripping muscles to gather the fabric. Because it smells like the parent that usually uses it with baby, it is comforting and familiar for baby.  Of course, stay nearby so your little one doesn't get tangled in the wrap and become distressed or injured. (Note: it also makes an awesome picture prop). 

Wraps don't stop being fun just because your little one gets big enough to walk.  Wraps can make fantastic play forts, castles, pirate ships, whatever the imagination can conceive.  These girls were planning a princess show (I'm still not clear on what a princess show is about or what happens in a princess show, but something tells me that wasn't the important part of the play).

Wraps can aid in imaginative play in a variety of ways.  Shorter wraps can be shawls, capes, dresses, mummy wrappings, togas, rivers for the "jump the river" game, tug-of-war ropes, or in this instance, they can help transform adorable preschoolers into wiggly inchworms.  Let your kids loose in your wraps and you'll be amazed at the cool things they imagine them becoming.

The final idea we want to share today involves a little more effort from the parents, but in my experience, it is totally worth it.  We have put up hardware in a sturdy beam in our house to have a wrap swing.  Wrap hammocks can also be hung by tying wraps around a table or under a loft bed.  This winter when the kids were stuck inside because of snow/rain, we had a physical outlet in the swing.  This swing has taught them to be better at taking turns, helping (the little one can't sit in it without a little help), problem solving (my two year old swings on her tummy and both twist when no one is available to help push), and the swing has become a variety of imaginary things including a hammock for dolls to take a nap.

Do you have any more suggestions for ways to play with your wraps or carriers?

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