How to do visual tracking activities with your baby at home
Finger puppets are some of our favourite toys and they are brilliant for doing some really simple tracking activities for visual development with event the littlest babies. When our little ones are born their eyes don’t yet work in partnership so they need lots of practice on focusing on objects to help them team their eyes together and puppets is such a simple and brilliant way of helping them. When your baby is looking at the puppets they are developing their ocular motor control by doing lots of tracking activities, amazing for their visual development.
For our little babies
For our littlest babies this is an activity to do when they are lying, take your finger puppet and hold it about 6 inches from their nose in a static position, watch them focus on it and take it all in. Contrast finger puppets are brilliant for this and we particularly like black and white ones like the zebra and contrast ones like the clownfish nemo. Once they are able to fix on the puppet move it back and forth very slowly over their eyeline. Be careful to do it towards their nose rather than forehead so that little necks aren’t tilting backwards. Rub the finger puppet against their hands, feet and face to let them experience the texture. Repeat this often, everything that our baby learns is from lots and lots of repetition so never be scared to revisit this activity often.
Once they have done lots of tracking and developed both their fixed gaze and ability to track from side to side you can move the activity on by doing some slow zooms towards their noses, tickling them with the puppets, and doing some slow ‘s’ shapes backwards and forwards.
For our sitting babies
For our sitting babies again hold it in front of them and, while they are supported if they are still getting their sitting balance, do some zooms towards their nose and lovely ‘s’ shapes. Help them with their hand – eye co-ordination by holding it in front of them and encouraging them to reach with both hands for the puppet. Once they have developed this skill you can hold it to one side for them to reach with the hand on the same side of their body for the puppet.
Puppets are a toy you can use from birth and they really do grow with them, some of these puppets are recommended for children over 12 months to play with independently but they are suitable for you to show your baby and help them with tracking for visual development. Our favourites are made by The Puppet Company and we love –
- the star, perfect to accompany twinkle, twinkle and a great contrast toy with its light colour and dark face
- the zebra, great contrast toy that feels amazing!
- the clownfish, another great contrast toy and an excuse to play ‘under the sea’ song!
- Humpty Dumpty, (available to purchase individually or as part of a nursery rhyme set) accompany this with a book too.
Safety first – As always keep your little one in eye sight and arms reach at all times when playing.
Do check out our learning library which gets updated weekly with baby development articles!