In our latest video we feature some ideas to do at home using straws.  Here’s a few more, age appropriate activities.

3-6 Months

  • Blow all over your baby’s body using a straw.  Name her body parts as you go along.  This is a great activity to do before or after bath time when your baby is already undressed.  It also serves as special bonding time.

        

7 – 12 Months

  • Teach your baby how to suck. Suck up a little bit of water, close the top part with your finger (there should still be water left in the straw). Put the bottom part in your baby’s mouth. Tell them to suck while you relax your finger a little bit at the top to let a few drops of water go out into their mouths at a time.

    Some babies will be able to suck out of a straw themselves from 9 months onwards (the shorter the straw, the easier for them in the beginning).

      

  • Cut a toilet roll into smaller circles, put it over a straw and let your baby take off the toilet roll pieces one by one. 

        

  • Put a pipe cleaner through a straw (you can cut the straw in half). Sit in front of your baby facing each other. Show him how the little worm (pipe cleaner) is crawling through a tunnel (straw), let the pipe cleaner stick out quite a bit on his side – encourage him to pull out the worm (pipe cleaner). If your baby gets it right, let the pipe cleaner stick out a little bit less each time to make it harder.

        

Side note:  This activity might be quite hard for the younger babies in this age group, but at the end of this age group they should be able to do this.

13-21 and 22-36 Months

  • Cut a toilet roll into smaller circles.  Let your baby thread the circles over the straw.  You can hold the straw for them to thread and if this seems easy- tell them to hold the straw with the one hand and thread with the other (change hands as well). 

         

    • Cut a straw into smaller pieces.  Give your baby a pipe cleaner or sosatie stick and let them thread the small straws onto it.
        
    • Let your baby drink out of a straw – if they struggle at first, cut the straw in half (it makes it easier) and if they can’t suck at all – make use of the activity for 7-12 month babies to help them with this.
     
    • Once your baby can suck, you can teach them to blow. Most babies still struggle to blow out a candle by their first birthday, thus it is a nice activity to do with them (let them try to blow out candles).  If they are able to blow through a straw, they can do the same activities as the next age group.

Why is blowing (and sucking) exercises important: 

The end goal of blowing activities and teaching our children to blow, is not “blowing” in itself.  We are actually busy teaching our children about inhaling and exhaling for them to breathe better for speech, because speech is the modification of controlled exhalation. Most children will be able to blow around the age of two although they might not be able to do it very well yet (this is NORMAL).  If your child struggles a lot with blowing, you can teach them about INHALING first – when they have enough breath inhaled, there is more to blow out.  As soon as they physically grasp that the more air that is inhaled, the more there is to blow out and in turn, the stronger I will be able to blow, they will do these activities with ease.

22-36 Months

    • Let your toddler help you to cut a toilet roll into smaller circles.  Let him thread the circles over the straw holding the straw in the one hand and threading with the other (change hands as well). 
        
    • As seen in the video, let your toddler blow into a bowl of water and sunlight liquid using a straw.  (CAUTION:  Make sure your toddler can blow properly, we don’t want him to drink the sunlight water, if you are scared that this will happen – leave the sunlight and let your toddler just blow into the water).
     
    • As seen in the video, hold a box of tissues in front of your toddler.  Let him take out a few pieces using alternating hands (midline crossing).  Help him to tear the tissues into very small pieces (fine motor skills).  Put it onto a tray or plate, let your child lie on his tummy and “blow the birdies out of their nest” with a straw.
     
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