I met Anabel at the LCA Family Conference in Boston in 2014. Her mom had created this super simple yet ingenious way to provide Anabel with toys on her tray that she can search for and play with… but they can’t get too far away from her!
You know how your baby loves to play with different objects on their tray? You can give them baby toys or household items (like metal measuring spoons or a wooden kitchen spoon) and they just love it! There’s the banging and the chewing… and the absolutely inevitable throwing!
Yeah, that’s a fun game. Listen to the toy hit the ground and wait for mommy or daddy to pick it up. Then do it again!
Sighted babies love this game too, but it seems to me that blind babies get a particular kick out of hearing toys fall to the floor. And while yes, this can be a good lesson, sometimes mommy gets tired of constantly picking up those toys. It’s also not a very independent game, is it? And if we want to teach our babies to play independently and start using searching techniques to find objects in front of them, then we need to come up with a solution!
Anabel’s mom drilled two small holes in her daughter’s tray. Anabel’s tray is on her stroller, but this could also just as easily be done with a highchair. She then strung a thin bungie cord through the holes and tied them under the tray. Anabel has multiple toys attached to this cord, some on long straps of their own so they can hang off the tray and some are attached very closely so they are easier to find.
Anabel’s favorite teething toy is hanging on a long strap so she can still throw it, but if she wants to get it back she has to follow that strap and pull it back up herself. What an independent little girl!
This is a simple idea and one that I’m embarrassed to say I never thought of myself!