This is a silly, fun activity that will increase your baby’s awareness and curiosity about basic body parts (eyes, ears, nose, mouth). If you follow my blog, you’ve seen me do this with a Pilgrim at Thanksgiving. My son enjoyed the Pilgrim activity, so I thought I would do it with Santa Claus. Here’s what happened!
Mr. Santa Head:
Materials: contact paper, tape, felt
1. First, I cut eyes, ears, nose, mouth, beard, face and a hat out of felt (I did this free-hand so it’s not the best, but serves it’s purpose!)
2. Second, I taped contact paper sticky side out on a flat surface (I made the mistake of buying off-brand, cheap contact paper. It didn’t adhere well, but we were able to work on saying “oh no,” “hat off,” and “fall down.” I recommend spending a few extra dollars and buying higher quality if you tackle this activity) 3. Third, we played Mr. Santa Head! I showed my son how to place the body part felt pieces on the face while naming each, then we placed the pieces together and now he does it by himself in no specific order or arrangement. It’s more about his interest and excitement than correct placement at his age. It took my son awhile to warm up to this activity, but now he initiates it by himself. I try to randomly and briefly do this with him a couple times a day. Of course we talk about the body parts, touch them and make funny noises with them.
HoHoHo you have Santa, now what?! Incorporate language into the activity!
- Say “HOHOHO” infinitely (this is an easy word to produce and practices lip rounding)
- Name the body part pieces and place them beside yours or your baby’s as you play together
- Ask your baby to point to or show you the body parts (“Where’s your nose?” “Show me Santa’s eyes,” “Where’s Santa’s mouth?”)
- Lay the body part pieces out and ask baby to choose from them (“Get Santa’s eyes”)
- Follow simple directions- have baby put the pieces on, take them off and give them to you (“put Santa’s mouth on,” “take Santa’s eyes off,” “go get Santa’s hat”)
- Tell your baby what the body parts do (“we smell with our nose,” “we hear with our ears”)
- Practice saying “uh oh,” “oh no” or “fall down” when the pieces fall off
- Sit eye level with your baby, name the body parts and make actions with them (blink, sniff, blow a kiss). Encourage your baby to imitate the sounds, words and actions
- Make sound effects (snort with the nose, blow kisses with the mouth)
- Just play and engage with your baby. Put the pieces on you, your baby or stuffed animals. Be silly.
- Read a Christmas book before or after playing with the Santa face to build connections, have a look at my post Christmas Books for Babies for age appropriate books.
Babies typically begin understanding, identifying and naming some basic body parts (eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hair, feet, hands, belly button) around twelve to eighteen months of age. This is a wide age range, but all babies are different and will learn them at their own pace. The more you talk about and focus on body parts, the quicker babies will learn. It’s important for babies to be knowledgeable about basic body parts and their functions because they use their senses to learn about their environments. I recommend talking about basic body parts from the very get go. But around twelve months of age is a great time to really place focus on them, babies this age will soak it up. I try to talk to my son about body parts at least once a day. I point to and name them on everything I can find. Then I ask my son to point out body parts on himself, myself, his daddy, our dog, pictures in books and toys, anything I see that has basic body parts. Bath time, getting dressed, diapering, reading and playing are all great times to quickly review major body parts.
And there you have it. This activity turned out cute, was educational and fun. It doesn’t hold my son’s attention for long, but it lends to quick, teachable moments! Check out another Christmas language activity here. Hope you found this helpful! Happy Friday, have a good weekend!