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Pots, pans and baking trays have long been known to be favourite play things for baby.
Are you looking for a quick and easy baby play idea? Tape rescues are a great multi sensory play experience that offers so many opportunities for learning through play.
This time we have teamed up our trusty tape with a muffin tray to create a Muffin Tray Tape Rescue.
Muffin Tray Tape Rescue
We love using every day items in our play! This Muffin Tray Tape Rescue is a perfect example of creating a meaningful invitation to play that encourages the development of so many skills!
What is a tape rescue
A tape rescue is a type of activity where one or more toys are secured to with masking tape. The baby then has the opportunity to remove the toy by using their sense of touch, feeling, and hearing. There are so many learning opportunities to this seemingly simple baby play hack.
Why use a muffin tray for the tape rescue
The reason we have used a muffin tray is because then tray adds another visual factor that is different to that of a cookie sheet.
The muffin tray conceals the toys a little more which is great for developing object permanence. The tape conceals the toy within the well of the muffin tray, leaving only a small part of the toy visible. As object permanence develops, baby will learn to picture the ‘missing’ part of the toy and then work at retrieving it.
The wells also offer opportunities to develop depth perception for developing eyes.
Removing the toys can be a touch more challenging compared to a traditional cookie sheet. This is such a great hand eye coordination activity! Busy fingers will be reaching into the well of the tray to get the toys.
Muffin trays can be held onto easily. Developing hands can grip the underside of the tray and turn it with ease.
We also thought it would be interesting for baby to explore inside the muffin hole, which provides more an opportunity for sensory play. Add play dough or felt into the well for an added sensory experience!
The benefits of using this play idea for babies
This play hack is great for babies and toddlers. They can engage with the activity as they are removing the tape and toys, then afterwards as well!
One of the big ones here has got to be fine motor development. We are talking strengthening of those small muscles in the fingers and hands. With every pick, grasp or squeeze your child is building up this vital skill. Incrementally, this action is what will allow your child to
- fasten buttons
- tie shoes
- loosen a jar lid
- write with a pencil
- apply toothpaste to their toothbrush
- thread laces
Tape rescues are beneficial for our little ones as they offer a multi sensory play experience.
A tape rescue enables tactile exploration through touch. Your baby will be thrilled when trying to pull off one of the trapped toys!
Babies and toddlers love to touch – everything. There is so much information for developing brains through the sense of touch. They can feel:
- Smooth vs pitted
- Fluffy vs spiky
- Hot vs cold
- Rounded vs jagged
- Natural textures vs plastics
- Slippery vs rough
Tape rescue also offers auditory opportunities as you child pulls off each toy. They will love the noise of the tape peeling away from the toys and muffin tray. Instant rewards work well for encouraging perseverance!
Tape rescues can be taken in turns. With the guidance of an adult, toddlers can be supported to take turns. There’s a great number of social and language benefits to this activity as your child will be able to take turns removing toys with an adult, friend or sibling.
Please be mindful that this important social skill is developmental. The tape and toys can act as a visual reminder of the play returning after the other persons turn.
This activity also encourages the understanding of cause and effect. Your child will be learning the impact of removing the tape and toy from the secured position.
How to create your own Muffin Tin Tape Rescue
Like all good baby and toddler play hacks, this activity is so simple to set up!
There are no fancy toys needed – simply use what your child is interested in and what you have on hand.
What you need to create a Muffin Tray Tape Rescue
- Muffin Tray
Yes, that’s all you need. Three simple resources that can be used to create an engaging learning activity for your toddler!
We used a silicone muffin tray on this occasion however a traditional metal one will also do the job perfectly.
There has been a lot of discussion regarding bugs, mini beasts and creepy crawlies at our place lately. I chose to extend our conversations by adding insects into our tape rescue – toy figurines of course, just to clarify!
Play to your child’s interests here. If your little one is car obsessed, use the cars! Are they right into duple? Use the bricks! One of the beautiful things about this activity is how versatile it is!
We used washi tape in this instance. Personally, I actually prefer masking tape. I find the masking tape secures to most surfaces more efficiently while still being easy for developing fingers to lift and remove. Washi tape is just so pretty though – oh the struggles!
How to set up your Muffin Tray Tape Rescue
- Place a toy in each well of the muffin tray.
- Secure the top of the well with a strip of tape
- Place tray in front of your child
Don’t worry about making it neat. Keep things real and remember your baby is going to be tearing the tape of the tray in no time.
I prefer to pass these invitations to explore with minimal instructions. Sitting close by to observe the way your baby or toddler interacts with these activities can be very interesting.
In what seemed like no time, the concentration drool stream was working its way down Mr 13 months chin!
If they need a little encouragement, you can tear a piece of tape first so baby can get the toys out easily.
Variations of the activity
1. Gift wrap the toys before taping them
2. Wrap the toys in cellophane paper or foil for an added sensory experience
What if they walk away?
If your baby walks away from the activity, don’t worry!
This is a natural occurrence and babies will often return to the activity when they’re ready.
You can encourage them to continue playing by demonstrating how to remove the toy and making some noise as they do so.
Tips on how to make the most out of this play experience with your baby
Add descriptive language
Our babies thrive with spoken language.
Our little mini me’s can understand a whole lot more than they let on.
Adding descriptive language to their play is a great way of allowing them to link the words with the context the words represent.
Add a pattern to follow
This is a suggestion for toddler folks, not so much babies.
Being able to identify and sort by attributes is an early numeracy skill. To develop this skill, ask your child to rescue all the blue cars first, or the animals with four legs. As they develop the ability to do so, add a second instruction such as, “Please rescue the green frogs and put them on the blue paper”.
Wrap up and conclusion
Tape rescues are a great multi sensory play experience that offers so many opportunities for learning through play. From tactile exploration, to auditory and cause-and-effect benefits – there’s no shortage of ways the tape rescue will help your baby learn!
Thinking of creating one? Just do it! Trust me, it will become a regular go too!
Check out our post on how to create a Vertical Tape Rescue here.
What have you tried with this activity at home?
We would love to hear what about your experience! Feel welcome to share in our Facebook community or tag @playinspiredmum on Instagram!