Diy Parenting: Baby Mobile

Parents can provide mental stimulation for their baby and add a nice touch to the nursery decor at the same time by creating a mobile.

Babies are born with all of the neurons (those microscopic learning components of the brain) they will ever have. If those neurons are not used, the body allows them to die off. This makes everything we provide for an infant especially important. If a baby is stimulated by a variety of activities, colors, and shapes, those neurons are able to produce dendrites. Dendrites are connectors within the brain that contribute to intelligence. It is important that babies are stimulated and a baby mobile is a great way to stimulate a baby's brain as well as serve as soothing entertainment.

Safety, of course, is of utmost importance when considering buying or making a baby mobile. The baby should not come in contact with any parts of a mobile that are sharp, toxic, ingestible, or have the possibility of covering the baby's airway or restrict the baby's movement in any way. Mobiles come in a variety of forms. You can purchase or make mobiles that hang from the ceiling in the nursery, clip to the side of a crib or bassinet, attach by Velcro to the ceiling of a car or attach to the hood of a stroller. Some mobiles are adaptable and can be moved from one type of location to another just by adding an adapting clip to the hanging element.

Besides the basic construction, there are many enhancements made for baby mobiles. There are battery-operated movement mechanisms, battery operated nightlights, music components and changeable visual components. These can be found on ready to buy items, but they can be added to your own homemade mobile also. When making your own baby mobile, keep in mind that bright colors and high contrast in design and color are stimulating to an infant. You must also make the mobile balanced so that the baby's movement or a gentle airflow will result in movement of the mobile.



Here is an idea for creating a baby mobile to decorate your nursery:

Size: the total size of the mobile is approximately 15 inches long from the top dowel to the bottom of the stuffed animals.

Materials needed: eight small finger puppets (2 to 3 inches in height, these can be purchased in most baby stores or in the baby section of a department store) OR eight small stuffed animals (about 2 ½ to 3 inches in height); black (or white) carpet thread; three wooden dowels OR three pieces of white plastic tubing (1/4 inch wide and each dowel 7 inches long); and black acrylic paint (necessary only if you use wooden dowels instead of white plastic tubing).

Steps:

1. Paint all three dowels with black paint (if you use wooden dowels). If you use white plastic tubing, leave as is.

2. With a length of black carpet thread, about 30 inches long, suspend one dowel to serve as the main dowel. With carpet thread, attach two stuffed animals (or two finger puppets) to this dowel and three stuffed animals (or finger puppets) to the other two dowels. With appropriate lengths of carpet thread to achieve balance, attach the two completed dowels to the main dowel. Knot all threads three times and clip the thread ends closely (use white thread if you use the plastic tubing).

3. Gently slide the threads along the dowels until all dowels are horizontal and the stuffed animals are balanced and can swing freely. When the animals/finger puppets are in balance, you may want to secure their placement to the dowel with a drop of non-toxic glue.

4. Attach the mobile from the ceiling or purchase an appropriate attachment clip to mount the mobile from the side of the crib.

Tips: When the baby gets older, the finger puppets (or stuffed animals) can be clipped off the mobile and given to the toddler to play with.

Suggestions for other materials for making baby mobiles:

Another cheap and pretty way to make a mobile for a baby's room is cut out shapes of wax paper (two of each shape). Lay the wax paper on the ironing board. On top of the wax paper, put chips and shavings of crayons, pieces of colored string, and shreds of colored tissue paper. When you have enough "decorative" items on the shape, place its matching shape on top of it. Then cover the "sandwich" with a cloth and press with a warm iron until the crayon chips are melted. Then hang the colored pieces of paper on fulcrums like you did the bears, or hang from a single dowel or from a ring. This mobile is especially effective if placed in a window or if light or sunlight can shine through it.

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