Mirror Play for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers

Hi everyone! (*waves) Today's post is all about mirrors. Such magical things and so intriguing to young children. Identity and belonging are key components of the Early Years Framework and through mirror play, even very young children begin to learn about who they are. I love that moment when a baby realises "it's ME" in the mirror looking back at them, not a different baby! A mirror is a fantastic addition to your sensory play resources and I've compiled a list of activity ideas for every age through the early years.

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Tummy Time for Babies

A baby safe mirror like this one (it came with the play mat) is perfect for babies when they are having tummy time and can check themselves out in the mirror. It encourages them to lift their heads, move around, focus on their reflection and begin to develop awareness of their identity. A mirror attached to the wall placed very low to the ground on a wall in baby's play area is another great Montessori inspired strategy to encourage a baby's sense of self (see this example from How We Montessori).

Reflective and Shiny Treasure Basket

This is a great one for babies who are sitting up, but toddlers would enjoy it as well. (Thanks to Alison from Play Adventures for the idea of using a silver foil dish as the basket itself - this took the reflective treasure basket to another level!). All you need to do is round up all of the shiny items in your house (start in the kitchen, and obviously make sure they are baby safe). Even better if they make noise!

Mirror Blocks

These mirror blocks from The Creative Toy Shop are just divine. The mirror element which has been added to the most basic of construction materials was a stroke of genius! They come in a set of 24, 4 of each shape and there are 6 different shapes (5 of which are pictured below). The mirror inserts are acrylic so there's no risk of them smashing. 

In the activity pictured above I assisted Miss M to trace around the blocks, and then asked her draw what she saw in the reflection. After she did herself, she decided to draw each member of the family in the other shapes (she didn't quite get it finished - that's meant to be our dog in the middle with just the four legs drawn lol!).

I found some other great uses for these gorgeous mirror blocks... Add them to a kinetic sand sensory tub and use the sand to fill each of the blocks (thanks to The Kindie Mumma on Instagram for this idea, I haven't gotten around to doing it yet but it's on my list!). You could also strategically place them as a back drop to a discovery table and ask children to draw what they see (as seen on Living Montessori Now). Ideal for an early years classroom.

Transient Art

Transient art, is art that is non permanent. Loose parts can be constantly moving and changing as the art work is evolving. A mirror is an excellent base to use as children can not only see their own reflection, but examine how their objects look when placed on the mirrors. 

Rachel from Stimulating Learning With Rachel has so so so many ideas for combining loose parts and mirrors for early learning provocations - be sure to go and check her out if you want more! It's a very Reggio Emilia inspired method of teaching in the early years. 

Learn about Symmetry

A mirror is a fantastic tool to begin to explore symmetry. When placed vertically, and materials arranged (as you see below), the child can see how the picture they have created is the same on both 'sides' of the mirror. You can extend their learning by explaining that the mirror is 'the line of symmetry'. These "3 pieced hinged mirrors" from Offspring Education would be ideal for this activity!

It works well too with the arcs of the Grimm's wooden rainbow (another gem available from my friends at The Creative Toy Shop - pictured here is the medium). Children can discover that when the arc is placed on the mirror, a complete circle appears. So magical!

Adding a Sensory Element to Mirror Play

Alison from Play Adventures loves to use a mirror as her platform for sensory play experiences. Pictured below her toddler is painting on a mirror which looks like so much fun. Check out her other ideas such as; Spring Flower PlaydoughMirror, Buttons and Dough and Shaving cream and mirror play.

So many fun ways to play with mirrors! Have you tried any of these ideas? Oh and by the way those gorgeous mirror blocks are also available in transparent rainbow colours. How gorgeous is this collection of open ended toys below? All available from The Creative Toy Shop.

Until next time!
Lauren xx


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