There have been so many wonderful surprises over the course of ‘Creative Baby!’ Here we look back on some of our favourite discoveries, revisiting those moments when the babies responded in fascinating ways the artwork and creative play:
- The whole-body response:
Whilst adults may appreciate an artwork by nodding, gazing or discussing, the babies display a whole-body response to stimulation. Our exhibition tours have frequently seen babies animatedly waving, kicking, squealing, chatting, cooing and laughing in response to the artworks.
- Finding new ways to play:
Without prompting, the babies investigate the space to find new ways of playing. The picture above shows the session where we took the egg shaped lights out of the tents and set them on the mirrored floor – it was one of the babies, not the adults, who discovered this new setting allowed the lights to be rocked without ever falling over. In a previous post, I blogged about how a change of scene can present new play possibilities – read it here.
- Enjoying the simplicity:
In the session themed around gardens in Katharine Morling’s exhibition, I spent hours hot-gluing fake grass onto a mat, expecting it to be the most popular part of the play space. At the session however, it was overshadowed by the most simple activity I’d set up: bells on string, suspended from a table. A reminder that what may seem simple to adults can present amazing and intriguing possibilities to babies.
- Adults can surprise us too!
In a previous blog post I wrote about the importance of setting up open ended ‘invitations to play’. Seeing some of the mums use the lycra and balls to lead their own games was a reminder that invitations for adults to play are important too – by setting up play spaces that can be used in a multitude of ways, we have seen the most wonderful creativity from the adults, as well as the children.
- Finding delight in the everyday:
Most of the adults attending were drawn to the more unusual aspects of the play space – the things they wouldn’t find at home, like vast rolls of reflective foil; lightboxes; and fibre optic lights. The babies however, were equally enchanted by the everyday – mop heads, spoons, pineapples and baskets all provided interesting textures and new experiences. To the babies, these items are as unusual and intriguing as anything else they encounter in the gallery.
- Babies as curators
We loved witnessing those moments when babies curate their own visual compositions. They express this through play, by reaching for a specific coloured object, but it’s a serious business. Watching as they observe the object from all angles and display preferences for different colours and textures, or enjoy sorting and arranging, has been fascinating.
- And finally – the moment this happened:
During the tour I talked about the artworks and presented items for the babies to touch. Afterwards, as the rest of the group moved into another space to start parachute games and songs, this new walker tottered over to the objects I’d been talking about, to have a closer look: a wonderful moment and proof you’re never too young to appreciate art!