A baby-bath full of pea gravel and other high-tech innovations

Quite literally!

Oliver loves rocks and pebbles of all sizes. As we walk around the neighbourhood he touches them at every opportunity. This involves bending over and picking up handfuls of gravel from people’s driveways, trying to move rocks from people’s gardens even stopping in the middle of the road to try and pick up tiny pebbles that no-one else would even notice. It hasn’t exactly been a problem behaviour, but it was something that concerned me for the following reasons:

– It really slows down our walks.

– His hands get filthy pretty quickly.

– He will sometimes try and move large rocks and I worry that one day before I know it he’ll try and pick one up and end up crushing his feet.

– It makes me anxious when he tries to do this as we’re crossing the road.

– We’ve had a lot of construction going on in our neighbourhood. I really don’t want him trying to shove his hands into hot asphalt.

He’s clearly seeking the sensory input he gets from doing this so I decided I’d put together something that would give him this at home. I still had two bathtubs from when the boys were babies that I hadn’t been able to sell in my yard sale so I thought I’d put a bunch of pebbles in one of those. He loves to play with his trucks and I’d noticed that something else he really wanted was to use his construction vehicles to do the things they were designed for. He would grab puzzle pieces, building blocks, Little People, trains etc. and throw them into his dump trucks so he could transport them somewhere in order to shovel them someplace else. It occured to me that pebbles in the bathtub could help me redirect two behaviours at once.

A friend very kindly got a bag of pea gravel from a garden centre for me. I washed the gravel and the baby-bath and then set them up in the living room and put a couple of his construction toys in there. It was love at first sight. Oliver grabs fistfuls of the pebbles and lets them fall through his fingers, he uses his shovel to dig into them, he puts them in his dump truck, bulldozes them, he will even lie down on his back and bury his feet in the pebbles. Normally the first thing he asks for when he wakes up in the morning is his iPad, this morning he asked if he could play with his rocks.

When we all went for a walk today he did stop once to see if he could grab two handfuls of gravel from someone’s driveway but I explained that he could play with his rocks when we got home. He was fine with that and didn’t try and pick up anything else during the entire hour we were out walking. The puzzles are all still in tact as well – no missing pieces! I love it when a plan comes together!

Now I have to think of something to replace the love affair he has with sand, dirt and mulch. I have an idea… watch this space…

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5 Comments on “A baby-bath full of pea gravel and other high-tech innovations”

  1. Angel G September 6, 2011 at 12:01 am #

    It’s awesome when an idea works!!! Great job! 🙂 I too have a rock lover. Some children pick dandelions for their moms – mine gives me rocks. And you know that they are the best darn rocks ever picked up! 🙂
    I love the baby bathtub idea. We used plastic utility sinks – one for water and the other for sand and rocks. But those are for outside use only. The bathtub would be perfect for in the house. I hope you don’t mind me using this idea?

    • OMum22 September 6, 2011 at 12:04 am #

      Of course I don’t mind! Isn’t this why we share experiences – so we can help each other? 🙂 My next project involves those longer, shallow boxes that you can use for storing things under the bed – will be putting a lid on it and storing it under the couch so it doesn’t take up too much space. I have a few ideas about possible things to put in it. Will share them when I figure out what’s going to work best.

  2. Rhonda Logan (@pugariffic73) September 6, 2011 at 6:38 am #

    Excellent idea!!!!!!! so glad he got to enjoy his rocks. I LOVED rocks when I was a kid too. Had bags of them. Drove my mom nuts lol

    • OMum22 September 6, 2011 at 10:25 am #

      Thanks Rhonda! My big thing was seashells. Loved collecting them… my Mum, not so much… Hehe.

  3. danidawn (@min_svart_ros) September 19, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    I realized that the comment I left when you first posted this didn’t post. Hmm weird, but not uncommon LOL…
    Anyway, PA LOVES and had loved rocks. My MIL use to tell me it was gross to put river rocks into the dishwasher, but PA use to (sometimes still does) mouth the rocks. It was and still is the only way to keep them clean enough so I don’t have to worry :o) We have the yucky lava rocks in our yard & try as I might they still migrat into the house with PA along with sticks, leaves, dirt rocks & dead grass. She is my organic baby LOL… My older daughter if she touched dirt she would flip out. Funny how one child can differ so greatly from another.

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