Scarves are an essential part of a Zumbini class every week not just
for our games of peek-a-boo, they are one of the tools we use to teach many different concepts while having a ton of fun! Scarves are lightweight, easy to move through the air, provide a great hiding spot, and can always make someone smile!
One of the reasons I love scarves is how these little pieces of fabric can teach social and emotional skills. Over the years I have found that some children are very shy at the beginning of a class, rather watch than participate in the first few songs.
But when the scarves come out, these same children who were shy are now excited to start moving around, swinging the scarf, and participating with their peers!
This change can be from focusing on manipulating this object that has so many open-ended ways to play. Maybe they enjoy watching the colors move. Whatever the reason, it is clear to see they have more confidence, they are ready to enter play in a group, and they feel secure enough to participate. These are huge steps in young children’s development!
Another way we see a scarf helping social and emotional development is through peek-a-boo. Yep, the same peek-a-boo you have played with your own parents/grandparents and probably have played at home with your little one.
Playing peek-a-boo for children who are learning object permanence is literally teaching them that even though you are gone for a moment, you still exist in life. Believe it or not, these tiny pieces of fabric can teach that skill! Every time you disappear under the scarf and then reappear upon, “Boo”, they smile and giggle to learn you still exist. For the older children, they are taking this game to the next level as they hide themselves, play with another child, or play with another adult in the class. This level of social interaction continues to grow each week as they play more often.
Scarves also provide so much colorful visual stimulation while we dance.
Young babies may be focused on the colors individually or how the scarf moves through the air. Older children experiment with how to make the scarf move in various directions or speeds. For many, it gives new ways to dance and move other than just their body.