A plastic cereal bowl.
Wooden spoons from the kitchen.
A tiny shaker.
The list above may seem eclectic, but I assure you it is anything but. Everything from this list, when handed to my eight-month-old baby, will buy me about three minutes to get something done. Consequently, you will find random wooden spoons scattered all throughout my house – many of them covered with drool. So I was tickled to see this go-to list have a starring role in Magnet Theatre’s Scoop, an intimate sensory play set in a tent, which has come to us all the way from Cape Town, South Africa.
Scoop is pure magic for babies. The age range is six weeks to twelve months, and the audience is restricted to six baby/parent pairs per show. There are four performers in the tent with you, sitting right beside you on pillows, their pockets filled with simple household objects that are transformed into sensory journeys for the babies. The performers blend choral singing with object manipulation and manage to hold the babies’ rapt for the entire show. My daughter started the show on my lap, attentive but shy. By the end she had wiggled her way into the circle, eyes (and fingers) locked on one of the performers who sat right beside me, reaching, giggling, bonding. So Norah has a friend from the other side of the world and she isn’t even one yet. Neat.
At one point the performers took turns improvising songs with the babies’ names as the only lyrics. I could see all the mothers getting misty – they couldn’t keep their eyes off the faces of their babies. It was a moment of closeness with complete strangers. I just kept telling myself, as I gazed on this little, delicate, budding community: the world needs more of this.