SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Thursday, June 3, 2010

For Baby: The Coffee Table Gallery | Family Economics

By Cathe

Necessity is the mother of invention. If you are the mother of a young baby, you know how rest time for mommy is an absolute necessity and that's when I got a little inventive. Often, when my children were small, I would wish for just 15 minutes of horizontal couch time in an attempt to make up for the sleep lost during another night of interruptions due to feedings, changings and comforting. But taking a time out while caring for a 6-month-old who is wound up when you want to wind down can be nearly impossible. I wasn't looking so much for a nap as just a chance to simply lie down.

When my son was about 6 months old and not quite mobile, I was still working from home doing graphic design—transitioning into becoming a stay-at-home mom. In my design resource books, I found some simple, bold, black and white clip art graphics, photocopied and arranged them on a few sheets of 8.5 x 11 inch paper. I taped the sheets to the underside of my coffee table. Then, when he was feeling active but I was dragging, I placed my little one on his sweet fluffy blanket and slid him under the open sided table. Lying on his back and looking up to discover the images, he was immediately excited and began to coo and giggle with arms and legs waving. Stimulated by the visuals above him, he loved it. The art was close enough for him to focus his little eyes on but far enough away that he could not reach it. And I was able to lay on the couch next to him for a few moments of much needed relaxation while watching him "play".

The coffee table gallery became an almost daily visit for us, and I would often slide under with him to enjoy the show and giggle right along, especially when he grew to the point of moving around on his own and I needed to be there to keep him safe from bumping into the table. Once he began walking and I’d long forgotten about the art under the table, I would find him rediscovering the baby gallery all over on his own.

Baby coffee table galleries can be made for little or no cost at all by printing out very simple geometric black and white or color shaped clip art found on the internet or use illustrations copied from books. Faces seemed to excite my baby the most, whether abstract or photographs. Photographed faces of family are great to use as well. Simply tape to the underside of your coffee table, assuming it is conducive to safely placing your child under, with any objects of danger on the table removed. If you have a transparent glass coffee table and want to keep the art in place, simply cover the art from the top side of the table with a placemat, other cloth or books to hide the backside of the attached art, or remove it after each playtime. If your baby moves around a lot, be sure to pad the legs of the table around them, and, please, never leave your baby unattended.

5 Comments so far

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On Thursday, June 17, 2010, lilly-of-the-fields wrote

Lovely! When my first was a babe, I printed B/W images for the underside of a shelf over her "changing and bathing" area... but nothing so adorable XD

On Friday, June 4, 2010, Cathe Holden wrote

Thanks everyone! You’ll find access to a free PDF file I created to get your baby gallery started over on my blog:" shape="rect">

On Thursday, June 3, 2010, Stephanie wrote

What a sweet and wonderful idea!

On Thursday, June 3, 2010, Lauralee wrote

I used this type of "gallery" on the wall next to our diaper changing station. Sometimes she would just lie on the changing table and stare at after I had finished changing her. I had heard that the black and white images raise intelligence and so far so good! lol.

On Thursday, June 3, 2010, Michelle, Muffin TIn Mom wrote

What a fantastic idea!


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