February 27, 2020
Series: Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators - Dollar Tree Spring Fling: A Basketful of Education Ideas
By: Stacie Bingham, LCCE, CD(DONA), CBS(LER) | 2 Comments
In this month's Brilliant Activities for Birth series educators, the talented and frequent contributor Stacie Bingham, LCCE, CD(DONA), CBS(LER) cruises the aisles of her local Dollar Tree store to get some fresh ideas for teaching that cost but a dollar! I so admire Stacie's creativity and I would love to be a student in her amazing classes! To find all the Brilliant Activities for Birth posts, follow this link. - Sharon Muza, Connecting the Dots Community Manager.
It was 78 degrees here in Central California yesterday. I took it upon myself to go and smell in (sneeze out) some spring. That got me thinking about cleaning, and beautifying, and gardening and growing. I wondered what aspects of “spring” I could inject into some of my teaching activities? I took a trip to my local Dollar Tree to find out.
You DO Get a Medal
“You don’t get a medal for that.” We commonly hear this phrase related to birth without pain medication. I saw these adorable trophies and thought, every person deserves an award for their experience of birth, no matter how they give birth. This is a simple way to do it. I bought a couple packages of these mini trophies, added some positive phrases to a label template (Avery 34221), and put the two together. I would say the possibilities are endless, but really, space is at a premium. Still, I came up with a handful of affirmations, and my pregnant participants loved seeing they are already equipped to walk away with a prize by learning about options, choices, and support.
Happy BIRTH Day
I teach in an old chapel that is primarily used for trainings and educational luncheons. Personalizing the space to make it feel warm and inviting is a priority for me. I saw this birthday banner and had the thought to remove “day” from the line-up. I placed it on the back wall in our tiny bathroom. You could hang it on the front of a table, over a door to greet people, or even across the backs of a few chairs. Consider keeping “day” in and moving it over to the right more, so “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” becomes “HAPPY BIRTH DAY.” Totally worth $1!
Having a cozy blanket slung over a chair, or a Squatty Potty in the bathroom, shows items brought from home help us feel relaxed and comfortable. Before our Comfort Measures class, I place items like these around the room, including a lantern in the bathroom. When we break, I collect the items back into a basket. I start the conversation asking, what items had they noticed? I pull things from the bag as they recall them. I then pull any remaining items out. I ask families to make a quick list of things they may want that fit on the nontraditional packing list. Battery-operated lanterns, tea lights, and luminarias are some of these requests, to shift the light and energy in the room.
Each Baby Knows When to be Born
When a series ends, one of my closing messages is sharing what important tasks babies have in the weeks leading up to birth. It is easy to think nothing major is happening, baby is big enough to come out, and the waiting serves no purpose. When families understand what is still going on, they can be more patient with their body’s and baby’s timing. Inside the butterfly box are 12 facts about changes in late pregnancy. People take turns reading them, and we discuss. I have folks write these down and put them on their refrigerator or in some other prominent place at home. It serves as a reminder of Lamaze Healthy Birth Practice 1, “Let labor begin on its own.”
The story that goes along with this is one I learned from Teri Shilling of Passion for Birth. It was in print as a Lamaze resource, but I haven’t been able to locate it. I did find this from Debra Pascali-Bonaro, also attributed to Teri. If I find the source I will update it, because the story is really quite lovely.
The Dollar Placenta - But Priceless!
As I cruised the aisles of the store, I was struck with inspiration to make a placenta and cord for a doll I had at home (NOTE: this baby was purchased at a thrift store and NOT Dollar Tree). I grabbed a jump rope, and a red cloth bag (2-pack). I cut a circle from the bag leaving both layers together. I turned it inside out and sewed the circles almost all the way closed, leaving about one inch of space to turn the placenta right-side out and place some stuffing inside (I used scraps from the remainder of the bag). I trimmed a piece of jump rope, removing the handles, and put one end inside the hole. I then hand-stitched it closed. I happily realized the frayed-rope end could be burned with a lighter to prevent it from unraveling. Placing a pin in the loose end, I then attached it to my baby. If you don’t sew, don’t be intimidated! You could do this project with hot glue, probably even staples – you don’t have to be crafty to get this to work. Conversely, you could use actual snaps, like on traditional baby/placenta models if precision is your thing.
After a cold season in the house and in the classroom, it might be time to spruce up the ways you engage your students! Try an activity or two and see how your families respond. Get them interested and get them laughing, and they learn -- you don’t have to make a large investment to make a large impact.
About Stacie Bingham
Stacie Bingham, LCCE, CD(DONA), CBS(LER) embraces the lighter side of the often weighty subject of birth. Her style feels more like a comedy-show experience than a traditional class. She has been a La Leche League Leader for 13 year, attended 150 births as a doula, and logged 1000 hours as a childbirth educator. An experienced writer and editor, she was a columnist for the Journal of Perinatal Education's media reviews, has been published in LLLI's New Beginnings and DONA International's International Doula, and keeps up with her blog (where she frequently shares her teaching ideas).
She is the current Chair for Visalia Birth Network, and a founding member of Chico Doula Circle, and Advocates for Tongue Tie Education. Stacie has presented at conferences on the topic of tongue tie, as her 4th baby came with strings attached. Stacie and her four sons, husband, and two dogs reside in California's Central Valley. For more information or teaching tips, visit her at staciebingham.com.
TagsChildbirth education Brilliant Activities For Birth Educators Stacie Bingham Series: Brilliant Activities For Birth Educators Teaching Aids Dollar Store Dollar Tree