Wednesday, May 21, 2014

{365} Challenge: Learning toys for the baby

How often have we heard it said that giving a child a cardboard box would be better than the toy inside?  

There is so much truth in this.  Babies and children seem to love containers and textures and random items and engage with them with more curiosity than the electronic toys we put out for them.  Don't get me wrong, we have a few electronic baby toys that Baby B loves like her Fisher Price Vanity and Learning Table.

To help Baby B explore the world around her, we have filled her toy basket with items to allow her to learn textures, work at problem solving, build creativity, and work at hand-eye coordination.

With the weather getting warmer, we have been spending some time outdoors in the beautiful weather.  I was able to score a turtle sandbox from another mom for $10 to start off our outdoor play area for Baby B.  She really seems to love the sand and watching it go between her fingers and toes.  I will end up putting some "treasures" in the sand (plastic animals and other like items) for her to unearth and discover.

I created a sensory basket for Baby B to play with.  In it are bits of different types of ribbon, lace, felt strips, a Christmas bow (with the sticker-tag removed), bits of fabric, and a toilet paper roll that I reinforced with duct tape.  I figured this would stop her from chewing through it, and so far my idea has been successful.  She can run the ribbon through the roll and as she gets bigger, may be able to start threading the ribbon through the holes in the basket.

Providing Baby B with a variety of textured balls will also help her learn and play.  Just gather up a variety of different types, sizes, colors, etc.  I really need to find a small football!

One of the best toys I have found, was a basket of vintage wooden blocks.  These are played with more than anything else in our home right now.  They were a great thrift store find and they will be staying with my family for years to come.  I have also learned that babies who play with blocks with their parents for at least 20 minutes a day, score higher on language tests and are less likely to watch tv.  Score!

I also like taking random objects around the kitchen and letting Baby B just play.  We give her wooden spoons, cups, bowls, utensils (without sharp edges!), measuring cups, and anything else clean and lying around.  Sometimes it is fun to put a little water and ice in the bowls and cups and let her splash and play on the kitchen floor.  You can take empty Crystal Light containers, fill them with just about anything, glue the top on, and presto - instant rattle!  I used some tiny chip clips that we never use.

Surprisingly she left the animal water bowl alone

Lastly, I wanted to share our new favorite books.  The Indestructible books are amazing!  Baby B LOOOOOOVES paper and these books offer her the pleasure of crinkling and biting on them without destroying anything or getting some extra fiber in her diet.  I recently scored a few at for just a few bucks each.  I have also seen them on Amazon and at Buy Buy Baby.

You can catch up on my challenges here.

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