Parents and caregivers often want to buy new toys for their little babies but, man!, are they ever expensive! Before heading out to an overpriced baby goods store, try rifling through your kitchen cupboards first. You’d be surprised by the hours of entertainment you’ll find there, especially for young ones (around 6-12 months) who are interested in learning about the way sounds work and how things fit together.
It seems to be a law of the universe that babies automatically prefer toys that either A) aren’t supposed to be toys (e.g., coffee mugs, electrical cords, zippers, adults’ shoes) or B) are common household items. Give babies a brand-new store bought toy that lights up and sings and dances for them and, more often than not, they will still go for the common household item. Am I right?
Here are a few examples:
1. Empty water bottle filled with rice. Use a plastic water bottle (not a plastic soda bottle…it’s a texture thing) and add a few tablespoons of uncooked rice. Voila! Homemade rattle that baby can shake and chew. Try a mini-sized bottle for a space saving rattle you can take with you on-the-go. I’ve never seen anyone have problems with the cap coming lose or holes forming in the bottom of the bottle but, obviously, always check to make sure the cap is secure and the bottle itself is intact. Safety first!
2. Plastic bowls. Cereal bowls work great, but mixing bowls of different sizes work even better! Play with them on their own or add a few little balls or other toys for baby to practice skills such as grasping, releasing, transferring, banging, mouthing and, of course, wearing as a hat (can you say “pre-dressing skills”?)!
3. Cooking pot filled with small toys. This is great for learning how to engage in “container play” and it’s also an easy way to introduce basic vocabulary related to spatial concepts such as open/close, in/out, and on/off. If your floor space allows for it, add a bit of water to the pot so your little one can splash around and drop toys into the water. Be sure to only fill the pot with toys safe for your baby such as rings, baby cups, balls, plastic baby spoons, books, and teething toys. No uncooked pasta or beans yet. That comes when they’re a little older and know not to put everything in their mouth!
If you have your heart set on buying some toys for a baby you know and you just want a little help figuring out what to buy, then you’re in luck.
Next week will be all about TOYS here on MamaOT!
Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you here next week!