As a first-time mom over 7 years ago, I purchased just about every toy that had flashing lights and sounds and did everything short of a hula dance for my baby girl, especially if it would help her stop crying in the car. Car rides were not her favorite. After a few months of getting to know my baby and other moms, I started to notice that it was the simple, everyday items in out house that baby girl was most drawn to and content with. While the bells and whistle toys were always a fascination to her, there were 5 items in particular that could occupy her hands and mind and bring a smile to her face.
1. Hair Rollers
As odd as it sounds, simple, everyday plastic cylinder rollers you can find at the drug store were a favorite of my daughter's and most babies I knew in her baby developmental play class. The teacher would put a bag of varying size rollers in the center of the room and babies would occupy their time trying to fit one roller into the other and crawling around with the rollers in their hands and mouth. When I saw how much she enjoyed this simple toy, I went out and bought an inexpensive bag of rollers for our home.
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2. Tub Grips
The plastic suctioned grippers you place on the bottom of tubs and showers turned out to be the perfect teething toy. They were easy to transport and sanitize, and were the perfect combo of soft yet squishy to chew on during those uncomfortable teething moments. As she got a little older she loved to walk around and try to stick them on windows and doors too. Of course make sure the grips you give your baby are new and sanitize between use since they get a lot of mouth action!
3. Cups That Stack
In the kitchen when I was preparing meals or in the bath to keep her occupied when I was washing her hair, stacking cups were always an easy and quick solution. Babies love trying to see how they stack, how high they can get them to stack, and the cups are the perfect size to pour water in and out of in the bath. You can buy actual stacking cups, or you can just gather a few plastic cups in your house that are of varying size.
4. Smooth Stones
We have a bowl of larger size river rocks on our living room table and they are always a fascinating toy for babies to play with when they come over. They love the smooth, cool texture, and it must feel comfortable on their achy teething gums since they often chew and suck on them. And the sounds they make when they clank them together and fall on the ground is like music to their ears. Make sure stones are smooth, clean and large enough for baby not to swallow; the size of their hand is usually a good size.
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5. Containers with Lids
I began by letting my daughter play with my drawer of tupperware when I was in the kitchen preparing meals, but then I started to realize it was creating lot of work for myself because I would have to wash them all out at the end of the day. I then began collecting similar containers we use everyday and saving them for her. Things like yogurt cups, the oatmeal cylinder, and water bottles. I would wash them out and then gave her her own box of these types of containers and kept it handy in the kitchen. She loved to take the lids on and off and put items inside and close the containers, shaking items inside to make music. After a while she knew exactly where to go to get her box of toys.
There's always a time and place for fun and new exciting toys to add to the mix, but it's nice to know that when in a pinch, you can always find an item or two lying around the house that will fascinate even the most fussy of babies.
- By Andrea Howe
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