Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Creative Toy Play for Babies: How to Create an Interactive and Safe Playspace

Claire is SO curious about the world around her now. 8 months is a really fun age! She truly engages with toys and people now, YAY to no longer being a baby blob! Now that she responds to play/toys I find I am very particular about what I give her to play with. I love the quote "the perfect toy should be 99% child and 1% toy" and I couldn't agree more. I am not a fan of toys that do every thing for Claire. I like her to remain engaged and active in her play. Now that doesn't mean I have to be down on the floor every time she plays teaching and showing her (although i do believe that is an important role for a parent to play), but rather that a toy challenge her growing mind. I recently saw this video and it really inspired me!

After viewing this wonderful video I completely overhauled our ENTIRE living room to make it more child friendly for Claire.  I wish I had taken before and after pictures! Oh well, but here is the after:

Everything is at Claire height, and safe. It is easy for her to reach things and choose from a variety of safe toys. The blue boxes are fabric, lightweight and very safe. I put down some padded connecting floor mats, and topped that with a yoga mat. This way it is easy to clean up any messes! Also I let Claire play naked a lot, yah I am crazy. But the yoga mat makes any "accidents" easy to deal with.  I also arrange everything so that her play area is at the long end of our living room rug, so she has plenty of crawl/roll space.

I also thought I would share some fun ideas with you that I find Claire really loves, are educational, and FUN!

- boil some noodles, let them cool and give them to baby in the highchair so they can experience the textures and tastes (obviously do this with a child 6 months+ )
- Make a blanket tent! Even at 8 months old Claire loves to have a secret world to hide in
- Nesting measuring cups are great for practicing putting things in and out
- wooden spoons and upside Tupperware containers make good drum kits
- have soft boxes on the floor full of safe toys that baby can pull over, reach into, and play
- play peak-a-boo with different fabrics. Experiment with solids and sheers
- when you are cooking bring babies highchair in to the kitchen and give them plastic serving spoons, whisks, measuring spoons, or spatula's. Make them feel involved
- Fill long Tupperware containers hand size toys that baby can pick and choose from
- pour a small amount of water onto the highchair tray and let baby splash

What sort of fun ideas can you think of for baby, with items around your house?

For more creative play ideas I highly recommend you check out these two fabulous sites:

Janet  Lansbury
Baby From Scratch

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