We have a rule in my house: no toys which light up, play music or require batteries.
We have one further recommendation: wherever possible, toys should be FREE!
It’s not because I’m a stingy tyrant…well, maybe it is. When my Little Mathematician was learning phonics using Letterland he nick-named me Quarrelsome Queen because we both got grumpy when things got noisy 😜
But mostly it’s because The Mister and I want our kids to be free to explore and use their imaginations, without the built-in restrictions of toys designed to do one thing, and one noisy, flashy, annoying thing only. Grrrrrr
So what does my Little Beastie play with?
Well, at the moment she is 10 months old and these are her favourite activities:
1. Kitchen Cupboards
Okay, so she’s not actually in the cupboard. Kitchen renovations mean we don’t physically have any cupboards for her to explore. But she does love the bowls and utensils she would find in a cupboard, so i just make these available to her. There are all sorts of shapes and textures to explore and noises to make. Oh the noises!
2. Object Permanence
When I was pregnant with Little Beastie I lusted over some beautiful object permanence boxes but SHEESH are they expensive! This one is just an empty tissue box with a block and is keeps her occupied FOREVER. You can read more about why Montessori utilises object permanence boxes for babies here. We do have a cheapie version of the box where the ball rolls out the bottom, but she isn’t particularly interested in it at the moment.
3. Sensory bottles
There are some amazing examples of these on various early childhood blogs. My favourite has got to be the weather themed bottles by Two-daloo. We will get fancier as she gets older, but for now Little Beastie is enjoying some basic bottles made with materials I found in my kitchen
Take one basket. Fill with different coloured and patterned face clothes. Leave where baby can find it. Voila!
This one started from my leaving a basket of clothes and bibs in a corner of the living room, purely for convenience. What a delightful discovery for a baby! So much tipping out to be done. Thankfully, we have now progressed to putting IN as well. Babies love learning about in and out, and the different fabrics make this a fun sensory experience. I’ll replace the clothes with some fabric swatches in different textures when she tires of the current selection.
5. Exploring Nature
Nature. Enough said!
Sensory exploration, safe risk taking opportunities and independence building. Plus a chance to chase after the big kids and the birds.
Admittedly, I spend a small fortune on books, but this one is from the library 😉
Stack them up to watch them be pulled down, then marvel when page turning and earnest picture study takes place. She’s still not very interested in hearing the stories in her books, but happily listens to me read to her brother. Go figure *shrugs*
7. Finger play
Songs with actions are a huge hit, and is there anything cuter than baby fingers making twinkling stars?! Current favs here are Twinkle Twinkle, Insy Winsy Spider and Where is Thumbkin.
Technically not free, but stolen from her brother and not bought for her, so I’m counting it 😛 We’ve progressed from rolling and chasing, to rolling backwards and forwards with anyone reckless enough to sit down with her
And that’s it. These are the things that keep my little explorer busy ALL DAY. Did I miss anything that is a fav with your 8-12 month old?