When your babies are small, they learn by being around their parents and observing what goes on in their world - watching you interact with others and go about your daily life. This is a big part of why baby wearing is so helpful for them - they are around you more. But, Playing is also a big part of learning for babies and children. Narrowing down exactly what toys are "have to haves" is a tough area to say – we aren’t big on Cora having every toy there is out there, but we want her to be able to play at her age level, since for babies playing = learning. Choose your toys carefully, the toy aisle has so many options! Sometimes our daughter seems to have more fun playing with stuff in the kitchen, or climbing on pillows or the rocking chair, or peekaboo with her blanket, that we just haven’t spent much on toys.
- BOOKS (board books for when baby is young - they like to chew!)
- Boxes - Cora loves putting things in boxes, putting herself in boxes....it's fun for her!
- A "bouncy" seat - some immobile play station where you can put baby in the seat that has fun toys attached - Baby is safe (can't get into things they shouldn't) and can be reasonably entertained. Don't count on baby staying happy there for longer than 10-20 minutes, and you've got to stay in the same room with baby to talk to them.
- A ball that baby can hold onto, a doll, and some soft stuffed animals
- A basket or tub of toys that baby can empty and then fill back up
- We also recommend trying the Baby Signing Time DVD’s. They’re a really fun way to learn signing. It helps communicate with a baby who isn't great verbally yet - they can tell you they want to "eat" or "drink" or want "more" or need to go "potty" Baby Sign Language is a wonderful tool!!!!
- CD’s – our daughter loves music. Try to pick music that is meaningful. Trust me – otherwise you’ll find yourself humming, “Cackle, cackle, mother goose, have you any feathers loose?” out loud! I’m on the lookout now for praise and worship music that is sung by kids. I also remember growing up having tapes with bible verses put to song – which was great, fun to sing, and easy to memorize! Cora's grandparents have gifted her with a PraiseBaby "Born to Worship" DVD that is a music video w/ worship songs geared for young babies and children, and also some Cedarmont Kids DVDs, and these have subtitles in case you parents have forgotton the lyrics to some of these christian classics (I know I forgot some of them!).
- The picture I'm attaching with this post shows Cora sitting in the box that holds the blocks, and you can see most of the toys she has - a little car scooter thing that converts to a "walker" that she can hold onto and push along as she walks, she's got some shape sorter toys, a "rollercoaster" beads on wires thing....really I'm sure you can't go too wrong with the toys you pick!
- As much fun as toys are - nothing matches how much fun baby can have playing with YOU!! Your baby loves giggling at funny faces you make, when you tickle them, when you swing them up in the air, when you sing and dance - Baby's favorite things to play with are the people they love - and I really do mean that!
And this concludes the "Baby Stuff Series"!! I hope someone found the tips and lists helpful, or someday will. Again, I've said before but I want to reiterate - not everything I've written here will be the best for every family, but it has worked well for us, and I wanted to share our experiences as food for thought for anyone else that might benefit.
Thanks for reading!