Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Quick Ideas For Baby Toys

Babies really are easy to please. We have come to a point in modern parenting where we believe that parenting a baby means that we have to buy everything we can find. That absolutely is not true! You can make some of the best toys for your baby with materials that you have on hand. Here are a few examples of ways you can entertain your baby for little money.

When you have finished with a jug of apple juice, wash it out really well. You may want to put some hot water in it. Put the lid on and let the bottle sit for about an hour. Rinse it and then turn the jug upside down. It should be clean without any smell of the juice. Now go to your craft store and buy a large number of beads. You can find hundreds of beads for only a couple of dollars. Put the beads into the juice jug and then put the lid back on the jug. Use some masking tape to be sure that your baby does not get the lid off the jar. Your baby will be able to use this jug as a drum or as a rattle or morocco.

Be sure that you let your baby lead in these exercises. One place where home-made toys have the advantage over store-bought ones is that there is no right way to use them. It is about your baby's imagination, not the instructions in a box. There are many variations on this idea, and you can try out several of them. You can use milk jugs and put change inside or try putting rice or beans into a smaller jar. If you have older children (or are in the mood yourself), then you can even paint the jug so that they are brightly colored.

You can use the cardboard can from oatmeal or grits to make a drum for your baby. You will need to get a piece of sturdy cloth or stick with the plastic lid that came with the canister. You will help your baby to put beans into the canister so that it will make noise. Then you can take the cloth and attach it to the outside of the canister with hot glue. (Of course, you should keep your baby far away during this part.) Then you can help your baby find sticks to use as drumsticks from the outside. Similarly, you can try other household items for drumsticks or let your baby drum Congo style, using his hands. This drum can become the beginning of a collection of baby instruments that you make on your own.

Some of the best baby toys are variations of items you already have in your home. Think about the learning experience your baby can get from a cardboard box. He or she can learn to open the box. If it is big enough, climbing in and out of it can be fun. You can even help her by showing her how to make doors and move in and out of the box. Have a snack inside. It will be great fun for you and your baby.

Pots, pans, and wooden spoons also are good toys for little ones. They teach many science experiments in one. Your baby can discover how the different materials sound when you hit them as well as working to put them inside each other. So many parents are willing to spend lots of money on helping their children to learn through toys, but the reality is that some of the best learning can be done through everyday fun that your child can have with toys.

Look around. See what you have. It is likely that you can help your child to learn by using what you already have. You can use a blanket to play peek-a-boo, for instance. You can open and close doors with your baby on the other side to teach about motion as well as object permanence.

Be sure that you count and recite colors and letters often with your child. If you see a lizard, point it out. You will be surprised at how quickly your baby can catch on using some simple little toys that you make at home.

By Julia Mercer

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