Friday, January 13, 2012

the art of play

You know, there is more than one way to amuse a kid. When enthusiasm for their toys gives out, it's important to have other ideas at the ready. I've been thinking about this lately as I pack up and clear out un-used toys in advance of our mini relocation. We're moving out for a few weeks while some work is done on our house, and we won't be bringing more than a few treasured favourites along. Keeping babies entertained is also a frequent topic of conversation in the shop; I find moms with babies around seven or eight months looking for "something," but most baby development toys are a variation on a theme: they're plush and colourful, they're good for teething, they usually crinkle, squeak, wriggle or jingle. They serve a good purpose, but you don't need a dozen of them. Here are some un-toy things we've enjoyed:

Catching bubbles
Sorting and stacking Tupperware containers
Plastic bin filled with soapy water, measuring scoops, plastic toys
Reading a book with a puppet
Catching bubbles
Singing and tickling games
Wood cook spoons for drumming and hammering (a plastic container is easier on the ears than a pot)
Bedsheet "parachute" as baby sits in the middle of the bed
Music for dancing in your arms
Box of interesting things to explore and sort: feathers, cups, hats, rubber balls, spoons, small baskets and boxes.

Laundry hamper/basket - they make excellent jails, rocketships & basketball nets
Music & dancing - one of mine loves 1950s Sha-Boom-type stuff; the other likes the Rolling Stones. Both like it when it's loud.
Sidewalk chalk; try using it on black paper too
A scavenger hunt around the yard: find a pinecone, a dandelion, something red
Sofa cushion fort
Finding sock pairs in the giant basket of mis-matched socks (they get "points" for each pair matched)
Face painting
Hide & Seek
Basic craft supplies: glue, tape, paper, feathers, pom-poms
Baking - mine love banana bread

If you have any ideas to add, please send them over and I'll add them to the post.