Apps, activity gyms, electronic toys, busy gyms, e-books, the list goes on. There are millions of toys available to kids today. The problem is a lot of these toys can be overwhelming with multiple buttons, flashing lights, music, sound effects, doors that open, or maybe all of the above. Even more unfortunate, some families can not afford toys at all. In my experience I have played with A LOT of toys. And, I have played with a lot of things that are not toys, but instead, stuff I’ve found in my kitchen cabinets.
Below I’ve listed what I believe to be the essential toys and non toys for ages 0-3.
- Books. Books. and More books. Reading is essential to development in so many ways. Cognitive, communication, social emotional. And most of all, reading with your child is you spending time with your child and doing nothing else. For babies 0-12months use board books with bright colors, lift-the-flaps, or touch and feel books.
- Containers and utensils. When you buy those baby safe lock kits, leave one cabinet unlocked, your container cabinet. This way, baby has a safe place to play and they won’t feel locked out of everything. They like putting things in other things, pretending to mix, and just making noise by banging. Your kitchen cabinets are ideal for this.
- Toy Phone. Whether it be a store bought Barbie phone, an old cell phone, or the handle to a paper grocer bag (yup), any toy phone is a great toy to have in your house. Pretending, practicing hello/good bye, “calling” family members/animals, etc.
- Fresh Air! I once read an article where a mom vowed to go outside with her kids every single day for one year. No matter the weather. Just take a step outside for a few short breaths. Really short if its a blizzard. Children can receive so much sensory input in just a few minutes outside. Of course, they will most likely want to stay out longer than just a few minutes. So crunch through some leaves. Pick up stick. Touch a tree. Smell pine needles. Say hi to a neighbor. Wave to a car.
- Photographs. Children love looking at pictures. Whether you have a tin of random photos on your coffee table, or you make them their own photo album. This one is really cute but you can also make your own with a binder ring and a hole punch. Make one of just baby, or use family members and pets. Before you know it she will be waving, saying hello, and pointing out who’s who.
I could go on and on with my favorite toys and items for babies. In the future, look for my “Christmas List”, items that make great gifts for babies of specific ages.
Now, go play!