It’s not necessary to buy expensive toys to satisfy you baby’s need for new things to explore.  Offer simple objects from around the home, even containers you would normally throw away.  Here’s a few simple and easy ideas to get you started.

Making things to play with:

Shakers:  Take different sized and shaped plastic transparent drink bottles and fill with:

* feathers, *tinsel, *confetti – for seeing

* buttons, *stones, *sand – for hearing

*coloured water, soapy water, oil and water – for weight and temperature

Permanently seal the lid on with non-toxic superglue.

Scrunchy Bags:  Stuff an orange net bag with clear cellophane, colourful plastic shopping bags, foil etc. (don’t use crepe paper as the dye runs).  Knot the bag securely at both ends.  Babies love to feel the texture and explore the sound with their hands and feet.

Mobiles:  Peg a variety of toys and patterns on a plastic clothes dryer.  Use ribbons, fabric, paper, faces drawn on paper plates, silver foil plates or other interesting objects from around the house. 

Choose individual pieces for their colour, pattern or the sounds they make.  Mobiles encourage babies to focus attention and concentrate as they watch movement, examine shapes and patterns and hear sounds.

Blocks:  Cover cubes of foam with a variety of textured and patterned fabrics.  A simple block can also be made by cutting off the bottom end of two milk cartons and inserting one into the other to form a cube.  Blocks are for examining and stacking.

Scarf Pull Out:  Knot together six to eight flimsy scarves.  Make two holes in the ottom of an ice cream container and attach the end scarf.  Make a hold in the container lid about the size of a fifty cent piece.  Gather all the scarves into the container.  Put the lid on and draw the other end scarf through the hole for about five centimetres. 

This toy works like magic.  The more your baby pulls, the more scarves appear.  This toy will need close supervision as your baby could potentially get entangled in the scarves.

Safety:  When offering toys to baby avoid anything sharp or broken.  Detachable small parts like buttons and stick on eyes.  Cords, toxic paints or plastics and balloons.

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