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Friday, June 12, 2009

Take that obnoxious toy and shove it!

About three months ago I started noticing that my daughter needed more stimulation. No longer was she content with just a boob, although, it still satisfies the savage beast most of the time.
As much as I tried to ignore it, my baby was no longer a newborn anymore. She needed some stimulation.
Now, I'm not one of those uber-socially conscious moms who thinks all electronic toys are from the devil. But as cliche as this sounds, (I have lots of friends who are those uber-socially conscious moms) the most expensive and loudest most obnoxious toys really and truly are a waste of money.
Annika has already been given lots of toys and she will play with those loud, plastick-ey type toys for about five minutes (if that) and then she'll look at me like, "What now mom?"
In my head I can imagine her as a pre-teen whining, "I'm bored!"
So, in order to nip that kind of shit in the bud, I asked my online AP group to share some creative play ideas that I will list below.
Creative play is important for a number of reasons:
Creative play teaches kids things like cause and effect. It gives them more control over their own environment. It helps them learn how to improvise and be creative. It helps them learn basic things like colors and counting. It gives them confidence.
It helps them self-regulate and improves the cognitive skill of "executive function."
Here's the list:

Dress up clothes
Pots and pans and a spoon for stirring
Small animal figurines
Containers for putting things in, stacking like big blocks, etc. Suggestions, wipes boxes or thread boxes
Silk scarves
Old phones
Water play
Homemade paint and play dough
Paper towel and toilet paper tubes
Big bowl of dried beans for mixing and pouring (Cheerios works great for this too and they can have a snack at the same time)
Water in several small cups with food coloring for mixing and pouring
Small toys frozen in water in yogurt cups. Kiddo plays with the "icebergs" until
the toys melt out.
Finger painting with whipping cream or shaving cream (if he or she won't eat it).
Sand box with treasures hidden.
Cornstarch or rice in a big plastic tub that kid can sit inside (only if kid is
past the stuff-in-mouth stage)
Lots of "putting in and taking out" at this age. Nesting cups - yogurt
containers, etc. Pouring.
Make a "baby lava lamp" with a plastic water bottle: colored water (water +
food coloring) and vegetable oil (clearer, lighter oil is better). Close with
lid, then duct-tape the lid to secure it.
"Painting" rocks or other things with water.
A water table and/or sand box/table
Try to snag a free set of cardboard "blocks" by checking with
various stores, like at the fabric store. You can get small cardboard boxes the size of 5 spools of thread.
Instruments: An assortment of drums, a xylophone/piano toy, shakers, jingle bells, harmonica and kazoo, slide whistle and sticks. Oh and the pots, pans and lids combined with wooden spoons!
Felt board

Here's another good link with ideas for older kids:

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