One of the biggest myths about having children is that babies are expensive to have. Nothing could be further from the truth if you know how to do it. You don’t need to spend any money on special baby toys. Here are some great toys and games you can play with your baby that are or are made from common household items.
I give my baby pretty much anything that is safe for her to play with. Some items need to be made safe first. For example, I remove the hair from my hairbrush before giving it to her, or I make sure that the lenses of my sunglasses will not easily pop out before she is allowed to explore them. If a bottle has a cap, remove it or glue it on securely before giving it to your baby. Even childproof caps are not 100% safe.
Babies like items that they can explore as a project. A purse filled with everyday items is fun to explore. Some babies can sit for up to an hour rummaging inside a handbag and pulling out various items. There are also pockets to explore which may have snap buttons or zippers. These are fun to undo and empty. Baby can also sort the items and put them back into the purse. Always be sure that the items in your purse are safe and that there is nothing baby could choke on such as coins, medicine, pen caps, or candy.
Magazines are also a fun project toy. Babies can turn the pages, enjoy all of the pictures and colors, and it familiarizes them with letters. Some babies love crumpling up the pages or tearing them out. Keep a stack of old magazines on hand for your baby to play with.
My baby loves playing with a Mason jar. These are not safe on concrete or stone floors, but should be fine on a carpeted, wood, or linoleum floor. She can roll it, put things inside, empty it out, and – her favorite – yell loudly into the jar and listen to the echo it makes.
Do you want to teach Baby about family? Photo albums are a great alternative to baby books. Baby can see and interact with photos of family and the plastic sleeves protect the photos from drool and fingerprints.
Water play isn’t just for bath time. If you need your baby to sit still for a few minutes while you get something done, try seating your baby on a non-carpeted floor with a heavy casserole dish filled with about half an inch of water. Be sure to include one or two items baby can splash with such as a spoon or sponge. Never leave your baby alone with a dish of water as young babies can drown in less than an inch.
Almost every baby loves playing with dishes. Pots and pans can be banged together, bowls can be stacked, cups used like blocks to topple over, and all kinds of things can be put inside of pots with lids. We use our pot lids as tops to spin on the floor.
Boxes and laundry baskets make great toys. Baby can turn them over, put things inside, stack them, crawl inside, and even hide underneath!
Utilitarian items are great for your baby to play with because they can teach them to use and become familiar with them. Try giving your baby a toothbrush, comb, or hairbrush. Clothing items such as baby shoes, hats, and gloves are also fun. Show Baby how to use them but don’t get frustrated if they want to play with them in a way they were not intended to be used.
Are you looking for a unique game you can play with your baby? Mix some baby shampoo with a little water and make your own bubbles! Bubbles help your baby learn to track objects and develop hand and eye coordination. Watch the surprise on your baby’s face as the bubbles pop when grabbed.
You’d be surprised how much babies love to play with trash. Empty washed milk jugs, food boxes, and balls made of crumpled paper are a lot of fun. So are strawberry baskets, gift bows, paper bags, and empty soda bottles.
Always be safe when giving your baby toys. Be sure to supervise your baby and remove all caps or pieces that Baby could choke on. Never leave your baby alone with plastic bags, string, ribbon, containers of water, or anything that might be a strangulation, suffocation, or choking hazard.
Other hazardous items include keys and key rings which often contain toxic amounts of lead, colored wrapping paper which contain lead, mercury, and other toxic heavy metals, or any metal items as they can contain lead as well. Check items for rough or sharp edges and for pieces of plastic or other items that may come off and become a choking hazard. Also be sure to check items for small holes that baby can get his or her fingers stuck in. Never leave your baby alone with an item that was not intended to be used as a toy.