walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Retrospective toys for mouthers

P. asked for a list for the even-younger set. This is dangerous, because my youngest is 2 years and 3 months and my memory is crap. Worse, looking through what I wrote down in detail for my website and thinking about it a little, there isn't much about toys and what there is distorted by our collection of diagnoses.

With all that in mind, here are some suggestions:

(1) The bookshelf. In this case, probably all fabric books. Board books dissolve in the face of dedicated chewing, so those may have to be stored out of reach. Get at least one that has pictures of baby faces. Try to get some fabric and/or board books with textural or other sensory elements. Buy everything produced by Sandra Boynton, including the book+cd stuff.

(2) Things that go buzz. There are a variety of vibration toys out there, altho it can be tricky to find ones for mouthers. Some of them have a pull to activate; this can't be a naked string for obvious reasons, but they often design stuff to cover up the string in a colorful and appealing way. If you have a kid with sensory issues and you get toys that go buzz and they reliably freak out when you get out the toys that go buzz, think about contacting early intervention, and think about seeing a neuropsych/psychologist specializing in kids, etc. Everyone will think you are crazy...except the professionals, who will be _really_ impressed.

(3) There will be lots of black and white and brightly colored things in your life. That's as much a warning as a suggestion.

(4) Ducks for the bathtub. I know. Seems too traditional, but there are some positives. You can get ones with a color change on the bottom that will warn you if the water is too hot, which is useful if you aren't good at judging.

(5) One or more baby dolls. It's tricky finding ones that people will commit to being safe for the mouthers, but these really do support pretend play, especially if you get a little bed (or make one out of a shoe box) and practice night-night. Baby-wearers can make or create a sling for their kid to carry the baby around in. Otherwise you can get a little doll stroller once your kid is walking.

(6) Corn popper. The fisher price thing. It is amazing. There are some wooden-toy sort-of equivalents.

(7) A wagon. When they are little, you can roll them around in it. When they are bigger, they do lots of things with it. You can get them in multiple sizes, including doll size.

(8) Fabric blocks. We had the Haba castle ones. They had texture, some squeakers, color and pattern. They were really cool.

(9) Musical instruments: a drum, a xylophone, maybe a keyboard. Definitely a Mozart cube.

(10) Rattles. I loved the wooden ones from Haba, and the silver ones from Tiffany.

Some of the things on the previous list which I didn't mention here work fine with littles, too: balls, collapsible tunnel. And there's a million toys-attached-to-useful-things: high chairs with trays that toys fit into, mobiles attached to cribs and crib plushies which are music boxes with a pull string and some lighting effect, baby "gyms" for mobiles-on-the-floor that are graspable. Get a baby "armchair" (all fabric, but structured). T. loved the Elmo one from Target because it made giggle sounds (and had an off switch, which we loved) and had a face on it. Duplos are surprisingly useless, but a good way to entertain an adult who is watching a kid and bored stiff.

And you may hate me for this, but get Teletubbies videos if you can. You can usually find them on eBay. They were the only thing that held my kids attention when they were very small. (Okay, T. also liked football, but our theory was that they basically looked like tubbies: green field, funny shaped people, wandering around).

I've probably forgotten a ton of things, but mostly, my recollection was that the toy requirement ramped up fast after they were walking; before that, they were happy with remarkably little, and my focus was on other gear.

ETA: There's a huge category of toy designed to deal with the almost-walking stage. I know people who love walkers, despite the epic stigma now attached to them. A. loved the saucer version of that; T. would never put up with anything like that. Neither kid was all that interested in the classic push-toy-to-help-you-walk. We never got a toy shopping cart (altho I continue to think about it). That's a classic, supports pretend play, and is available in plastic and non-plastic versions.

ETAYA: OMG I forgot shape sorters! And bead mazes. And probably a bunch of other stuff, like those things that you push buttons or switches or whatever and stuff pops up and then you push it down and do it all over again. Chicco, Battat and International Playthings all have great stuff along these lines, if you're okay with plastic. Wood shape sorters and bead mazes are easy to find (well, they have metal for the wire, obviously); I don't think you can get non-plastic versions of the pop-up stuff.
Tags: parenting, toys
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