It always amuses me when a young child is given an expensive present and they are more interested in the ribbon / tissue paper / box it came in.
There are so many plastic baby toys in the shops but babies can actually find these quite boring and prefer things which are interesting to touch and look at. Plastic toys don’t stimulate a baby’s senses in the same way everyday objects do, because plastic toys all smell, taste and feel the same.
‘Treasure baskets’ are baskets or boxes you can put together full of interesting household objects for baby to explore (wooden spoon, pine cone, leather wallet, ribbons, etc). Obviously babies should not be left unsupervised with anything which is not meant to be a toy, but they should be allowed to explore the objects without being shown what they should do with them or which object they should pick up next, as the idea of treasure baskets is to let the baby make their own choices. Make sure everything is clean and nothing is broken or small enough to choke on and sit close by so you can step in if you need to.
Interestingly, the only thing The Pickle didn't try to eat was the apple!!
Recycled ‘junk’ toys
I made these ‘toys’ from empty pots of Plum baby food and stuck in photos of family members and pets. Again, we would never leave The Pickle unsupervised with these but he loves them. He bangs them together, looks at the pictures, stacks them inside each other, puts things in them and takes them out again… hours of fun, a way of recycling the pots and it didn’t cost a thing!
We have recently made a dolls house out of an old bookcase for The Princess’ 6th birthday present. Again, we’ve recycled things we no longer need, bought second hand furniture from ebay, made cushions, tablecloth and curtains from an old duvet cover and we cut out and laminated pictures from magazines to put on the walls. It hardly cost us anything to make but she absolutely loves it!
Other Recycled Toys and Keepsakes
The Natural Store (www.thenaturalstore.co.uk) sell some fantastic playhouses made from recycled and recyclable cardboard. I love the Paperpod Rocket and the Toy Fort.