TOP TOYS TO MAKE FOR TINY BABES (2-6 months)
SCRUNCH BAG – Eyes and Ears Place cellophane into a veggie netting bag Tie it closed This toy is great for encouraging eye tracking; alerting to sound; reaching and swiping or grasping. Place baby on her tummy and put the scrunch bag under her/his hands to encourage scratching. In back lying, encourage baby to kick the scrunch bag.
PAPER PLATE FACES – Eyes and Social interaction Draw a simple face on a white paper plate You can also draw patterns such as stripes, dots, squares Try placing the paper plate on your car seat for baby to look at while strapped up in his/hers car seat. Place the plate on the wall next to the changing table. Babies love looking at faces and patterns at this age and it helps them practice their focus.
RATTLES – Hand grip and shoulder girdle coordination Any well sealed container e.g. Cal–C-Vita; small plastic bottles, small tins. Contents: Rice, sugar, popcorn, lentils The variety of contents all create a different sound, so try using a few different ingredients. Cylindrical containers encourage the thumb to hold in opposition to the other fingers. Rattles encourage shaking which assists the development of the shoulder girdle.
PRAM / COT TOY – Vision, reach, grasp String a variety of interesting objects onto a piece of elastic e.g. Large bell, soft curler, large bead, bright shape, small rattle. Attach across cot or pram. Encourages fine motor exploration – reaching (learning depth perception); grasp and shake.
BEST TOYS TO MAKE FOR BABES (6-9 months)
ROLY POLY BOTTLES – Encourages tummy lying, pivoting, creeping and crawling You will need an empty 2L Coke bottle – must be plastic. Inside place water, glitter, a rubber toy that expands in size Other contents = dish washer liquid to make bubbles Rolling from side to side encourages eye tracking across the midline Roll to the right or left and encourage baby to pivot to that side Crawling babies love to follow this toy.
SENSORY SAUSAGE – Encourages sensory exploration and crawlingTake 3 veggie netting bags and fill each with safe, interesting items e.g. Corks, purity lids, cellophane, balls, squeaky toys Join the bags together to make a sensory sausage. In sitting, encourage baby to reach for dangling sausage In back lying, encourage baby to reach across her body and roll over. Encourage baby to follow the ‘snake’ in creeping or crawling.
STRINGED TOYS – Cause and effect, Object Permanence, Pincer grip Choose baby’s favourite rattle or toy Attach a thick piece of string to the end of it Place the toy out of reach and the string next to baby – as she/he pulls the string the toy comes closer. This is cause and effect. Hide the toy and only show the string, to encourage Object Permanence. Pulling string encourages the pincer grip.
FEELY BOOK – Tactile exploration and fine motor manipulation Make a texture book using different squares of material e.g. satin, rubber, velvet, Hessian. Punch holes into the squares with a paper punch Assemble the texture squares with ribbon to make a booklet. Encourage feeling, turning, rubbing on and naming body parts. ARTICLE FOR MOMS AND BABES
SIMPLE TOYS TO MAKE FOR SUPER BABES (9-12 months)
MUFFIN BALLS – Posting and fitting and sorting Using a muffin tray, encourage baby to place tennis balls into each hole. If you have two muffin trays, encourage baby to place fruit e.g. oranges into the holes. This encourages eye hand coordination; one-to-one association; posting and early sorting.
RING ON STICK – Eye hand coordination; bilateral coordination Using a wooden spoon and a variety of rings e.g. toilet roll; serviette ring; curtain ring etc, encourage and help baby to place the roll or ring on the handle of the wooden spoon. This is a great exercise to encourage motor planning and the ability to coordinate the two hands together.
FEELY BOX FOR FINGERS –Poking and Pointing; Touch Collect 2 boxes (toothpaste or panado/Calpol box) Line one box with sandpaper and the other with velvet. Cut a finger sized round hole on each side of the boxes. Encourage baby to poke into the holes with her/his index finger. Talk about the feel e.g. soft, rough etc. This is good practice for index finger isolation, poking and pointing, touch stimulating and touch discrimination.
RAIN MAKER – Cause and Effect Punch holes into the base of a plastic container (e.g. 2L plastic milk bottle cut in half). When baby is playing in the bath, make rain by filling up the container and lifting it up. Drizzle water on parts of the body and sing a ‘raining’ song. Encourages filling and emptying; touch sensation; cause and effect.
VELCRO HEAD – Faces and Fine motor Use a furry ball and make your own facial parts (eyes, nose, mouth), out of felt material. Glue or sew Velcro (hooked side) onto the back of each part. Mom sticks the parts onto the furry ball and baby pulls them off. Baby tries to replace them onto the ball. This encourages pincer grip; strength of fingers; placing; body concept.
PULL OUT FEELY BOX – Pulling out; Putting in; Feeling Using a large box (shoe box or Xerox box), cut two hand sized holes into the top and side. Place different textured material into the box. Encourage baby to use the pincer grip to pull out the pieces of material. Mom uses the other hole to demonstrate. You can also vary this game by posting toys into the box – big and small – watch how baby problem solves. This encourages tactile stimulation and discrimination; pincer grip; and pulling strengthens the shoulders and arms.