Friday, June 10, 2011

The wonderful "thingy basket"

One of my favorite "seasons" of Q's babyhood was her "thingy basket" days. Around the time she started sitting up (6ish months) we would make her a thingy basket. Very simply, I got a nice sturdy basket and we filled it with small treasures for her to explore. Some ideas:
-baby food jars filled with rice, pennies, beans, sequins, buttons (you can run a thin rim of hot glue around the lid then screw it on to keep it from opening)
-small kitchen utensils (wooden spoons, dip spreaders, different sizes of spoons, spatulas, etc.)
-small board books
-pieces of different fabrics, scarves, socks, burlap, denim squares
-napkin rings
-small cardboard boxes
-keychains (especially if they have keys on them!)
-non-used remote controls, cell phones, etc.
-a couple wooden blocks
-baby cereal box with pennies inside
-little sunglasses
-small flashlight
-empty food containers (washed)
-random objects from the garage that aren't sharp
-dish brush
-small wood and metal food dishes

Basically we'd take a walk around each room of the house and look for safe, fun items!
I really tried to focus on non-plastic items. The majority of baby toys are plastic--and plastic always feels the same, smells the same, is the same temperature, and doesn't provide much variety in sensory imput for little ones exploring their world. I wanted to provide objects of varying weights, textures, materials, temperatures, sizes, and uses for exploration.
During this stage we really didn't use too many of the "traditional" baby toys, as they were somewhat limited in what they could "teach" our little explorer.
It was so fun to watch her explore the new items and see how long it would take her to notice when we added a new one!
She'd sit FOREVER exploring her basket and had so much fun trying each object, feeling it, tasting it.....

Here is another link that shows an example of a great "thingy basket."

The picture above is Q playing with her thingy basket while Opa works on the computer.