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Hey, mamas! I don’t know about you, but keeping up with baby has me whooped. Just when I began to think I had this whole SAHM thing down, Lottie went and outgrew all her toys. I suddenly found myself in a race against time to keep Lottie occupied. Most days, I was lucky to keep her busy for more than five minutes. Unless I wanted to keep playing “walk about” seventy times a day (Oh, you want to touch the picture? Sure, let’s touch the picture. Oh, you want to touch the doorknob? Sure, let’s touch the doorknob…), I needed to find some new activities. I turned to my trusty Pinterest and fellow moms for some inspiration. Here’s what I found!
The Cup Pit
This just may be the easiest baby activity you ever come across. So, I was browsing around Pinterest the other day, as you do, and I came across a photo of a kid sitting in a Pack and Play, completely surrounded by Red Solo cups. That’s it. That’s the whole activity.
Sadly, this is the only link I can find associated with the pin, so I can’t give proper kudos to the individual who posted this little wonder on Pinterest, but let me tell you, Lottie LOVES it. The first time I set her down in that Pack ‘n’ Play full of cups, her face was the epitome of wonder. Sadly I sent my husband after the cups, so we just have boring old clear cups, but this didn’t bother Lottie. She was in cup paradise.
A little word to the wise, watch the cups for wear and tear. After a few uses, they can begin to split, leaving sharp edges. With a small dose of vigilance, we’ve had no issues.
Do you struggle to entertain a curious baby? I know I do. Lottie wants to touch and experience everything her little hands can reach. I’ve been hard-pressed to find activities that will hold my busy bee’s attention for more than a few minutes. Behold the world’s simplest solution. The Sticky Tape Challenge from Laughing Kids Learn just requires a solid surface and a little masking tape.
Note that Kate does recommend this activity for ages 1+, but I found my 9 month old to be utterly mesmerized by it. You do need to keep careful watch for this activity, as anything in baby’s hand almost always heads for baby’s mouth, and little wads of tape most definitely count as a choking hazard.
I’ve loved watching Lottie puzzle out why one side of the tape is sticky but the other not. And why the individual pieces of tape are sticky but the roll is not. Now, Lottie’s face lights up every time she sees the masking tape come out.
Wet and Wild
When I first noticed Lottie becoming bored with her toys, I turned to my local mom group for a little inspiration. Their answer was practically unanimous–water play! For some reason, I’d had it in my head that water play was for toddlers, not babies. Sure, I knew Lottie loved bath time and splashing away, but that’s just for bedtime, right? I’m sure it will come as no surprise that, once again, this novice mama was dead wrong.
Lottie loves playing with a small baking sheet covered in two cups of water (just enough to make a good splash). Her favorite water toys are spoons and measuring cups, really anything Mama uses in the kitchen. She particularly enjoys the whisk. This activity easily keeps Lottie entertained for a good thirty minutes. THIRTY MINUTES. Even the dog likes to get in on the fun, lapping up the water as quickly as I can pour it.
We’ve had a fair amount of trial and error with our water play set up (my kitchen floor has reached new levels of clean), so I feel fairly confident in the following tips. Choose an area that can stand a little wet (we use our linoleum kitchen floor, but outside would be even better). Always, always put down a towel. Or two. Or five. Clothes are not needed for water play. A diaper will do just fine. Above all, never ever turn your head, not even for a minute, or you will turn back to find baby in the pan (excuse the poor image quality, it was too cute not to share).
The Magic Box
Okay, this is the most hands on project I am sharing with you today, but I promise, it is still super easy. A little Pinterest research brought me to this idea from The DIY Mommy. I don’t know about your little, but Lottie is absolutely obsessed with the wipes box. She thinks it’s magical, and if she sees it lying around the house, she will go nuts trying to reach it.
The DIY Mommy created a great post on making a baby toy out of a wipes container. All you need is a little scrap fabric, some scissors, and an empty container (I used a Pampers refillable wipe box). Follow this link to get the full instructions.
A few thoughts from this mama:
- Use pinking shears to cut the fabric–they keep the edges from fraying, so your new toy will last longer and you won’t find little fabric strings all over your living room.
- If you are going to use a wipes box, you have to fold and layer the fabric just perfectly so that the “wipes” will pull up through the slot one after the other, which is why…
- I’m thinking of moving my fabric over to an empty Kleenax box, as soon as we have one available. That way it will be easier for Lottie to reach her little fingers in and pull the fabric out. I know this takes away some of the fun of getting to play with the forbidden wipes box, but I think she will still enjoy the activity.
The Bucket of Forbidden Things
This one I owe entirely to my MIL. Lottie LOVES getting away with things that she thinks she’s not supposed to be doing. If the baby gate is down, she will crawl right to the edge of where she’s normally constrained, waits for me to look, and flashes a devilish grin before bolting from the room. If I leave my cell phone lying on the couch, Lottie’s on it like a kid on cake. What ever Mama has, Lottie needs.
This weekend, I filled a spare tupperware with all of Lottie’s favorite “forbidden” things. I found a dead cellphone, a wireless keyboard we no longer use, and a TV remote that no longer belongs to a TV. Add in a scratched up pair of sunglasses and an old gaming remote just like Daddy’s, and you’ve got yourself a little box of paradise. Lottie can’t get enough of her new favorite box. Down the road, I plan to put the box away and only pull it out when needed. But for now, I’m just watching her play. Nothing makes me happier than knowing I helped make that sweet little grin.