This post goes out to all the new and expecting moms! If you’re like me, you’ve been texting every mom-friend you know to get the scoop on their parenting experience. In this series, I’ve teamed up with a handful of other design blogging mamas to be your internet’s version of texting your best friend.
And if mom posts aren’t your thing, come back later for more of my regular design and style content.
Now that we’ve covered all the tough topics – sleep, feeding, travel, working and childcare, self-care – let’s talk about something fun… Play! Gabriel and I are still new to this whole “play” thing as he only just started crawling and becoming interactive this past Fall (he’s 13 months old). So, our methods are simple. He toddles around and pulls every possible thing in sight out of it’s place, bangs and pounds on every other possible thing in proximity and then I follow behind and straighten up when he’s napping or asleep for the night. I know. I’m setting a dangerous precedent!
Right now, I’m trying not to set too many boundaries when it comes to play. His curiosity is on fire and I don’t want to stifle that. So, excluding things that are dangerous, a health risk or of particular value to me and David, I give our little man ample freedom to roam and investigate. Many times this looks like scattered toys, strewn papers, unpacked diaper bags and emptied kitchen drawers. The truth that I remind myself of daily is that most messes can be easily cleaned up and most germs aren’t as bad as we think they are. So he plays and I clean. It’s a happy mess.
As I’m quickly learning, it’s easy to accumulate an overabundance of toys, so we’ve set up a system to keep the numbers down. We store a variety of toys within easy reach inside baskets and bins around the house and reserve the extras in a place that Gabriel can’t access. Then we swap them out when it’s time for a change.
As far as the toys themselves go, I’ve found a handful of brands that I really love. Most of them are non-noise making and simply designed. I prefer classic wooden toys but I’ve found a few great plastic options too. Most importantly, I look for things that aren’t overstimulating, allow for creative play and leave something to the imagination.
- Plan Toys
- TouchThinkLearn books by Xavier Deneux
- Radio Flyer (always a classic)
- Melissa and Doug
- Skip Hop
I’ve even shopped for non-toy instruments such as shakers and rattles. There’s a great variety of sounds and textures to choose from and Gabriel likes them just as well if not better than the kid versions. Try places like Guitar Center or your local independent music shop.
So far, we’ve made two visits to the zoo, taken a field trip to the DFW airport observation area and hosted a birthday party (his 1 year party!). Gabriel also gets outside playground time at his daycare, which I love! But beyond that, we haven’t done much adventuring outside of errands and trips to visit David at work. Now that Gabriel is walking, I’m really looking forward to playdates and more field trips to places like the library and the zoo.
Any suggestions for fun play ideas from more experienced toddler moms out there?
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