It’s a little known fact that the less toys a child has, the more they play. Now, I won’t lie to you and say my boys have nothing but a cardboard box and some crayons. In fact, they have a whole playroom; however, they’re also toddlers. When they were babies, I kept things minimal on purpose!
Babies don’t need toys. Babies need freedom to explore.
The infant brain is has more neurons that stars in the galaxy! These neurons need to excited, or used, otherwise they die off. When a baby is given a toy that does the same thing repeatedly, we’re limiting the brains capability and allowing the “use it or lose it” phenomenon to lessen our babies potential. So, avoid gimmicky battery operated toys, definitely avoid screen time, and instead provide rich sensory experiences with a bunch of random crap!
Materials to keep on hand for babies:
- craft poms
- ziplock bags
- egg cartons
- pots, pans
- pipe cleaners
- finger paint
- playing cards
- muffin tins
- pillow cases
- empty water bottles
- bubble wrap
- duct tape
- food coloring
There’s probably more I could add to this list, but my brain is fried. Did I mention I have toddlers now? LOL
Besides reading stories, singing songs, wrestling, and baby dance parties get creative with these materials. Allow baby to explore them with no “point” in mind. Set the stones out with a pot and see what baby does. Perhaps they’ll have fun moving stones from a pot to a pan. Maybe they choose to throw them into the pot and laugh at the noise, or maybe they’ll bang the pot like a drum.
Set playing cards out next to a toaster or ziploc bag.
Put beans into an old sock for a sensory toy.
Use the clotespins with craft poms to make paint brushes and let baby “paint” with water onto a cardboard box.
Stuff things into a pillow case and let them dig them out.
Throw poms, bottle caps (supervised), beans, and stones into the muffin tins.
The sky is the limit with these materials and that’s the point! Let baby explore their world, and their abilities, creatively without rules or judgement. My boys are two now and will play with just about anything and I marvel at their creativity! They’ve never required “toys” to stay busy and explore. They create fun with whatever is around!