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No Batteries Required! Part 2

nobatteriesrequired2.jpgBabies and toddlers aren’t susceptible to peer pressure. They are totally honest – if they like something, they are delighted, and if they don’t like it they’ll ignore it. Once your little one is a few years older, you’ll find yourself being pressured to buy the latest toy, or the game his or her best friend has. So right now, enjoy the simple life with your baby!
It’s easy to entertain your baby for free. You can make toys for a baby, and you’ve probably got lots of interesting objects around the house already. Pots and pans, brooms, keys, phones and other household objects fascinate babies. Why do they love them so?

Babies traditionally love car keys. Buying plastic toy car keys is a waste of money. My son liked the toy ones for 5 minutes then wanted mine again. If you don’t want your baby to have your real keys, make up a set with old or spare keys. Keys fascinate babies because you carry them around everywhere and they can see that they are important. When you leave the house, do you say, have I got the keys? Where are the keys? Here’s the keys, Lets go!

Most baby toys are wood, or plastic, It’s unusual for babies to have anything metal to hold (and chew!) so they enjoy the novelty. Here’s a tip – if your car has a remote unlock, then take the bleeper off and keep it separately. Baby drool and the bleeper do not mix, especially when you are out somewhere and have to call your husband to bring you the spare.

Telephones are also fascinating. What happens when the phone rings? Mom immediately stops what she’s doing and goes and talks to it. They want to investigate this object that Mom is so obedient to! Toy phones usually don’t cut it, it’s amazing how even a young baby can tell the difference between a toy phone and the real one. My son’s favorite was an old cellphone of mine that had stopped working. But you may be able to temp your baby with a toy phone, especially if you pretend to talk on it too!

Household goods like pots, pans, bowls, and scrubbing brushes are a favorite because babies love to imitate. They don’t see you playing in the exersaucer, do they? But they’ve seen you clean the bath and sweep the floor and they want to do it too. Let an older baby help you do cold cooking, like stirring cake batter, or give them a plain sponge or a mop – obviously no cleaning chemicals of course. Small babies will like to sit and hold a sponge while you clean, or look at the spoons and ladles while you cook. Learning to help teaches them a very valuable social skill. It’s also charming to watch, I have an adorable photo of my 11-month old son “helping” daddy wash the car with a sponge.

Here’s some ideas for toys and activities you can make for free.

Bath toys. Save yogurt pots, margarine tubs, plastic bottles, apple sauce pots, and other plastic containers of different shapes and sizes. Make holes in the bottom of some with a skewer. Add to bath with baby, and watch the fun! Babies love to pour and splash, and they’ll think the pots with the holes in them are very curious. Where’s that water going?

A bonus of this is that they can get all the splashing messy energy out, and perhaps do a little less splashing in their lunch.
Cardboard tube marble run. Save the tubes from kitchen rolls, and use them to make a ball run. Tape the tubes at angles to an easel, or the basement door, then roll small balls or marbles down the tubes. Small babies love to watch and bigger babies love to help drop the balls.

To make it more interesting, cut some tubes in half length-ways so they can see the balls rolling, and cut little holes in others so the ball falls out halfway through.

This one isn’t for babies who will want to taste the marbles, and definitely a supervised activity.

What cheap, or free, or battery-free activities have you done with your baby? Share your ideas here!

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