Here's a little snapshot from our weekend away in a cabin by the Chesapeake Bay. We're so grateful for sweet friends who spoiled us with a vacation, home cooked meals, and wonderful fellowship.
The Father Daughter vest combo is my favorite!
So in honor of Bella's soon to be birthday, we're continuing my Top Five Favs today with Baby Toys:
Here's my philosophy on baby toys. They must to be versatile, space efficient, last longer than one baby phase, and if they make music- for my sanity's sake- they must have volume control. For example, you'll notice on this list, that I don't include things like bouncy seats or exersaucers. The bouncy seat only lasted one short phase for us, and an exersaucer is too big for our small apartment.
If you live in a home with more than 675 square feet, I think you'll find my top 5 toy list is a little different from your's. But believe it or not, I've kind of enjoyed the challenge. At any given time, I try to have only one bigger toy that sits out in our living room, and then I fit everything else in one basket under our coffee table. Yes... one basket.
I love it that friends come over and exclaim, "I can hardly tell a baby lives here!" But I really love seeing that my little girl is happy, learning, and having fun.
So, here we go!
1) Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes
This toy is small, has volume control, and has been a friend of Bella's for her whole first year. It was one of those baby shower gifts where a friend gave it with a note that read, "This was our kids favorite toy. Just trust me." I never thought in a million years that Bella would enjoy this toy all the way up to this day, but she has teethed on it, swayed with the music, and stared at the dancing lights... and she really gets in to it! Sometimes you just have to trust your friends. Thanks, Carin!
2) Stack and Roll Cups
Somewhere around the five to six month mark, I got tired of toys that only Bella could play with. I wanted to have a toy that I could play with her. So the hunt began, and I landed on this genius of a toy. These cups stack, and they form five rolling balls. Bella has learned how to bang them together, how to put things in them, how to roll them, how to open them. I've put all sorts of random objects inside the balls and had her open them to see what's inside. And she loves the random happy face ball. And this toy is not done yet! We'll be practicing numbers and colors and even shapes (yes, they're on each cup, you just can't see it in the picture) in the days to come. And did I mention this takes up minimal space?
Not a kid toy, you say? Wrong. One day, a girlfriend stopped by, saw our dominoes in the cabinet, and decided they would be the perfect toy for Bella. She was right! Bella demolishes any towers we build. She bangs them together. She takes them out and puts them back in. She teethes on them. She even tries to pick up the whole set and dump the bucket out. Our little she-woman... so cute!
4) Playgrounds & The Great Outdoors
So playgrounds may be a bit of a stretch, but they have a lot of big toys on them. And when you live in a small space, you have to get out. We've been walking, jogging, and laying out in the grass from the beginning, but somewhere around nine months, I introduced Bella to the playground. She is a great crawler and climber, so she has really enjoyed exploring a bigger space. And I love exploring it with her. Plus, getting out of the house pulls me away from all the many distractions I face at home and allows me to give her my undivided attention.
5) Buckets filled with random objects.
Bella loves emptying out bins, cabinets, her toy basket, etc. Anything that looks full, she loves sticking her hands in and going to work on. Sometimes this looks like her pulling out everything under our bathroom sink while I'm getting ready in the morning. More constructive examples take place at Nana's house (Nana is a genius when it comes to creative games for kids). She keeps a bucket of balls at the bottom of the stairs. She climbs up the stairs with her grand kids, and then has them pick out each ball and roll/bounce it down the stairs. Bella has loved this game and could play it all afternoon!
There are all sorts of creative and space saving ideas out there. I hope this post encourages those of you who are tight on space or budget. Just look around and put your creative thinking cap on. And don't forget to have fun with it. I must confess, it's a blast to be a kid again!
*"Faith is a living, daring confidence in God's grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times. Faith is permitting ourselves to be seized by the things we do not see." -Martin Luther