10 Toy Rotation
We have recently started a rotating toys system for JJ. I have found that when he has too many toys available to him he is overwealmed and it makes him fussy. He can never decide on what to play with so he just throws everything all around the room, wreaking havoc and playing with nothing. This just belittles my efforts to teach him respect and responsibility for things. With fewer toys it has been easier to keep them organised, and makes bed time clean up a more enjoyable chore. I am also able to model appropriate play, as opposed to throwing things everywhere.
I wanted to be able to provide JJ with a varierty of toys that offer something in all ranges of development. I also let JJ choose most of the toys from his toy bin. Needless to say.... JJ is a typical boy and he opted for the noisy toys.
So here are this weeks toys.
Fisher and Price Farm
This toy was JJ's Christmas present from Santa. It was an amazing find, $3.99 from our local thrift store. It includes several animals, a tractor, farmer, fences and more. We use the farm to learn about animals and their sounds. It also encourages pretend play. Right now JJ is really into pretending the animals can fly because he loves to pick them up and throw them.
Fisher and Price Drop and Roar Dinosaur
Technically it is a dinosaur but we always call it the dragon. It seems more magical that way doesn't it? This is another amazing find. $6 at a consignment sale. This toy has been a lot of fun for us. We have had it for a while. We used this toy to teach JJ to put balls into holes. Now he mostly likes to swing the pendulum in the dragon's belly.
Leapfrog Lulu the spider
I don't think that I could explain how much JJ loves Lulu. She had been hidden away in his toy bin for a while to make way for other toys. As soon as he saw her he was so excited and he promptly pulled her out and started tapping on her belly to make her sing the alphabet song. For the record Lulu is the only thing allowed to sing the alphabet song. When I try to sing it JJ covers his ears and goes and searches for Lulu. He also has another leapfrog toy that plays the song and he likes it well enough; but as soon as it sings 'Lulu's song' JJ gets mad and knocks it over. JJ constantly spends the day going over to Lulu and hitting her belly to make her sing. He now also loves to lie down and cuddle Lulu. He has not taken to any special lovey yet, no stuffed animal, no blankey; but he loves his Lulu. It is just a bonus that she sings and displays the letters.
Baby Einstein Blocks
A Christmas gift from a friend that I wish we had many months ago. These blocks are great. They have different textures on each side that we talk about. They are easy for a baby to grab and they are just the right size for JJ to stack. We just started playing with these blocks this week and JJ has already been able to select the red block. Upon request, he went and picked up the red block to hand to his Grandma who was skypeing to us on my laptop at the time. At first I thought it was a fluke, however he was able to repeat a similar request when Daddy wanted the red block the next day. So needless to say, these blocks have been a great tool in learning colors.
I remember spending many hours playing with a shape-o just like this when I was a child. When I saw one online I decided that I HAD to get one for JJ. However they cost in excess of $20. I started looking on ebay and I found a single auction that had it listed at a very low start price, so I bid $3 thinking that I would never get it. A week later I got a message that I had won a shape-o! For $3! JJ also selected the shape-o from the toy bin; I suspect because it is an incredibly noisy toy and he loves to roll it around and shake it. Today however he was really into wanting to do shapes. In fact he didn't want to go to bed and he wanted to stay up, and play shapes. (I am suspecting that I have a bed procrastinator on my hands here). He did really well. At some point he was able to get all the shapes into the holes without me guiding him, on the condition that I told him which hole to use. He also did it while multi-tasking. He was constantly checking my laptop to see if Grandma was on skype.
Also a Christmas gift from a friend. Another noisy toy and another selection of JJ's. I never could really tell what he thought about this toy. He liked it when we pushed it down to make it pop; and though he tried a few times half heartedly he could never do it himself. Then yesterday the clumsy boy fell and landed on the toy, and in anger he started smacking at the top of it with just enough force to make it pop. Now he can pop it at will.
Fisher and Price Train and Dump Truck
The train was a Christmas gift from us and the truck was a gift from a friend. James chose the truck and I chose the train from the bin. JJ has become a typical little boy. He loves to play with cars, trucks and trains. He loves to make nosies and make them crash. What more need be said?
Basic Red Bouncy Ball
A friend had this ball at her house and it is small and light and bouncy. Of course JJ fell in love with it. He loved to carry it around everywhere, throw it, kick it, bounce it. A great gross motor skill toy. My mum and I searched for a replica ball that would be a much loved first birthday present. After going to several stores and only finding denser or larger balls we were at an empass. Instead we made a deal; I bought 2 bigger Spiderman balls for my friend's sons and traded for the perfect little red ball. Totally worth it! JJ was happy and the boys were happy.
The 'Mad Mat'
Lastly a toy for social development. This is a re-purposed toy. It is part of the door jumper that we bought when JJ was younger. He hated that jumper. However he has always been fascinated by the crunchy mat under it that plays music. I used to lay him on it when he started to crawl, then let him walk across it when he started walking. It always amused and distracted him. Now I am reusing it as his 'mad mat'. JJ is in full fledged toddlerhood now; which means he is having meltdowns for various reasons. Mostly it is when he is denied something that he can't have; such as the cord to my laptop; and it makes him so mad. I believe in legitimizing toddlers emotions rather than downplaying them. So I tell him it is okay to be mad. I tell him "JJ is mad" then I proceed to stomp my feet to indicate anger. Then I have him emulate me. We have recently been sending JJ to his room when these meltdowns happen. That is where the 'mad mat' comes into play. I tell him that when he is mad he can go and stomp on his 'mad mat'. This has a dual purpose. First it gives him an outlet for his anger; letting him know an appropriate way and place to vent his frustrations. Also the mat still works like a charm in amusing and distracting him as it did when he was younger. Once he starts stomping on the crinkly mat and music starts to play he quickly comes out of his foul mood and enjoys dancing instead.