I get it now. I totally get it now. You don’t need fancy toys to entertain or engage your baby.
It still feels like Christmas in this house. There are toys everywhere, many of them playing songs that are trapped in my head. I know Cody the Smart Cub is ready to play with me, but does Cody realize I am definitely not ready to play with him until I’ve had my first cup of coffee?
With advancements in technology, clever marketing and the never-ending creativity of the minds behind children’s’ toys, we are convinced of the need to constantly buy the latest and greatest for our children. Each toy has its long list of claims about building different skills and helping kids reach their milestones. I’ll even admit that while Christmas shopping, I pleaded with my husband to buy two of the same Vtech iDiscover App Activity Centers (one for us and one for the grandparents). “It’s so cheap! Let’s get two!” You don’t have to tell me what’s wrong with that statement but I can start you off with a penchant for over-consumption and a failure to buy local (I’m hanging my head in shame right now, honest).
So why did we leave the store with just one activity center? @theactualcraig said “[The baby] doesn’t need all these toys. One is definitely enough.” Defeated, I agreed and pouted while my debit card and Craig high-fived each other. Weeks later, the high-fives continue as the activity center sits abandoned in the corner. The biggest draws for baby remain the untouchables like the X-box controller and TV remote, and the parent-approved soccer ball and the fridge door – two things we already had.
While I understand the allure of the untouchables, it’s still laughable how the everyday bits and pieces we all take for granted seem to endlessly amaze a baby. Even I find the activity centre entertaining – it has a gear shift, a dj turntable, a honking horn and lots of moving parts. Plus Cody is “always ready to play with me!” YAY!
It’s true what all the books, magazines, blogs and veteran parents tell you though. With a little imagination and love, what you already have can be as entertaining as the most expensive toy on the market. In fact, one day I came home from work to find that Daddy had transformed the box from the new car seat into a little retreat for baby, with a series of doors and hiding places. Days later, a Pampers cardboard box became a race car.
Texture, colour, smell and the perfect fit into that teething mouth, are some of the reasons why the everyday is just as, if not more, exciting than a brand new toy. But perhaps what is the game changer is the creativity applied to the everyday to turn the ordinary into something extraordinary.
What everyday items have you transformed to make them playtime favourites for your kids? Share your ideas in the comments below.