Toys not worth investing for kids ageing 6 months to 1 year

Shocked! Well, you have every right to be. As a parent, we want to give our 100% to the apple of our eye. We want to leave no stones unturned, in our efforts to make them happy. But while we try to do so, we need to be a little practical. We need to ask ourselves, why are we doing what we are doing?

There are a lot of changes happening in a baby’s brain in that phase. A lot of physical milestones are expected to be reached between 6 to 12 months. As a parent, our job is to encourage babies to achieve those milestones, appreciate the change and celebrate. That’s all. Our job is not to sit, measure, compare and worry why our baby is able or not able to do something.

Every child is born unique, their abilities are unique, the rate at which they achieve milestones is unique. Let us understand that. Now, most of the toys are categorized for different age groups. I’m sure you have noticed that. Why is that so? Because of these milestones. A teether is no good to a newborn, a Lego is no good for a 4-month-old, rather it could be hazardous.

So why not buy what is defined for the age group 6 to 12 months? Because they will soon outgrow their love or curiosity for the toy. Does that mean, you should not give them anything for the fear that they will soon get bored of it? No, definitely not. Rather offer them a variety of things which are easily available at home. This makes for experiential learning, economical for the pocket and keeps baby engrossed for a longer time.

Here’s a list of objects that can be offered to babies instead of their toy-market-bought version:

  1. Teether: Babies are curious creatures. They like to see and learn and experience a myriad of objects and not stick to only thing. They grow tired of holding, seeing, mouthing the same thing every day. Have you noticed or heard from the parents of kids who are teething, that, their kids try to chew on everything else except the teether? Because they are done with it. Instead of a teether give them bits of carrots, sauteed broccoli, apple sticks. If they are teething and uncomfortable, give them frozen carrots or just a piece of wet cloth and watch your baby munch away with interest. The bonus for you is, they get a bit of nutrition while chewing on veggies.
  2. Rattle- Babies like to make some noise. They like to listen to different sounds. It is their first step towards understanding the variety of sources of sound available around them. When they were a few weeks old, they liked to turn towards the source of a rattle, making you extremely delighted. But once they became 6 months old, their pincer grip becomes defter and they can hold the rattle themselves. If you have noticed carefully, your child now enjoys the sound of throwing the rattle or any other toy. They enjoy it when they drop it and you pick it up for them to drop all over again. Give them keychains that jingle or a tin can full pebbles or a small metal box full of your accessories.
  3. Walker- Doctors are advising against the usage of walkers these days. They say that the use of walkers force babies to make use of their legs which are not yet ready for walking. But there is a subtle difference between “forcing” and “encouraging”. Do you have a small stool or a wooden box in your house? If yes, then you can definitely let your little one do some pushing around. That way, there is no force on them and they like to walk around the house with a sense of independence. Of course, you should be behind them to tell them, “I’ve got your back.”
  4. Activity box: Activity boxes are expensive and offer a limited set of activities for the kid which they soon don’t have any use for. Try to create activities for them yourself. Activities mainly entice their tactile or visual inquisitiveness. Give them a box of pasta and watch them giggle with glee as they dig their hands into it. Give them see-through plastic containers half-filled with rice, pulses, chocos. This adds colors to their play object. Give them a little dough to play with. Patches of cloth of different textures – silk, wool, cotton, fleece, make them feel it with their hands and flick them over their faces. Watch them throw their hands in delight. Be careful with choking hazards.
  5. Stacking toys – I had purchased a stacking toy that was labeled 6+ months for my 8-month baby. On getting this toy, my baby was very happy. But she has never used it for stacking. Why would she stack it, what is to be achieved by stacking? There was no motivation for her to stack. Children don’t think like adults. They are guided by their hearts. If they don’t like it, they will not do it. Instead, she used the rings to flap them against each other and tried to chew the smallest ring to a pulp. Instead, I started using pillows to stack on top of the other and built a little tower. This she was interested in. Because when she bumped into the tower, the pillows fell all over her. She loved to stack cushions soon, there was motivation to do that.

So is it wrong to pamper my baby a bit, by buying her a little toy? No, absolutely not. Pamper her as much as you want. This is the right age to do that before her lessons on discipline begin. But be a little rational. Why buy something which provides shortlived joy? Why not spend a little of your own time to sit with her, use your own creativity to come with your own toys. Wouldn’t your baby love to play with a new toy every day?

Moreover, there are some toys which you can’t replicate at home, such as a train set or a tumbling monkey. Babies love to watch the movements coupled with light and sound. Do buy such things but be prepared to watch their interests diminish even for these toys. Soft toys are a wonderful way to communicate babies about caring, sharing, cuddling. Babies carry their attachment for a favorite soft toy for a long time.

Invest your money, splurge your love and watch the happiness on your baby’s face.

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