Baby Paper-Green Stars

Baby Paper-flannel with crinkle inner liner

Baby Paper-Green Stars attracts attention with its visually engaging bright stars on vivid green. Because the fabric squares are easy for small fingers to grasp, babies quickly begin playing. And they’re rewarded with a sound reminiscent of paper being crumpled. Further captivated by the gentle sound, babies continue kneading the square, strengthening their fingers in the process. Then gradually they realize that their actions cause the sounds they are hearing. In this way, Baby Paper-Green Stars introduces cause & effect. Soft flannel with an inner layer of crinkle fabric. Safe for mouthing. Not only stimulates sight, touch, and hearing but also taste. Machine wash, tumble dry. Available in an array of bright colors and appealing prints. Compact and lightweight. Fits easily into diaper bag or purse, making this soft toy a must for on-the-go infants.

Baby Paper-Pink Hearts

Flannel covered crinkly paper for babies

Baby Paper-Pink Hearts attracts attention with visually engaging bright pastel hearts scattered across a hot pink background. Because these fabric squares are easy for small fingers to grasp, babies quickly begin playing. And they’re rewarded with a sound reminiscent of paper being crumpled. Further captivated by the gentle sound, babies continue kneading the square, strengthening their fingers in the process. Then gradually they realize that their actions cause the sounds they are hearing. In this way, Baby Paper-Pink Hearts introduces cause & effect. Soft flannel with an inner layer of crinkle fabric. Safe for mouthing. Not only stimulates sight, touch, and hearing but also taste. Machine wash, tumble dry. Available in an array of bright colors and appealing prints. Compact and lightweight. Fits easily into diaper bag or purse, making this soft toy a must for on-the-go infants.

Baby Paper-Yellow

Flannel covered crinkly paper for babies

Bright as the sun, Baby Paper-Yellow attracts attention. Because these fabric squares are easy for small fingers to grasp, babies quickly begin playing. And they’re rewarded with a sound reminiscent of paper being crumpled. Further captivated by the gentle sound, babies continue kneading the square, strengthening their fingers in the process. Then gradually they realize that their actions cause the sounds they are hearing. In this way, Baby Paper-Yellow introduces cause & effect. Soft flannel with an inner layer of crinkle fabric. Safe for mouthing. Not only stimulates sight, touch, and hearing but also taste. Machine wash, tumble dry. Available in an array of solid colors and appealing prints. Compact and lightweight. Fit easily into diaper bag or purse, making this soft toy a must for on-the-go infants.

Baby Paper-Blue

Flannel covered crinkly paper for babies

Bold and bright, Baby Paper-Blue attracts attention. Because these fabric squares are easy for small fingers to grasp, babies quickly begin playing. And they’re rewarded with a sound reminiscent of paper being crumpled. Further captivated by the gentle sound, babies continue kneading the square, strengthening their fingers in the process. Then gradually they realize that their actions cause the sounds they are hearing. In this way, Baby Paper-Blue introduces cause & effect. Soft flannel with an inner layer of crinkle fabric. Safe for mouthing. Not only stimulates sight, touch, and hearing but also taste. Machine wash, tumble dry. Available in an array of bright solids and appealing prints. Compact and lightweight. Fits easily into diaper bag or purse, making this soft toy a must for on-the-go infants.

Baby Paper-Jigsaw Puzzle

Flannel covered crinkly paper for babies

Baby Paper-Jigsaw Puzzle attracts attention with bright jigsaw puzzle pieces. Because the fabric squares are easy for small fingers to grasp, babies quickly begin playing. And they’re rewarded with a sound reminiscent of paper being crumpled. Further captivated by the gentle sound, babies continue kneading the square, strengthening their fingers in the process. Then gradually they realize that their actions cause the sounds they are hearing. In this way, Baby Paper-Jigsaw Puzzle introduces cause & effect. Soft flannel with an inner layer of crinkle fabric. Safe for mouthing. Baby Paper not only stimulates sight, touch, and hearing but also taste. Machine wash, tumble dry. Available in an array of bright solids and appealing prints. Compact and lightweight. Fits easily into diaper bag or purse, making this soft toy a must for on-the-go infants.

Baby Paper- Dots

Flannel covered crinkly paper for babies

Baby Paper-Dots attracts attention with diagonal lines of easy-to-see bright dots on a white background. Because these fabric squares are easy for small fingers to grasp, babies quickly begin playing. And they’re rewarded with a sound reminiscent of paper being crumpled. Further captivated by the gentle sound, babies continue kneading the square, strengthening their fingers in the process. Then gradually they realize that their actions cause the sounds they are hearing. In this way, Baby Paper-Dots introduces cause & effect. Soft flannel with an inner layer of crinkle fabric. Safe for mouthing. Not only stimulates sight, touch, and hearing but also taste. Machine wash, tumble dry. Available in an array of bright solids and appealing prints. Compact and lightweight. Fits easily into diaper bag or purse, making this soft toy a must for on-the-go infants.

Baby Paper-Black & White

Baby paper black & white

Baby Paper-Black & White attracts attention with its visually engaging black and white stripes. Because these fabric squares are easy for small fingers to grasp, babies quickly begin playing. And they’re rewarded with a sound reminiscent of paper being crumpled. Further captivated by the gentle sound, babies continue kneading the square, strengthening their fingers in the process. Then gradually they realize that their actions cause the sounds they are hearing. In this way, Baby Paper-Black & White introduces cause & effect. Soft flannel with an inner layer of crinkle fabric. Safe for mouthing. Not only stimulates sight, touch, and hearing but also taste. Machine wash, tumble dry. Available in an array of bright solids and appealing prints. Compact and lightweight. Fits easily into diaper bag or purse, making this soft toy a must for on-the-go infants.

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How to Choose The Best Toy

Looking for the Best Toy?

 Customers sometimes ask me to recommend the best toy for their child or grandchild, particularly if the child has a special need. Many begin the conversation by sharing a diagnosis. While valuable, this information only addresses one aspect of who the child is. To answer the question, we need to think beyond gender, age, development, or disability. That’s because we all have preferences, and those make all the difference.

We Buy What Appeals to Us

 Just think about ourselves. When we’re shopping, we bring our preferences with us. Think about a sweater. I might find one that seems perfect in every way, except one. The fiber, style, and fit are exquisite. The price, the lowest it’s ever been. The only drawback is the color. It’s a lovely color and the height of fashion, but it isn’t one that makes me look my best. Perhaps I could convince myself it’s not all that bad. In fact, it has much to offer, considering the price. Who doesn’t appreciate a bargain?  And it will keep me warm. That’s the main reason for buying a sweater, right? Yes, but… And here’s the reality in that three letter word. I’d end up not wearing that sweater, except if I was freezing and had absolutely nothing else to keep me warm. What we buy has to appeal to us if we’re to use and enjoy our purchase.

Kids Choose Toys That Appeal to Their Sense of Play

 Children are the same. A toy has to appeal to a kid before she’ll give it her attention. Something about the toy has to invite play, and once the child begins playing, the toy has to prove its worth. The child decides if it merits her time, if the toy offers enough value to hold her interest. Young children like repetition. That’s how they develop skills. Their toys need to be safe, well constructed, and durable, able to stand up to persistent play. Being easy to clean counts too.

Kids Learn Through Play        Array of flannel covered crinkle paper for babies

 Kids also like to explore and discover. Through play, infants begin to understand cause and effect and learn about their environment. Small enough for tiny fingers to grasp, Baby Paper is made of soft flannel with an inner layer of crinkle fabric that makes the sound of paper being crumpled when touched. Babies typically find that appealing and repeat the action that produced the original sound, learning through repetition about cause and effect, about their ability to make something happen.

Observe Kids at Play Before Shopping For Toys

 We make our best decisions when we’ve observed the recipient at play and know her preferences. When choosing toys, select from those you think will appeal most to the child and mesh best with her current abilities, emerging skills, and developmental goals. This is true for all children, with or without special needs. Toys are tools for play. When a child finds a toy intriguing and engages in play, learning occurs naturally and joyfully.

PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play

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How Play Develops Autonomy

Ever think about how we acquire the skills we need for independent living? Or ponder how developing these skills begins with play? Manipulating toys develops fine motor skills, visual awareness, focus, tracking and eye-hand coordination. Independent dressing requires all these skills. Fastening and unfastening involve motor control and strength. Consider buttons, snaps, Velcro, and zippers. Shoes need lacing and tying, hook and loop fasteners not withstanding. Belts must be threaded through loops. And don’t forget buckles and bows.

From an infant grasping and scrunching Baby Paper to a pre-schooler building with blocks, manipulating latches on Peekaboo Lock Boxes, moving beads along a wire maze or fitting pieces of a puzzle together, cause and effect, cognition and visual skills, fingers and hands are steadily developing through play.

Drawing, printing, and reading involve visual tracking, controlling eye movements, eye-hand coordination, finger strength and muscle control. Manipulative toys teach cause and effect, introduce basic math and science, and encourage creativity and problem solving skills. Block play is fundamental, teaching order and prediction, encouraging open-ended play that leads to learning about gravity, weight, balance, proportion, symmetry and asymmetry and developing spatial awareness. Children plan, anticipate and solve problems as they translate ideas into structures. Honing these skills through play prepares children for taking on other challenges with confidence.

Manipulative play can be solitary or shared. Shared play can be intergenerational or with peers. Social interaction teaches valuable life lessons too – collaboration and cooperation, flexibility and compromise, boundary setting and mutual respect. Learning to communicate effectively and listen, comprehend and respond respectfully is essential.

Value play and those who play, as the benefits include skill development and autonomy. Engage them in developing and carrying out a plan to maintain their play space. While easier said than done, firmly and consistently insisting that kids maintain their space and take care of their toys teaches lessons in following instructions, taking responsibility and cooperation that ultimately leads to successful independent living.

 PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play

 

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Shopping for an Infant

When shopping for books and toys for infants (0-12 month olds), think simple. Does the toy engage the senses and invite play? Babies like play involving materials of varied textures. Choose toys offering a variety of textures, colors, shapes, soft sounds, and materials (cloth/plastic/wood).

Here’s another consideration: is the toy easy to clean? After all, we all know how much babies like to mouth their toys and how often toys “hit the dirt.” Make play easier on yourself. Look for fabric toys marked machine washable. Some tumble dry safely; others line dry .

To illustrate toys that meet specific play recommendations, we have provided links to individual Infant/First Toys at PlayopolisToys. Follow these links for further information on quality toys that support child development.

Simple and Soft Toys

Simple rattles and soft toys make perfect first toys. Babies delight in shaking toys and making noise. When babies shake or touch a toy and then feel and hear the reaction, they learn cause and effect. Machine washable Baby Paper represents an ideal first soft toy, Oball Rattle, a perfect first rattle and ball.

Baby Friendly Books

Good books for infants include ones with one or two clear images per page and simple rhyming stories. Show your baby pictures, and read stories, allowing him to watch your mouth and facial expressions as you read. Name and point to objects on a page, but don’t worry about finishing a whole story. Wordless books work well too, providing an opportunity for simply pointing to and talking about the object on the page. Relating the object to everyday life is another way to share a book with a baby. Such books include At the Farm, a wooden book, Garden + Pets,  a 2-pack of soft fabric books, and Things That Go, a chew proof, rip proof book. These sturdy books are easy to hold and stand up to mouthing.

Beakers and Blocks

Try  building a towers with stacking cups or blocks for your baby to knock over. My favorite stacking cups are Ambi Building Beakers, featuring a unique raised pattern on the bottom of each cup. Younger infants like stackable One Two Squeeze Blocks for their soft “squeezability, ” bold colors, and varied textures. Once ready for more challenge, children migrate to Stack and Play with their varied shapes and sizes.

Musical Instruments and Peek-a-Boo Toys

Musical instruments and peek-a-boo toys help infants master concepts such as cause and effect and object permanence. Rainbowmaker, a rhythm band instrument, provides auditory and visual feedback as baby shakes and rotates the tube. Musical Jack-in-the-Box rewards action, the turning of the handle, with a reaction, Jack popping up, and re-enforces object permanence. Jack is always in the box, whether we see him or not.

Mirrors

Mirrors are a must for encouraging visual activity, sense of self, socialization, vocalization, and gross motor activity. Consider both the Wimmer Ferguson Double-Feature Mirror and the lightweight and easy to grasp Ambi Baby Mirror.

If you could choose only three infant toys for a favorite child, what would they be? Why? Let us know.

Adapted from TRUCE Guide on Infant & Toddler Play, Toys & Media, with permission from the Child Life Council.

PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play