I’ve always loved toys. I mean, obviously when I was a kid, I loved toys, every kid loves toys, duh. But even when I was young I think I took a certain delight in the concept of the “toy” I loved the design of toys, the thought put behind them, the inventiveness of creative toys. I think I sometimes wanted particular toys for what they represented rather than what I could do with them.
So for me, Christmas shopping for Ender is just as much fun as shopping for myself, if not more so. Long before I was pregnant, I’d already spent countless hours reading about toy design and the best developmental toys (spoiler, if it says “educational” it usually isn’t), and the toys that last longest as playthings with creative interest.
We decided to make Ender some “discovery bottles” as one of his main presents this year, limiting the number of toys we’d actually buy for him at an age where he can’t tell the difference between a new toy, an old toy, a kitchen spoon and the wrapping paper we annoyingly won’t allow him to put in his mouth.
We did take the opportunity to pick up on a few things for him that we know we will be buying sooner or later anyway, and family gave us a few more.
The first thing I KNEW we needed to get Ender, was a set of edible finger paints from Wee Can Too. I’ve always figured as soon as they’ve got the vision to see colors changing, and the ability to control their own hand movement, babies are ready to start experimenting with art. Unfortunately, available art supplies don’t reflect that. Though all (surely?) children’s art supplies are labeled “non-toxic,” they are recommended for ages 18 months minimum, and it’s pretty obvious that eating large quantities would be inadvisable.
So I was really excited to find paints that are actually designed for babies as young as 6 months. The paints are edible, but the owner of the company tells me they dry to colors that will keep on paper, and can be framed. We haven’t had a chance to try it out yet, but maybe sometime this week I’ll be feeling adventurous. They are made of food, so once babies are starting solid foods, they can use the paints.
We also got him a size sorter from P’kolino which is very nice looking. I don’t think he’s quite old enough to understand the purpose yet, but they’re sturdy pieces that he can gnaw on until he figures out that the fish go in the holes.
We were planning to stop with those two purchases, figuring that those plus the discovery bottles would be more than enough to fill the space under the tree. We ended up getting a couple last minute gifts though.
A set of Gymboree bubbles, because Ender is finally starting to watch bubbles with interest and I thought it would be fun for his cousins to blow bubbles while he watched. The weekend was so busy we never got around to it.
We also got him a small travel Sophie. If you’re not in the know Sophie is this little rubber giraffe that seems much more like a dog’s squeaky toy than a baby teether, but apparently every baby on the face of the planet LOVES it. Ender is no exception, and when he’s getting fussy, sometimes all you need to do is hand him Sophie and he chills out like it’s coated with vodka (no, it’s not coated with vodka). Seeing that, getting a travel Sophie for our plane trip in a few weeks seemed like a good idea, so that got added to the pile.
Family contributed a number of other toys from our wish list. There is the goldfish bowl (clear plastic soft container), with plush ocean creatures you can dump and drop inside. He got a Skwish which should also help keep him occupied on the plane. And he got this cool shape shifting chair toy (also P’kolino) which will make a fun crawling and climbing obstacle once he’s mobile.
He’ll be crawling any day now I think, and then I guess we’ll see what kind of a mess he makes with all these new things.