Anyone who knows me can probably tell you without skipping a beat that I’m a pretty classic Type A personality. I have to have order, toys must have homes, and in an ideal world we’d have a beautiful collection of wooden toys perfectly stored in an aesthetically pleasing display.
Well, we do have some pretty wooden puzzles, but we also have a bunch of random, mis-matched toys of varying quality. And we’re better for it — funnily enough, kids don’t care about how pretty it looks on the shelf. If they can interact with it in ways that are engaging for their age and stage then it’s a win. Examples of toys that don’t fit my imaginary schema but are much loved here include matchbox cars, packaging from just about anything, and a cardboard block puzzle.
Lamaze Classic Discovery Book
Value for money
Despite not meeting my snobbish ideals of what great toys look like, this soft book is great for young babies (from around 3 months). It's easy for them to manipulate and has lots to explore. An excellent baby gift.
We also have two Lamaze soft books. They are a popular gift, and despite my snobbish preconceived toy ideals, they’re great. Luckily for everyone, neither my babies nor the generous gift-givers checked for my approval first.
One of the books has a pterodactyl that pops through a hole in the front page and sits in a pocket. That’s pretty cool, but it’s this one, with no attached stuffed toys, that is the baby-voted favourite.
It’s a win for a few reasons — firstly, it comes on a plastic ring that can be clipped on your playgym or stroller. This means the usefulness begins before the baby is co-ordinated enough to grip the book. We’ve had many hours of “reading” this way.
Secondly, it’s brightly coloured, with lots of contrast and interesting shapes to look at.
Thirdly, and I think the most important feature; it makes cool noises. There are three noisy features hidden in the pages of this book; a squeaker, a rattle and crinkly paper. The squeaker is good for caregivers trying to attract attention to the book, or for bigger kids, and the rattle is largely ignored. But that crinkly paper… Baby crack. Can’t get enough. Just right for babies (like my Night Owl) who are just getting the hang of using their hands, feet and mouth to navigate objects around them.
Does this override my innate desire for things to look nice? No… But I’m learning to accept that’s a losing battle with kids. And actually, a fairly pointless objective as well. Much better that we have fun with and learn from the things we surround ourselves with. Even if I do still put everything away neatly afterwards!