I have a 17 month old daughter who is so busy and hard to keep entertained. She has some really nice toys that talk and sing, in English and Spanish, and there are times she will be entertained by such toys for a good 5-10 minutes. Just as often, or maybe more so, she prefers playing with all the things that aren’t toys. Her favorites seem to be the most dangerous, costly, or messy options. So I have begun making some simple and cheap toys for her, often that imitate some of the things she has found to entertain herself of which I don’t approve.
My first attempt to turn one of her annoying urges into a form of entertainment has to do with her packs of baby wipes. I have to make sure I never leave them in her reach or she will pull them out until there are none left or I catch her. In case you’re wondering the wipes never fit as well when I have to try and cram them back in there. Also she sometimes manages to sneak some off and hide them, which dries them out before they are found. One day after finding several dry wipes and an empty container I turned my frustration into creativity. The wipes container was Huggies and had one of the little clasp tops and I put all the dry wipes in there so my baby could pull them out as much as she wanted. I used to always put them all back in myself for her to pull out again, but now she’s gotten to the point where she loves taking things out and then putting them back in herself. On a good day she can play the pull out, put in, pull back out game for quite a little while. Usually the wipes will eventually end up other places too, but it’s worth the cleanup to have something entertain her that isn’t dangerous, wasteful, or draining for me.
Since I first started my baby’s ‘wipes toy’, I have tried putting different things in there as well. One of my favorites is putting in used drier sheets. I have no other use for them, it fills the container, and they’re hard to rip. I have tried paper, tissues, and paper towel, which all can be good, but often end up ripped into tiny pieces and spread everywhere. Occasionally I’ve added some scraps of fabric when I have extras from crafts, and those work nicely as well.
I hope this idea can be beneficial for other people’s toddlers. Have fun adding your own variations, and share any that are effective for you!