Loads of toys for babies. Pros and cons

(19 Posts)
Illustrated Sat 24-Nov-12 21:25:29

I have a dd that will be 4 months old next week. I've not bought too many things for her so far. She has 1 book and about 5 soft toys of different textures and crinkly bits/rattles. I've never been too bothered about a play mat, jumperoo. I have received a few raised eyebrows when people have found out I don't have much.

I feel like everyone around me with babies of a similar age are surrounding their DC with every flashy thing they can get their hands on. I'm starting to question whats best and if having lots of flashy, bouncy, all singing and dancing toys would make a difference to her.

In other words, am I hindering her development by not having lots of these things that are deemed essential by some? What do you think?

Do you have lots of toys or very little? Why?

Tgger Sat 24-Nov-12 21:33:00

No, you are the sensible one. Children under a year old need very little. After this they don't need much. We all tend to be driven by the commercial forces around us (shops) rather than what they need. Quality toys are better than lots of rubbish. She can play with the flashy stuff round her friends' houses grin.

PoisonMountain Sat 24-Nov-12 21:39:48

DD's favourite toys for the past few months were a plastic bottle (travel sized) half filled with coloured rice, one with wooden beads in, PET bottle with a few pieces of dried pasta in.

sh77 Sat 24-Nov-12 22:09:49

Ds is 20 months and shows little interest in toys. However, he keeps himself very busy with real life stuff. Before going to bed, he found a couple of lids from my make up and was putting them inside each other for 5 mins. Also, with too much stuff, thet can't focus. Don't worry. A useful thing at this age is to put lots of different household bits in a basket abd let your child explore.

Her best toy is your face to look at, and your voice to hear.
You can join the library to get different books to read to her.
I think it was about at this stage that I got one of those arches for DS to bat at the toys, so that could be useful. I am not a fan of anything requiring batteries, and DS (now 4) seems to have survived.

Plus, too many toys make your house look awfully cluttered, and children get totally overwhelmed with them.

peeriebear Sat 24-Nov-12 22:17:01

DS is nearly 11wks old and so far has been bought a small cuddly Elmer elephant by my mum- that's it. He likes looking at the gaudy wallpaper!

Pochemuchka Sat 24-Nov-12 22:23:11

Nope. You're the sensible one! There's plenty of time for your house to get cluttered up with child related junk!

I bought a couple of different texture books, a play mat and foam tiles (because we had wooden floors) a cot mobile and that was it for DD.

When DS came along I bought one of those doorway jumpers because it was the only way to keep him happy while I was in the shower (and I could see what he was up to!)
He much preferred playing with plug sockets bottles of mineral water anyway! smile

vladimirimp Sun 25-Nov-12 12:22:25

Just to put the other side here, we had a similar philosophy when our DD arrived in the summer last year, and didn't buy any toys other than a couple of soft toys to decorate her room. But relatives and friends bought a lot of stuff that we were very cynical about.

We were surprised to find how much she interacted with it all. My brother bought a 'jungle mat' which we liked to lay her on even when she was days old - I have a video of her aged 7 days, reaching out for the hanging elements of this thing, which is apparently unusual (I wouldn't know, she's number 1!).

We've made a lot of 'toys' such as jars containing rice, letting her play with pots and pans, straws, 'found' objects such as pine cones, leaves, a wooden spoon and so on. We felt it was important that her experience was broader than just plastic!

Aged 10 months she started doing that thing where they hold a toy and 'walk' it along a surface, babbling to it. Seemed quite advanced to us, and so we've encouraged and permitted it.

And so far we've never had that problem where she prefers the cardboard box to the toy. If we had then we might have stopped buying toys.

I look at our living room with two big boxes full of toys and wonder if we've done the right thing. But then when she comes down in the morning and I can see such imaginative play, it feels right. She loves books, dolls, vehicles, animals, crayons, Play Dough - it feels right.

Also, my mum has a box of toys at her house, and DD very quickly runs over to it when we arrive, pulling out a fresh set of books and toys.

We joined a toy library and its brilliant - a couple of quid for the year and we can borrow what we like. It's a great way to save money.

NeedabreaknotabloodyKitKat Sun 25-Nov-12 12:33:41

A similar experience to Vladimir. I was very anti flashing lights toys etc, then someone gave us a jungle mat (the Fisher Price one, guess it's the same), and my DTs LOVED it. Loved loved loved it, the music, the lights. The same friends like electronic gizmo toys, and hand on so much of it to us. They're not the only things our Dts play with - we also have loads of books, personally I like doing building blocks and things with them, and they both went through a phase when a salt shaker and wooden spoon was the best thing ever - but they do seem to get something out of those kind of toys that me, some badly sung nursery rhymes and a tamborine just can't replicate!

HandbagCrab Sun 25-Nov-12 12:47:41

My living room looks like toyrus and it's ds' first birthday next week so a big haul to add to the pile smile

His favourite things at the moment are building 2-3 brick towers, stacking 2-3 cups, shaking a maraca and playing his little xylophone. I wouldn't know this if we didn't have a big range of things for him to play with though and next week his favourite activities might be something completely different. he pulls himself up and roots through his toy box for things to play with if I bother to put out a small selection smile

Every baby is different though, my ds has never gone through the phase where he has sat quietly chewing one toy for hours/ days as I've seen other babies do. If your baby likes doing that then you won't need so many things for them to do.

At four months I think teddies, the jumperoo, play mat, Lamaze things with lots of textures and the shh bee were popular toys.

orchidee Sun 25-Nov-12 13:11:17

I liked the Montessori approach. DS liked real things so a treasure basket was great. Also a lamaze toy (Freddy the firefly). He did like a playmat. Given the age of your daughter now I'd go for a large one, big enough to crawl around on. I got a huge one made by Tiny Love called a super mat. JL, mothercare etc sell it. A set of measuring cups from ikea is still his favourite bath toy at 18m old. The squeezy bath toys are a pain, they can go mouldy inside and require frequent cleaning. Around 6-9m he reallly started exploring his environment, even then you don't need many toys as such, stacking cups were great but plastic food tubs can stack and a tub and wooden spoon is great fun. DS was never interested in bouncy chairs etc, he clearly preferred one-on-one time so I didn't consider a jumperoo. Aren't they controversial anyway? I think that like the walkers babies sit in, they're not recommended. Anyway it sounds like you're responsive enough to provide the stimulation your baby needs and introduce toys when appropriate. Enjoy your daughter.

orchidee Sun 25-Nov-12 13:14:26

Oh and at 18m we now have loads of toys. I do mean loads, but at 4m we didn't need much either.

Before six.months, dd had a playmat to lie on and a bouncer chair to sit and watch us in. Thats it. Once she was able to sit up thats when we gave her a set of syacking cups and a treasure basket. Now, at 11m she has a push along walker and a little wooden jigsaw. Just enough to keep her occupied and it all tucks away in the corner of the lounge.

Her birthday and christmas are within a week of each other though so this time next month I will be up to my ears in bloody Happyland stuff probably grin

CharlotteBronteSaurus Sun 25-Nov-12 13:16:23

we don't have lots of toys at once, mostly due to space issues rather than ideology.
things that have been loved by both DDs for years are a tea set and toy food (most played with toy ever from 6mo+, still played with daily), board books, simple instruments (bells, tambourine, maracas, xylophone), stacking cups, baby and pram, and lots of hand and finger puppets. treasure baskets were a big hit between 6-18mo.

timeforachangebaby Sun 25-Nov-12 13:18:19

Its about making your own life easier, I have 3 under 5 (or I will do soon), my life saver was a swing - it was the only place the oldest one would sleep and enabled me to do stuff.

vladimirimp Sun 25-Nov-12 21:25:02

I just wanted to share an amusing story - well, it amused us, anyway!

Before DD arrived we began to covet this supercool baby bouncer in M&P. The colours were lovely and it was high tech with a light show, vibration and music - all coordinated by electronic cartridges, of which extra varieties were sold as accessories.

Trouble was, it was £120 and we just couldn't justify it. We convinced ourselves not to get it - after all, they're only good for a handful of weeks between being strong enough to support their necks, but not so strong that they can lean forwards. Plus, you can buy non-electronic ones for £20 or so!

Nevertheless, we couldn't get it out of our minds, and every time we visited M&P we gravitated towards it.

One time they had a 'shop soiled' unit, reduced to £70 - now was our chance! We bought it using £40 of M&P vouchers we'd been given, plus the assistant accidentally rang it through at £50 (it was £50 off the original £120, but she misread the ticket). So we reassured ourselves that in the end it only 'cost' us £10 - I know, we were deliberately deluding ourselves.

When we got it home, it didn't have the correct screws and the cartridge and toys were mismatched ('instrument' toys to pull, playing 'animal' sounds). The actual experience was much more limited than we thought. And...surprise, surprise...when DD arrived, she hated it.

To date, it's the only purchase disaster we've had - and we saw it coming.

stargirl1701 Sun 25-Nov-12 21:28:48

I don't have many toys for dd (11 weeks) but loads of books. Possibly over 100 grin

Startail Sun 25-Nov-12 21:42:11

The main thing I found with baby toys is that a lot of them are too heavy or too thick.

DD1s absolute fav. was a cheap light teething ring that was light enough for her to shake and thin enough to grasp.

On the otherhand a heavy chunk dinosaur was never touched.

Chains of extra baby gym rings were also very popular as they were light and easy to rattle.

NellyBluth Sun 25-Nov-12 21:51:35

We have loads, but only one shiny lights up music playing annoying one, and we were given that one. The rest are things like rattles, maracas, bottles, little Noah's ark, wooden spoons, that sort of thing. And dozens of books. Most have been bought second-hand when we've seen something that caught our eye, and they all live in a toy box so only a few are bought out at a time.

I think the flashier toys have their place - older babies often like the music, and they learn cause-effect from pushing buttons and getting lights to flash and music to play - but I think they can be a bit over-stimulating. Babies generally are more interested in simple objects they can bang on something, or just try to work out how to get in to it.

At 4 months, though, we had almost nothing, I remember going out to buy a few toys because I worried the baby was just lying on the floor doing nothing! I definitely agree with buying something that will be useful (for you grin) instead - our walker/activity centre was the best £75 we ever spent.

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