Recalls of baby toys and items may be a big concern for the modern parent. One alternative for parents on a budget or simply looking for a little do-it-yourself is to make your baby's toys. There are several advantages to making your baby's toys. Not only will handmade toys help you teach your children, but until their brains are ready to process colour -- usually around 3 to 4 months, according to Baby Center -- black and white are the colours babies will prefer.
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Easy for beginning sewers, soft blocks are a favourite for baby to play with. Choose fabric with different textures -- like minky fabric, fleece, cotton and felt -- in black and white contrasting patterns. Cut six squares of equal size -- no larger than 8 inches squared or the completed block will look more like a ball -- and sew the sides together along the edges, with the right sides facing one another, so the pattern is on the inside of the block. Leave a 2-inch opening and turn the block right side out. Stuff with polyester fiberfill (include a rattle ball or jingle bells if you would like) and sew the opening closed. Soft blocks can be made in a variety of sizes, and as baby gets older, you can even sew letters and numbers onto the squares of fabric before you sew the block together.
Silk scarves can provide hours of imaginative play for your child. According to Makebabystuff.com, younger children like to float them through the air and watch them flutter or even play peek-a-boo with them. Using white scarves that have been soaked in very hot water, dye the scarves using a little hot water, two cups of vinegar and some food colouring. You don't have to dye the scarves for white, but to dye them black, use equal parts of each primary colour -- red, blue and yellow -- with the vinegar and water mixture to make black. About seven drops of each colour should do the trick. Rinse the scarf with cold water until the water runs clear and hang to dry.
Buy wooden clothes pins from a hobby and craft store -- don't use spring action clothes pins to avoid pinching little fingers or flesh. Using nontoxic black and white paint, paint the clothes pins with faces, smiles and hair. Make clothes out of scrap material in black and white for your little one's clothes pin people. Your baby will have fun with her new little family.
You can make crinkle toys in a variety of shapes and patterns. Simply use black and white fabric in a variety of shapes and printed patterns, cut out two sides to make a shape (circle, square, rectangle or triangle are great learning patterns) and sew the two sides together, leaving a 2-inch hole for turning the fabric and stuffing. Using equal parts polyester fiberfill and waxed paper, stuff the toy and sew the hole shut. Babies love the crinkle sound of these soft toys.
Clean, dry 2L soda bottles with the label removed make great rolling toys for babies. Add five to seven different items -- jingle bells, white or black pipe cleaners, pom-pom balls or pony beads are good selections -- and super glue the lid onto the bottle. Your baby will have fun chasing this simple toy around on hard floors and carpets, or simply holding and shaking the bottle to make noise.
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