All you really need is a basket and some toys and you’re well on your way to creating a fun and educational toy for your visually impaired baby. Here’s how to do it…
What You’ll Need:
A small basket (we used one that is 4x9x7)
Assorted small toys
Playing with Your Toy Basket
Making a toy basket is easy, just fill a small basket with lots of fun, small, safe toys. The tricky part is making the most educational use of the basket. Here are some tips…
When choosing your toys, collect ones that make different sounds, that are interesting to feel, that have different textures (smooth, bumpy, etc), and that are made from different materials (plastic, wood, fabric, etc). Talk to your baby about the different sounds, textures, and materials.
Create concrete names for each toy in the basket. For example, you may include a “ring,” a “brush,” a “block,” and a “rattle.” Be very consistent in naming these toys while your baby plays with them. Once your baby becomes familiar with the names you can play a searching game where you ask your baby to locate a particular toy, “Can you find the rattle?” Teach him how to scan through the toys with his hands and how to identify different objects.
Place the basket in front of your baby and encourage her to push or pull the basket. Try to get her to knock the basket over and spill out all the toys!
Place the basket to the right or left of your baby and encourage him to reach to the side. This is a great way to get your baby to rotate their trunk (a skill they’ll need in order to crawl). You can also introduce the concepts of “left” and “right.”
Baskets are a great way to teach the concepts of “in” and “out.” Have your baby take all the toys out of the basket. Then help her put them back in.
As your baby gets older, you can introduce sorting games with the toy basket. Have your child pull out all of the different balls or all of the rings and sort them.
Turn the basket over. Now you can talk about how the toys are under the basket.
The best thing about Ivan’s toy basket is that it keeps him occupied for quite a while (while mom gets a chance to wash the dishes or fold the laundry). This is by far Ivan’s favorite toy. We have some toys that are always in the basket (like his ring), but we also add new toys now and then. It’s a great way to play, learn, and get in some independent time, too!