Not sure if you get as excited as me to find that the best toys are "non toys." If you haven't already figured that out, its true. Not because toys are bad but because toy manufacturers are just missing something?! There's definitely some good toys out there, but I've found that the best ones are right in your kitchen (or right on amazon in the kitchen section). The best part is, when you order all of it, your husband will think you're starting to cook, until he realizes, you aren't ;)
1. Collapsible ANYTHING, it adds a layer/property of intrigue to the object. The object can change shape by just pressing on it! Its like the more engaging version of an electronic toy that has buttons, except much more open ended. Also, these are all "nesting" versions, so you're also including the element of small, bigger, biggest to the experience too. Mindblown, I know.
2. Nesting anything, ok, so my basket collection is out of hand, but these nesting bread baskets are just so perfect, durable and smooth. I swear they're worth adding to the collection. Also, I consider the infamous hair rollers nesting objects too (make sure they're these particular rollers!)
3. Clear water bottles. I know, Poland spring or disposable water bottles are a baby's best friend, I agree, but these serve a different purpose. Children use these to put rollers inside, to "pretend drink" out of or to just bang on the ground (they're harder than disposable water bottles). I've also filled them with objects like magic beads and water, sort of like a DIY snow globe or sensory bottle. Like I said, I love disposable water bottles too, but this list doesn't include the recyclables that I also consider non-toy toys...ill get to that blog post another time ;)
4. Silicone Trivets. Love these for texture and if you're feeling ambitious, you can buy a bunch and make a foot sensory path for your toddler to walk on. Otherwise, they're another great textured object for a baby to explore.
5. Stainless steel bowls. Babies love anything shiny and anything that can clang so metals bowls are a dream come true to them. You can use them to organize toys for a play set up too. These are super lightweight to avoid any injuries when they inevitably accidentally bang themselves in the head with them.
6. Wood Boxes (salt boxes, pill boxes, spice boxes). Initially, when your young baby is exploring this object, its just a nice texture on the gums. The fun part is as they get older, they can fit the tops on, learning about size and dimension. They can also put objects inside and shake them to create different sounds.
7. Old school plastic soap dish. They're bendy, textured, and a match made in exploration heaven for your baby. Trust.
8. Clear containers. Like the salt wood boxes, these are great for putting objects inside, but even better, because the objects are visible, and therefore the sound is visible. Additionally, put the tops on very loosely and watch as your young baby learns to twist and remove the top.
I also love apothecary jars for toddlers to learn about sizes and to watch them troubleshoot which lid goes on which container.
9. Condiment bowls - wood or rubber. Put these inside the clear containers above and let your baby explore the difference between a silicone objects sound and a wood objects sounds when shaking them.
10. Silicone dish scrubber - glorious for so many reasons, especially for its amazing texture.
Ok one more - mini dustpan and broom set, because its so cute, is loaded with texture and becomes an imaginative play object for a toddler, since they ALL go through that "obsessed with cleaning" phase. I give younger infants the brush by itself because it has a wood handle for mouth exploration and the bristles are interesting for them to touch.
Anyone wanna come meet me at Target all day every day?! We may not have time, because we have to go to the Dollar Tree, Container Store and Bed Bath & Beyond first...