Every week I take B to a lovely sensory babies class. It is really fun, there’s so much going on and it appeals to all the senses. Sometimes, because there is so much going on, B find it a little overwhelming. If this happens we will sit back and watch for a while. It’s often the messy play that B finds too much as she’s busy trying to watch everything going on. This has encouraged me to implement more messy play at home. I’d like to share weekly what B and I have been up as it’s always fun to have more messy play ideas! 

Coloured Spaghetti 

I’ve cooked a batch of spaghetti, cooled it under cold water and added a little oil to stop it sticking together. I’ve then added food colouring. Its actually supposed to be blue and red but the blue came out a murky green. I allowed it to dry a little as this helps to stop any colour attaching to little hands! 

The spaghetti went into our messy play tray and I put B in an old vest (just in case). She had a great time dragging the spaghetti over her legs, flinging it about and er eating it… 

Rice Play

This is probably the simplest messy play activity to do. All I’ve used is a bag of cheap rice and two egg cups. It is a great activity to do before going out as the rice just brushes off, aside from some hoovering there is no cleaning up to do. It can also be left in the corner of the room so baby can explore it whenever they like through the day. 

B liked the sound the rice made as it dropped to the tray and using the egg cups to throw it about. 

We would normally have done more messy play this week but B has been so ill with a horrible cold that we haven’t had the time. This will have to do for this week! We didn’t even make it to our group. More messy play next week! 😊

It’s such a dull rainy here and poor B has a horrible cold so I thought I’d inject some color and cheerfulness into the day and bring out the rainbow toys. As you can see B was keen to get started! 

The alphabet crocodile was a charity shop find so I’m unsure of the make. It’s gorgeous though and looks amazing on a shelf. We use it to sing the alphabet and B loves to pull it apart. 

The color beads toy is the Grimms rainbow beads grasper. This is such a lovely toy for a baby. The beads are all connected by elastic and it moves beautifully. I really enjoy playing with this never mind B! B likes to wave it around and listen to the noise it makes. 

The rainbow hand kite is a bracelet of mine with some strands of ribbon tied to it. A very simple and cheap toy to make. It’s lovely to wave around and watch the ribbons flitter about. 

The necklace is from Fiddlebeads. It’s absolutely gorgeous and comes everywhere with us. It provides B something to play with aside from my hair while feeding. It has also provented many Nappy change meltdowns while out and about as I can quickly whip it off my neck and give it to her. The elephant provides a lovely teether for when her teeth are playing up.

The xylophone is from Sainsburys. I bought it during their baby event so it was a real bargain. I did wonder if it was a bit old for B but she loves it! She tries to copy me playing it and will spend ages just banging the stick against it. 

The Pom Pom jar is one of the discovery jars I made for B. You can find details of it and ideas for other discovery bottles here.

They did seem to cheer B up, at least for a little while. They provided some much needed colour! I hope you had a nice weekend. 😊

Baby toys, especially at this age (6-18months), don’t have to be expensive. In fact household items would provide as much interest and enrichment needed as expensive toys. The name given to this type of play is Huresric play. At this age everything is about exploration and discovery. Babies need to be given a wide variety of materials and textures. Many of the baby toys sold today are made up solely of plastic, babies need to explore different smells, textures, sounds, sights and movement to learn.

With a little imagination and research it’s quite easy to put together some really fun toys. All of the toys below can be made from things laying around the house.

Discovery Bottles

I have used various size bottles and Kilner jars for variety and another sensory activity. In my bottles I have:

  • Lentils (for sound and movement)
  • Foil (for light reflection and sound)
  • Pom poms (colour)
  • Water, food colouring and vegetable oil (for water movement, bubbles and colour)
  • Water and glitter (for movement and light reflection.

B loves looking at these. She’ll spend a good few minutes shaking them and rolling them around. This also encourages her to move around after them. I like that the use of plastic and glass provides her with a concept of weight and different materials.

Treasure Basket

This is probably the easiest toy to make, it can be put together in less than a minute and keep your baby occupied for a while. A treasure basket is simply a basket made up of random household (baby safe) objects.

My treasure basket is made up of:

  • shell
  • sponge
  • spoon
  • pipe cleaner
  • Pom Pom
  • Picture frame
  • Pine cone

This will keep B occupied for a good 10 minutes, perfect for preparing lunch, putting some washing on or a quick Facebook check 😉 It is also a lovely activity to do together as you can talk about each item as your baby explores it.

Stacking Cups

Save and wash out your takeaway coffee cups and you have the perfect stacking cups. B enjoys banging these together and babbling into the cup.

Stacking Toy

This toy is made from an old mug tree and some curtain rings. I’ve taken the screws off the curtain rings.

B enjoys taking all the rings off, chewing them and flinging them around the room. This is great for a child’s motor skills as it requires concentration to get the rings on and off the branches.

These are only a few ideas of the different activities that can be put together for no money. They are also great ideas for working towards a zero waste lifestyle and giving packaging a new purpose. I would love to hear your ideas of no cost toys 😊.

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Gentle parenting is primarily about treating a child with respect at whatever age they are and recognising that they are a person, with their own unique personality. It is about being child- led where appropriate as this allows children to develop at their own pace. When we started discussing weaning B we wondered whether there was a more gentle approach than traditional weaning where we’d have to spoon feed her. We’d already found that administering medication was stressful as B didn’t like having the syringe forced into her mouth. However when allowed to play with it she would experiment with tasting the syringe quite happily. This led us to choose the Baby-led weaning approach.

Baby-led weaning is an incredibly simple concept. Basically, from approximately 6 months of age, a baby can be given solid food. This means no pureed food and no feeding the baby. Instead your baby can be given what you’re eating, within reason.

There are a few rules to remember before starting this approach to weaning:

  • Your baby should be able to sit up unassisted.
  • They should have lost their gag reflex.
  • Babies before the age of one should not be given honey.
  • They should be able to pick up items and move them to their mouth.
  • Babies should only have 1g of salt a day.
  • Your should be 6 months old.

I found Gill Rapley’s book ‘Baby-led weaning Cookbook’ a great resource when starting out, it also explains why these guidelines exist and offers plenty of recipes. Gill Rapley has two books out but I would advise buying this one as it contains all the crucial information as well as loads of recipes. 

We started B with slices of avocado (tip: leave some of the skin on as it makes it easier to hold) and gradually moved on to other vegetables, fruit and then small, simple meals. The beauty of baby-led weaning is that you don’t have to it this way, aside from the safety guidelines above there are no rules! You could serve pasta and veg for their first meal if you like. It’s absolutely hilarious watching them. At first food may go in their ear, hair, smeared into their eyebrows or anywhere that’s not their mouth! It can take a while before your baby actually tastes anything. It took B a good few weeks. The main point is that your baby sees food as a fun exploratory activity.

Alongside solids we started B with water in a sippy cup as up until then she was exclusively breastfed. B took really quickly to drinking out of a cup. She loves playing with it and practising drinking. For a baby that is still breastfed it is recommended that they only have water with meals as all hydration still comes from breastmilk.

Although one of the main benefits is to simply give baby whatever you are eating as a family I have really enjoyed cooking B different things for her to try. She gets all sorts of different tastes and textures this way. In future I plan to do a ‘Weaning Wednesday’ post where I show in pictures what B has eaten that day. It will also include the recipes and any tips I think will be helpful. This is my take on ‘What I ate Wednesday’ :D.

I went into cloth nappying so naively. I bought a bundle of Little Lamb bamboo nappies from eBay and believed that was all that I needed. I knew nothing of waterproof wraps, drying times, the sheer amount of nappies needed, bulkiness under clothes, different material options or the addictiveness of buying nappies :D. 

Now don’t get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with Little lamb nappies, in fact I’d say you can’t go far wrong if you had a kit that consisted solely of these. These are my husbands favourite nappies and the one he will always reach for first. It’s just that there are so many different options and it’s so much fun trying all the different types out. Disposable nappies generally all look identical, you may get a fun colourful pattern on the front but they’re all a uniform, bleached white. Cloth nappies are as different as clothing. They can be made from a variety of materials, all with their own advantages. This is something I hope to look at further in a later blog. 

It can be very overwhelming wanting to cloth nappy your child. Like me you may not have a clue where to start and its quite tempting just to buy a load of nappies in one type. If you  only take one piece of advice away from this blog, please take this: contact your local nappy library. They will be able to advise you, answer any questions and provide you with a kit you can hire for a month. 

This is an example of a kit we hire out to families for a month. It has everything needed to try out cloth nappies including accessories. 

I’m going to give a very basic overview of the different types of nappies. Within each of these categories there are many different brands, shapes and materials. Hopefully the following will help to make sense of some aspects of using cloth nappies.

All in one (AIO) nappies are the closest to disposables in terms of ease of use and style. They have the insert sewn in. The Bambino Mio nappies (shown below) also have a pocket so you can boost further should you need to.

Pocket nappies are very similiar to AIOs however the inserts are not sewn in. They are stuffed into the pocket. They are very versatile as can be used with any inserts. It’s very easy to add extras if needed.

Hybrid nappies are relatively new. They have a waterproof layer sewn into the fabric so can be used without a wrap during the day. For night use they would require a wrap.

Two part nappies are made up of a nappy and a wrap. The nappy absorbs all the moisture and captures the poo, the wrap provides the waterproof layer and keeps it all contained (hopefully!).

You could also use a flat nappy such as a Terries nappy (like your Grandma may have used) or a prefold. A prefold is exactly how it sounds, essentially material that has been prefolded for ease of use and maximum absorbency. These are possibly the most versatile nappies you can get and also the cheapest. They can be adapted for every body shape and folded in different ways according to need. These are also two part nappies so a waterproof wrap is required. A ‘nappy nippa’ is needed to keep flat nappies together, this is in place of the large safety pin you would have seen on ‘Call the midwife’!

I hope you’ve found some of this helpful. Do post any questions you may have in the comment section below or drop me an email. I will do my best to help. 😊