Homemade Baby Play
Is it not amazing that no matter how many fancy toys you buy or are given for your baby, they always prefer the box or bag it was packaged in instead? Save money on fancy toys and make your own fun play things for baby. You just need a little creativity and the items you probably already have in your recycling box or pantry. Here are a few ideas.
Check Make Baby Stuff (www.make-baby-stuff.com) to learn how to make all kinds of baby toys at home. The site has instructions for making homemade puzzles, doll furniture, teddy bears, and even wooden blocks. It is incredibly rewarding to watch your baby play with a toy that you personally made.
Babies love to watch someone blowing bubbles. It must look like magic to such young eyes to see something so unusual form out of thin air. Steer clear of the commercially prepared bubble products that are made from dubious chemicals, and make your own bubble liquid instead. That way, you and baby will always be ready for a moment of magic!
½ cup nontoxic dish soap
1½ cups water
2 teaspoons sugar
Gently mix the dish soap, water, and sugar together in a cup or empty yogurt container. Stir well. Pour a small amount of the mixture into your baby's next bath and stand back as she giggles and squeals with delight!
Organic Play Dough
Play dough can be a feast for a young baby's senses. The colors and textures make for fabulous exploration. And the supple material helps young children practice moving their little fingers by rolling, breaking, and smooshing it.
Traditional store-bought play dough is made from petroleum byproducts that are harmful to the planet and can be just as harmful to your baby if ingested. And their containers create mountains of disposable waste. Here's how to make your own play dough that is safer for everyone:
1 cup organic flour
½ cup sea salt
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
1 cup filtered water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Mix flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a saucepan.
Combine water and oil in a small bowl. Stir into the flour mixture gradually.
Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until very thick, stirring constantly. Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes. Knead until smooth. Store in an airtight container.
Don't take your eyes off of that organic play dough! It will burn very easily when cooking, so be sure to assemble all ingredients and make sure baby is in a safe place before you begin. Stir the mixture quickly and constantly over low heat to avoid sticking.
To add color to your play dough, separate the mixture into portions and add a little food-grade dye to each.
Homemade Finger Paint
Finger painting is a popular activity for babies and young children because it gives them a chance to express themselves through color even before they develop the fine motor skills necessary to handle a brush. It is also a great way to get messy! Steer clear of petroleum-based finger paints that off-gas VOCs and look for those made from natural pigments and oils such as Livos SALIS Natural Hemp Finger Paints (www.kidbean.com). Better yet, make your own eco-savvy finger paints to keep those little fingers safe, happy, and busy!
1½ tablespoons white sugar
½ cup dry cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup of cold water
1 box of food coloring with red, green, yellow, and blue
Mix the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and water in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stirring constantly, gradually add a few drops at a time of food coloring until it reaches the desired color.
Continue to cook and stir for 10 minutes. The ingredients will gradually thicken from a runny consistency to a more paint-like consistency. Once the mixture thickens, remove the pan from heat.
Once cool, transfer paint to a recycled glass jar (such as a baby food jar) for storage, or to a recycled plastic container (such as a yogurt) for immediate use.