Here’s another little gift I made for Anneliese. I haven’t really made much of an effort to hide them as I made them, because she’s a year old and doesn’t really “get” Christmas yet, so she has already seen them and has been VERY interested in playing with them. I’m excited to set them up as one of her toy choices on her shelf and watch her play with them after Christmas.
You’ll need some little wooden “people” pegs (there’s a huge variety out there, but our Michael’s craft store only carried a couple of options) and some cups for them to fit into. I got 6 for each set that I made, so that I could make a rainbow of people/cup pairs, so Anneliese can practice matching and color recognition, along with one-to-one correspondence (one peg per cup. If there is an extra peg, there must be a cup missing! And vice versa!) and fine motor skills.
I just painted these with acrylic craft paint. They’re not intended to be teething toys or to be mouthed/sucked/chewed excessively, but acrylic paint won’t hurt the babies if they swallow a little.
Which is great, because Anneliese did already. Yeah, I get parent of the year because I let her play with a (sealed, unopened) bottle of paint… a few seconds later I glanced over and her mouth was orange. I should have known better… even though it was sealed and the top was shrink-wrapped… she can open child-proof medicine bottles! So anyway, I cleaned out her mouth — I don’t think she swallowed much — and then after I put her down for a nap I called the poison hotline thingy just to be sure. They said acrylic craft paint is no big deal, so yay. Bottoms up!
The set I made for Anneliese has pretty small “guys” and require a little bit of dexterity to aim the peg into the small cup. Judging from her play with them already, I’d say it’s about perfect for her right now. Not TOO easy but if she focuses it’s something she can do without frustration.
For a smaller friend of ours, I made another set with slightly larger “guys” and flowerpots with larger openings, so it will require less dexterity for her to put the pegs into the cups. Another bonus of using the flower pot shape instead of the “candle cup” shape above is that the pots can stack/nest with each other, making a whole new game!
Sometimes the simplest toys are the best, aren’t they?