The only toy your baby might need this Christmas? Babies do not need many toys, believe me on this one. Before six months they are quite happy staring at the ceiling, a pattern in the room, or just glazing into mum or dad’s eyes (enjoy those moments, they’re magical!)
But from 6 months it’s nice to get them a little something to keep them entertained. However, despite what department stores might make you thing, they don’t really need tons of toys. In fact, the more toys in the room, the more distracted they can get and not play effectively with anything.
Number 1 baby toy this Christmas
But there has been one particular toy that I am sure any child 6-18 months would definitely pick as their one and only toy they need (and us parents too!):
Both my children have enjoyed hours out of this simple toy, to much my surprise. I still remember the day we got it as a gift, and I was a bit reluctant when the experienced mother who gave it to us was praising it so much. But give it time, and oh my! It went beyond and above expectations!
Humble stacking cups could easily be the only toy any baby might need.
Why do babies love this toy?
Babies will grow with this toy, and they will change their way of interacting with it. Initially they will love you stacking them up, while they try to knock them down before you can reach the top, or seeing how new cups appear when you remove the bigger one on top.
Then they will move on to handling the cups themselves, and trying (not very successfully initially) to stack them up, and nest them one inside the other, repeatedly trying to nest the wrong size cups over and over! This gives them great hand eye coordination, and ability to start understanding sizes and sequences. Once they master it, they will entertain themselves for hours building huge towers and knocking them down!
Another easy game you can play with your baby will be to hide a little something under it (finger food for example, once you start weaning), which will delight your baby, as well as teach them about object permanence.
Babies actually think that what they cannot see is no longer there.
So initially they will be surprised every single time to find out that their little treat hasn’t gone anywhere and still lives under the cup. This game is also great to start developing their memories, and once they master the object permanence skill, you can move on to a slightly different version of the game where you place a few cups down on the table and they need to remember where you left the treat.
A further skills that the stacking cups can help your babies develop is cause-effect, in particular if you use them in the bath or at the beach. They can scoop water or sand, and pour it over, and see how the water falls down. Some of the cups even have little holes, which they find hilarious when the water escapes through them!
And depending which ones you choose, they are also educational, most of them having numbers, letters or animals, as well as different colours which is great to teach your child.
Stacking cups are ideal to develop cause-effect, hand-eye coordination, sequence and size skills
Why do parents love this toy?
Now let me praise the top five benefits for parents, and why it is also my most favorite baby toy:
- It’s clean, probably the most clean toy they’ll have. Before they are one, it’s recommended that you sterilize everything that they put in their mouth, but most toys are very difficult to clean. However, cups can be put in the dishwasher, put under the tap, use sterizing wipes on the go, etc., and they don’t have awkward crevices where dirt will remain forever.
- If you use them in the bath, they won’t go moldy, so you won’t need to replace them after a few weeks.
- It’s the perfect portable toy: small enough to fit in any handbag and it is not noisy so you can use it without drawing much attention in a restaurant, public transport, in a waiting room, etc.
- The fact that there are a lot of cups make it the perfect sharing toy, for when you have siblings fighting for the same one, or any other baby friends (not forgetting how easy it is to clean after another child has left all their dribbling all over it!).
- And finally….it’s cheap! The best money-value toy you’ll get in your baby’s first years.
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