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Esther S.

Albuquerque, NM, USA
female, age 39
married, 1 child
Speaks: serious attempts at 4 more lang's, English - American version
Joined Jun 22, 2007

Toys for Babies

In the wake of the lead paint on toys made in China fiasco . . .

So, one morning while I made breakfast, I heard an concerned, "hmm" come from the living room where my husband was watching my son (nearly 12 months old now). Curious, I peaked around the corner to ask what was up. My husband informed me that according to the morning news (good ol' AP), it is possible that not only can lead be present in the surface finishes of toys, it can also be in plastic toys and it is not possible to test how much lead is in a toy. The report was repeated later in the day.

Then in happened . . . I tried to control it . . . I reminded myself that it was only one news report replicated a dozen times over and didn't necessarily represent all the details. . . but I just couldn't help it . . .


I decided then and there to limit my family's exposure to plastics made in China as much as possible and absolutely NO toys made in China.

However, I quickly discovered that sources of non-China made toys are scarce and expensive.

Since then I've started to figure out ways to make toys for my son from things around the house. I'm sure they're not perfect and some of the ideas are borrowed, but they are inexpensive and fun to make. Here's what I've fashioned/planned to fashion so far (hopefully, I'll get some pictures soon):

- Crochet cube and ball set (Stash buster): The cube is created "granny square style" by connecting square crocheted motifs (6 total) together at the edges to form the cube. The ball is crocheted in rounds like a hacky sack using doubled sport/DK weight yarn and a large hook. Both are stuffed with leftover poly-fil and have bells in the middle so that they make noise. Inexpensive bells can purchased at just about any craft store; the larger the bell, the better the sound. SAFETY NOTE: make sure the bell is quite large or encased in something to keep it baby safe. Thus far, no failures for this toy.

-Busy toy from recycled paper cup holder, cardboard packing material, and craft foam (RRR :) - I cut shapes from the craft foam and recycled cardboard (petal shapes and wide-squiggly lines) and attached them to another piece of carboard using brads and leftover elastic. The result is a toy that my son can twist, flick, turn, and feel (he is fascinated by the feel of the recycled cardboard). SAFETY NOTE - use extra long brads to hold parts to the base - my son, with little effort pulled off several of the shapes to play with the way too short brads that I used to make the toy.

- Measuring cups and recycled coffee can drum (Oldy but goody) - An old coffee can makes a great drum (tape the plastic lid to the can and remove the label). You can also put gravel in the drum so that it makes sounds when rolled on the floor or shook. Measuring cups (made of food grade plastic or stainless) are great for beating on the drum, on the floor, and each other. Nesting cups can make interesting stackers and puzzles for little developing minds.

- Spice Jar Puzzle (RRR): A wide mouthed, plastic spice jar makes an interesting and simple puzzle. I have to give credit for this one to my mother who, in an effort to keep my son busy while she finished making Thanksgiving pies, gave him the empty pumpkin-pie spice jar to play with. This toy can keep him busy for fifteen minutes at a time. He loves to practice stacking the top on the jar so that it stays and will even try to twist it if he's shown how first.

- Busy ball from fabric (To be finished): Still to be finished - my kiddo (15 mos.) isn't quite ready for this yet.

- Shower soccer (best for young walkers):  Like many moms, I find it hard to find time to take a shower.  So, my baby and I generally end up taking them together. I have to credit him with figuring out this game.  During one shower he began trying to pick up the soap bar, but couldn't (this, in itself, was fun for both of us), at one point it slipped out of his hands and landed by me. I brushed it with my foot to get it back to him.  Almost immediately he picked up on this and began trying to kick the soap (from a sitting position) around.  The end result was really amusing and I had a clean baby with very little work.  Try it and see what your baby does!

Personal Professional Contact Singles
Joined Jun 22, 2007 Activist Aspirations Casual 
Here for Support a Cause, Other 
Group Host of none yet
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Hometown 'Burque, NM 
Birthday Feb 09, 1980  
About Me Currently - avidly watching my son grow and working as a part-time after school professional for Citizen Schools afterschool programs.
  Introduce yourself to Esther
Activist Aspirations Casual
Political Leaning Liberal
Wild Fact About Me I used to skydive (yes, regularly). If I had money, time, and wasn't a mother of a young babe, I'D DO IT AGAIN!
My Philosophy Hey, I was still working on that!
What Gives Me Hope Laughter; lots of it. Watching my son grow.
If I were Mayor, I'd make the world a better place by Hmm, strange thing - power - I was never very good with it (always shocking myself and stuff :)
What/who changed my life and why The people that changed my life. Yeesh! Where do I start (Karma, karma, karma cameleon . . .)
Quotation "Doh!"
  Introduce yourself to Esther
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