As many of you know, I’m not a fan of loud, obnoxious children’s toys that do all of the playing for you.
There is an entire aisle at Target full of these things and I avoid it like the plague. Sure, Leopold enjoys playing with those types of toys, for a very short amount of time. His favorite thing to do with them is to turn on whatever sounds they make and then run off to play with something else. Once the sounds stop, he will run back and turn it back on. I guess my husband was right about Americans needing background noise!
To avoid buying stock in batteries, I try to keep these toys to a minimum in our house. If we are gifted something like this, I leave it out for him, but I typically just get rid of it once the batteries die. Or let him play without batteries. He got a rocking horse for Christmas that makes some sort of noise, but we never put batteries in it. What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him!
I have known about Lakeshore for a while now, just from working around kids and in a daycare. The toys pop up here and there. It’s an awesome company with wonderful options for educational and sensory play!
We got to choose three items from a list, and we selected the Rainbow Stacking Stars, Feel and Match Sensory Fish, and Float and Find Alphabet Bubbles.
At first I was skeptical about these items because they seemed to be a bit ‘young’ for Leopold. Sure, he’s only two, but he’s pretty dang clever. He knows more animal names than I do, he knows his letters and can identify them…not just recite them. He can count to about 13 and can identify numbers as well. He knows his colors, shapes, body parts, etc. What I’m saying is, the kid is smart. I’m hoping he will be like me and be an early reader!
We got our ‘happy mail’ from Lakeshore last night and he has been playing with it ever since! We had a ball opening each one up and exploring them last night before bed, and this morning the first thing he said after he woke up was “I want my stacking stars!”
Today has been a lazy day so we got the chance to fully explore each toy. He seemed to struggle with the pattern matching fish last night, but today he picked up on it really quickly! He loves to put one in the wrong bowl, ask me if it’s right, then say “nooo…it doesn’t go there!” and put it in the correct bowl. I love the sturdy rubbery material these fishes and bowls are made out of. They seem like they would stand up to being gnawed on by a teething babe!
I can already see us using these with some water in the bowls this summer when it gets hot out to add another element of fun! It also crossed my mind to use these fish to ‘stamp’ patterns with, or to make fun prints in play dough. While there is a ‘point’ to this activity, it is still rather open ended!
This is a great sensory activity and a chance to learn about certain textures and patterns. Bumpy dots, striped lines, and as Leopold refers to it “the one that looks like a waffle”. I love this twist on a typical picture matching game!
The stacking stars are also a bit of a twist on your typical stacking toys. I love the fun star shapes and the bright colors on each one. You can make them nest into each other, or twist them just right so that they stack up into a tower. This activity also has a lot of potential! We have some bears that match all the colors of these stars so we may do a color sorting activity here soon!
As I mentioned, I’m excited about the idea of Leopold being an early reader, so I love games and toys that help him learn the alphabet. Sure, he knows the alphabet and recognizes letters, but where would anybody be without lots of practice and reinforcement?
These alphabet bubbles are air tight and meant to be used in the water. They float around and your little one can switch them from letters, to pictures that match the letter. This would be fun to create a game with, or just free play! Leopold took a ‘bubble bath’ with his letter bubbles today and they kept him occupied for ages! This is another fun one that I’m sure we will enjoy in the water table this summer!