I've been making a list of a few toys and materials that Caspar (9yrs) and Otis (6yrs) can make for Otto. I'm thinking of small stuffed toys or perhaps a pillow scented with lavender. Otis would love to do some more sewing. A few other toys come to mind immediately, toys inspired by the Montessori Grasping Beads, Ring on a Ribbon and the Bell on a Ribbon.
- a variety of wooden beads
- a variety of bells - coloured and silver
- wooden rings
- thick cotton cord
- transparent stretch cord
- embroidery needle (can be useful for threading the beads)
These are all so simple they can be made by siblings. It involves lots of threading and knot tying. It's a good idea to do this work on a tray as the beads and bells will go everywhere. The natural beads and rings can also be treated with a beeswax polish.
While the grasping beads won't be used until around three months, the bells can be much sooner. Otto is already batting at his mobiles, still uncoordinated, but he managed to catch a whale on his whale mobile (perhaps it should be up higher!). So I'll be putting some of these on his playgym soon!
The grasping beads are for grasping only and are not for the child once they start putting materials in their mouth. The rings and bells are perfect for the child to bat at (or kick at), you can put them on a playgym as we intend to do or hang them (securely) as you would a mobile. The bells will help the child develop intentional and coordinated movement, to learn cause and effect, will help promote visual tracking and develop concentration. Once the child is reaching for the rings these will assist with visual tracking and muscle development. You can see Otis as an infant reach for his ring on a ribbon here on his tummy and using his bell on a ribbon here.
It's important not to leave these DIY toys with an infant unsupervised and to inspect the toys each time before giving them to the child. If they need repair, you can do so immediately.
You could use leather for the grasping beads, which I considered but decided to go with some cotton cord instead. The clear thread you can see is a transparent stretch cord and is really stretchy but strong. Our DIY toys were also inspired by the materials in this store.
I love that these are unique and that they are handmade by Caspar and Otis! I just hope Otto likes them too!