This week I took a big bag of toys to the charity shop. They were all items that we had been given second hand that made annoying noises – some of which didn’t even have an off switch – and if my daughter had ever given them a second glance, she had lost interest pretty fast. Something tells me those particular toys will never have a home for life.
A study in 2010 found the average child owned 238 toys but only played with a core favourite 12 on a daily basis.
This led me to ponder my ten-month-old daughter’s favourite toys.
So here they are, in no particular order (her preferences vary anyway). Tried and tested by an expert – if you count a baby as an authority on what they like to play with.
1. My hair
Easily accessible, portable, good to chew on and great fun to yank and maul into a bird’s nest. She never seems to lose interest in my hair. Except occasionally when she moves on to trying to poke at my eyeballs.
Those on people’s faces, but also sunglasses that have been left unattended and just out of reach. She relishes the challenge of getting hold of them and can then find opening the arms and trying to snap them off fascinating for ages. She has a toy pair of giant red glasses, but for some reason they don’t hold the same appeal.
3. A plastic bottle
Her first significant crawl was made across the floor in pursuit of my water bottle. Give her a room full of toys and she will almost always head straight for the bottle. The ridged lids apparently give her more comfort than any of her teething toys.
4. The doorstop
The filthy, old, wooden doorstop that was wedging open our kitchen door when we moved in. No amount of scrubbing it with antibacterial wash will ever get it looking truly clean, and yet she’d rather put that in her mouth then any of the other toys I set out on the floor in a bid to tempt her. Time to buy a new doorstop…
5. My handbag
Whether it’s just a yank on the strap or a full root through and unpack, my handbag is a bottomless pit of entertainment as far as she is concerned. Except for the toys in it – they are always the first things to be cast aside as she dives in for a pen or my wallet.
6. The bath plug
It doesn’t matter how full the bath is of bright plastic ducks and buckets and bubbles, the plug is always there glistening at the bottom, drawing her towards it.
7. The Sudocream tub
You haven’t lived until you’ve played Sudo Bongos.
8. The Lidl special offers leaflet
She loves to read, any book or paper will do. But the Lidl leaflet offers a special source of intrigue. She likes to peruse it slowly and in detail, perhaps planning next week’s shop? Before shredding it up into a million pieces.
9. Mobile phone or tablet
Not to watch videos of Peppa Pig but just to gaze at, grab hold of and drool on. It is her biggest contender for our attention and so she is understandably enthralled.
10. A packet of wet wipes
She hates having her face wiped and will whine as soon as she sees me reach for the packet. But in her own hands it’s another matter. It comes in as a handy distraction technique for stopping her grabbing my hair or rolling away while she has her nappy changed.
The answer to that age old question of, ‘Why is there always an odd sock in the laundry basket?’, is so obvious. My daughter threw one off somewhere between the bus stop and our front door.
No stone is too big, too small, too dirty or too far away. What at first seems a great free and readily available way of keeping her occupied as she rakes them up, throws them, piles them or rolls them, always backfires when she eventually puts one in her mouth. And the more she is told, ‘No’, the more tasty they become.
What is your child’s favourite thing to play with?