Posts Tagged ‘legos’

How to Baby Proof with Big-kid Toys Around

Monday, September 12th, 2016

How to baby proof with big-kid toys aroI should preface this by saying we have never done the baby-proofing by locking the fridge, toilets, nor many cabinets. We have almost nothing that can break, put our few cleaners up high, and have a small (but cozy!) home where I can see all of my children most of the time and can hear them all of the time. We anchored our television and most furniture.

We are also in the stage of life where we see our living room furniture not so much as investment pieces and more like fun and comfortable. The kids can jump about the couch without us concerned with wear and tear (to a certain degree, of course). I think it is partially here that they’ve learned to be rough and tumble but also cautious. That said, as baby number three approaches 6 months and crawling, we’ve thought anew about what babyproofing looks like with older kids (almost three and five) in the mix.

Prevention. It’s helpful sometimes to “baby proof,” but sometimes prevention is key. Having fewer breakable things around gives some peace of mind. Minimizing the sheer volume of stuff in your home also minimizes the things your babe will come across. This includes your children’s belongings but also yours.

Consider your stuff, space, and child. Given the ages of your children, sleeping arrangement, size of home, and amount of toys, how you baby proof with big kids around may vary from my way. Consider the things that you are keeping baby safe from—stairs, breakable items, cleaners, medications, doors that lead outside, and so forth. We all have different variables with which to work. Also consider your child. One of our sons never had interest in plugs while the other approached them a number of times; one son has always had a keen interest in getting out the front door while the other, generally, stays inside when he should. Last, consider protecting your other children from baby. What toys or belongings do they cherish most? Try to make efforts to protect their most beloved objects from the baby when possible.

Create a completely safe space for baby. For us the living and dining rooms are always baby-friendly. Her brothers have toys out but, for example, we keep Legos in the other room on the table always. It’s helpful to have a location where I don’t have to be as alert to danger. Likewise, the boys’ room is one location that baby should NOT be in without my direct, hands-on, supervision as there are numerous toys with small parts.

Invest in baby-friendly toys for your older children. This can vary based on your children’s ages. Our two and four year old children still get entertainment and enrichment from large blocks, and smooth wooden and soft toys. When chosen thoughtfully, these toys can prove an investment as they span many years of child development while also safe for baby to play near or even with. Keep an eye out for small parts that can break off and baby-safe (i.e. lead free) paint/finishes.

Use your words to protect your children. Start early and explain simply. For example, we explained to our 4-year-old that shoes have dirt and other yucky things and they need to stay in the shoe bin, away from baby sister’s blanket and toys. We then made the habit of shoes going to the shoe bin. We still remind him sometimes but the expectation is established. The same is true for other things: Your food is for you (don’t feed baby); if you drop food, pick it up; leave baby on ground (don’t pick up); gentle (don’t hit); put your toys away; etc. Locks and gadgets can prove helpful, but they aren’t the only way to establish a safe space. Talk to them about responsibility at an age-appropriate level. For example, “If you don’t want your (favorite item) chewed, broken, or removed, then please care for it by putting it away where baby can’t reach.” Encourage grace when inevitably baby gets to someone’s treasured item.

Use babyproofing gadgets as appropriate for your needs. We haven’t used many but the ones we have purchased were a great relief. Anchors to secure our furniture to walls were worth every penny. Though we never used a baby gate for four years, we now use one almost daily to keep baby from unsafe spaces. While I generally keep an eye on my kids most of the time, sometimes I am busy, distracted, or otherwise occupied and cannot keep them safe only by sight. Invest in necessary precautionary measures and consider whether or not your older children should know how to maneuver the safety devices.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 5 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Homemade Lego Table

Monday, March 5th, 2012

For Christmas we made the kids a sensory table which quickly became one of their most favorite activities. We have played with beans, rice, water, sand, seashells, rocks, and packing peanuts in it. It has been a car wash and an ice cream shop. We have used magnetic fishing poles to catch magnetic fish. We have washed and painted seashells collected from the beach. There are so many more ideas that we have yet to explore! We store and use our sensory table outdoors which works beautifully because it can get rather messy!

In addition to a sensory table I wanted an outdoor art table that could be used in conjunction with the sensory table as well as for separate messy art projects. I found THE perfect child-sized wood table at the thrift store for only $7.00! It was in great shape and super sturdy although was coated in paint, glue and glitter from the previous owners. No biggie! I just washed it down and painted it dark brown to match our sensory table. I love seeing them sit side by side.

The final project I had in mind was to make was a Lego table. Legos are hands down my kids’ top choice activity these days. They spend a great deal of time building Lego creations and playing with their Lego guys. Sometimes I think we could do away with all the other toys in our house except for our Legos and the kids would be perfectly content. Therefore I have been thinking a lot about how to build a Lego table for them. In fact most of my “pins” on Pinterest are ideas for a Lego table. My criteria were twofold; 1) a table that didn’t take up too much space and 2) was flexible in its design allowing for a variety of Lego play. Here’s what I came up with…

I purchased a bin to store the Legos in that is the same size as the bin in the sensory table. It is actually a really good size and depth for storing our Lego collection. We alternate between the Lego bin in the sensory table and the other bin (holding whatever sensory material we happen to be using at the time). When the Lego bin is not in the sensory table, it fits perfectly on the bottom  shelf of our coffee table. This way the kids can easily play with their Legos indoors or outdoors.

Next step was to provide a Lego base for the kids to build on. I purchased a set of 3 Lego Plates and glued them to a piece of wood I found at the “as-is” section of Ikea for $3.00. It was already finished and happen to be the perfect color so I didn’t need to do anything to it. Double score!! This Lego base fits right onto the art table that sits next to the sensory table. This allows us to have a Lego building station or a sensory/art station. I seriously love how it turned out! And it was super easy and inexpensive. In fact the most expensive part was purchasing the Lego plates. Although they were well worth the money because they add a whole new dimension to their Lego creations.

I have pinned so many Lego tables on Pinterest…I wonder if someone will now pin mine? Yep, this is the kind of stuff that excites me now…Lego tables! Can you tell I am the mom of 3 boys?!? 😉

-Sarah

PS. They now make Legos that are marketed towards girls called Lego Friends. Do any of you have these for your girls? If so what do you think of them?