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By Mummies For Mummies (and Daddies too)

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Toys

How To Wash Your Baby’s Fav Plushies

stuffed animals and washing supplies

Your baby probably has their favourite plushie who is part toy, part best friend, and also part napkin. Even it is a cute sight to see when your baby carries Miss Kitty everywhere, the plushie might be looking super gross. This means they are due for a soak and scrub session so it doesn’t smell like spoiled milk! And washing a plushie is easy. But some plushies are older, hence they are more delicate than others. For these well-loved toys, hand-washing is the right option although machine-washing is fine for most plushies. So here’s what you need to know when handling the delicate.

Machine-washing plushies

Machine-washing is indeed the most practical, also the easiest choice for most parents and most plush toys like teddy bear or bunnies can be machine-washed. However you are at risk of damaging some toys by throwing them in the wash especially the ones that are well-worn. So ensure to check the care label attached for the washing directions when deciding if machine-washing is the way to go. If you opt for machine-washing:

  • Use the delicate cycle and cold water but if your baby has been sick, you might want to sterilize it with hot or warm water (only if the toy can tolerate it, for example it has no glued-in parts).
  • Use a mild detergent if you have it! It’s fine if you don’t have mild detergent as regular detergent is fine too – just follow the instructions on the bottle and don’t use too much detergent as the left-behind soap residue can irritate your baby’s sensitive skin.
  • Place in a mesh laundry bag to protect its parts like eyes and fur. You might want to pad the load with towels too so the toys are protected.

As for drying, some plushies can be dried in the dryer but some may not survive the high heat that could ruin its fur, plastic and glued-in parts. Therefore the best way to dry plushies is to let them air dry. Place them near a fan or dehumidifier to speed up drying time and do ensure the inner stuffing does not retain water! And use a hair dryer on low or medium heat to help revive your baby’s best friend’s fluffiness.

Hand-washing plushies

If you can clean your baby, you can definitely hand-wash your baby’s soft toy! Soft toys are even easier with no shrieking and crying. Hand-washing is the best option for older and well-loved toys or plushies with more delicate fibers. To clean plushies or dolls with hands, you only need three things, which are:

  • A clean area that can hold enough water to fully submerge the toy, like a tub, large bucket or utility sink.
  • A mild detergent.
  • A fresh, dry towel.

Fill up the bucket that you’re using with enough cold or warm water to fully immerse the plushie, then add a teaspoon or tablespoon of the mild detergent per gallon of water. Then proceed to submerge the plushie and perform a CPR on it by using a pumping motion so that it’s saturated with water and detergent. Let the toy soak for at least 15 minutes or up to an hour before rinsing. However, do note that more delicate toys should be soaked for lesser time to prevent damaging their fibers.

When rinsing, you can either hold the plushie under running water or drain the bucket and refill with clean water and repeat the pumping action to get rid of soap residue. It is highly recommended that you do not scrub or wring it out as overhandling may lead to damage. When you are convinced there’s no more soap residue, drain the bucket and gently press down on the plushie several times to flush out as much water as you can, then roll it up in a fresh towel like a burrito, which will pull out more water. Let the toy to air dry and use a hair dryer on the lowest heat setting to fluff up the plushie if needed.

Spot-treating Plushie With Electronic Components

There is no way you could throw a plushie with electronic or musical components in the washing machine, thus, the best way to clean them is through spot-treating. It involves doing a surface-only cleaning of the toy by wiping its exterior using a damp cloth and a gentle detergent like a foaming hand or dish soap.

Feel like giving your baby a new plushie? Browse our range of soft toys here!

Cuddly Soft Toys: The Benefits

Baby Lying on White Cushion Beside Brown Bear Plush Toy

Dear parents, do you still remember your first soft toy? Cause I still do! It was a large pink bunny that I kept in the corner of my bed! It was soft and cuddly, she was my first childhood best friend. Since soft toys have become staple gifts to give to little babies, numerous studies have shown that soft toys indeed have positive impacts on the development of a child. And although in this day and age children have access to all kind of toys of sizes and shapes and some toys are high-tech, still, soft toys are usually most favoured amongst children. Hence what are the benefits soft toys give to children?

Soft toys can provide the perfect mix of developing sensory skills as well as encouraging social and emotional growth. Babies love to touch and feel new textures and with soft toys, babies can feel their bristly whiskers, soft fur, and smooth eyes. At such a young age, infants have already begun to grasp the different colours, sizes, and textures of their surroundings and soft toys are the perfect toy for them to explore those!

Soft toys can too help them develop social skills as they incorporate pretend-play during their playtime. This may include imitating what is familiar to them such as their daily routine of eating, talking, and playing. This acts as a foundation to strengthen their social skills as pretend-play encourages interaction therefore could help bolster their language and communication skills too.

Like any adults, children can too feel distress and anxious. The world can be a scary place or too overwhelming for them, one of the ways to comfort them is by showing them their favourite furry plushie. Giving them their favourite plushie during times of discomfort can give them a sense of reassurance and familiarity. It also could help them to self-soothe. If children are encountered with difficult situations, the warmth of squishy bunny in their embrace can help them to feel better as though they are with a loved one.

Apart from that, soft toys can also help decrease children’s vulnerability when being separated from parents. Experts recommend parents to encourage children to play with their teddy bear at least 10 to 15 minutes, few times per day. Other than improving children’s self-esteem, the touch and feel of these toys help to reduce stress, regulate blood pressure and produce endorphins, the happy hormones!

Soft toys also help children to care for other people and appreciate the presence of relationships. It helps instill empathy and compassion while satisfying their need to nurture other people.

When buying soft toys for children, it is super important to ensure that they are suitable for your child’s age. Remember that youngins especially babies like to explore with their mouths, hence ensure there is no loose threads and no small parts that may present as a choking hazard. Feel free to browse Babydash range of soft toys from Jellycat, Ty Beanie Boos, K’s Kids, and more!

Let’s (Sensory) Play! – The what, why & how

7 fun sensory play ideas to encourage your child's development

From birth to early childhood, your child use their five senses – touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing to explore and make sense of their surroundings. It is a crucial part of their early childhood development and giving a medium for your child to actively use their senses as they explore their world through sensory play is important to brain development as it aids to build nerve connections in their brain’s pathways.

So, what is sensory play? Sensory play involves anything that stimulates your child’s five senses as well as anything that engages movement and balance.

Why is sensory play important? Sensory play could also help your child to complete more complex learning tasks as well as supports cognitive growth, language development, gross motor skills, social interaction, and problem solving skills.

How does sensory play benefits your child?

In addition to being a fun activity for your child, it encourages your child to explore and be investigative. It also helps your child to exercise the ‘scientific method’ of observing, forming a hypothesis, experimenting, and drawing a conclusion.

It also allows your child to improve their threshold for various sensory information, helping their brain to form stronger connections to the sensory information and learn which are useful and which can be filtered out. For example, your child may find it difficult to play with other children when there is too much happening in their environment with conflicting noises or sights. Through sensory play, your child can learn to filter out the unnecessary noise and focus on the play instead.

Another relatable example is a child who is especially fussy with eating foods with a wet texture such as spaghetti. This is where sensory play comes in handy as it can assist the child touching, smelling, and playing with the texture in an environment with little expectation. When trust and understanding have been developed, it signals the brain to say that it is safe to engage with this food.

Some examples of activity to encourage sensory play

  1. Playdough – you can make your own or purchase here on Babydash. It’s an excellent sensory tool for hands-on early learning activities like letters, numbers, and colours. Playdough also acts as a muscle strengthener for little hands preparing to write! It is definitely a fun activity that parents can join too – knead, roll, stretch, flatten, pound and build! (One of the ways to prep your child to help you baking too! 😉)
  2. Sensory board/bin – your child will enjoy this so much and it is easy to create too! Gather different types of objects around the house that can stimulate senses (ensure they are safe to use!). Attach them to a big cardboard or put them into a bin. Let your child feel the texture and play with them. And to help them enhance their sensory exploration, do ask relevant questions! Questions you may ask:
    – How does it feel
    – How does it look like?
    – What’s the smell produced?
    – What sound does it produce?
    – How does it taste?
    Smooth, shiny, beautiful, cold – some of the fun adjectives that your child can learn through playing with a sensory board/bin! Other than helping your child to develop their senses, it also helps in nurturing their linguistic skills.
  3. Sand foam – the simplest to create – add sand + shaving cream together and voila! Perfect for messy play on outdoor days!

The next time you find your child is playing with random items around the house like pots, paper towel, face powder (children LOVE this! 😅), straws or anything at all, just encourage them (& clean up after 😂). A child can use anything around them to explore the world! And by allowing them to follow their instincts, you are helping to nurture their five senses!

The Importance of Age-Appropriate Toys

12 Best Toys for 1-Year Olds

If you read my previous post (if you haven’t, then.. you better do it now!), you would already know that toys play an important role in your child’s development. The benefits toys give to a child are immense but in today’s post I’m gathering The Importance of Age-Appropriate Toys for you to read!

When purchasing a toy for your little child, do you normally look for the age recommendation label on the packaging? If yes, then you are doing great, sweetie! Age recommendation label exists as a result of researches done by manufacturers to specifically pinpoints the most likely groups that can and will enjoy specific toys, as well as which age can play with the toys safely. It also will prevent you from buying toys that are too old for younger kids which may cause harm to themselves.

Infants require specific toy recommendations to ensure their safety. Choose toys that are sanitary, washable, high-quality, and sturdy. You might want to ensure that the toy is not too heavy and have sharp or rough edges that can cause cuts and scratches. Babies especially love to put things into their mouths, well, they are a bunch of curious cats, we can’t blame them! To prevent choking hazards, it is best to buy toys that are not too small so babies can’t swallow them. Look for toys that are nontoxic and contain no harmful substances, such as lead paint.

Here are examples of toys that are suitable for infants:

Toddlers are ready to play with toys that will them to start learning. This may includes games, puzzles, and art supplies. But we all know how toddlers are so cheeky with their antics and are explorers with their surroundings, hence you need to make sure that their toys are safe! Read the labels carefully and watch out for toxic substances, ensure that fabric toys are made of flame-resistant materials as well as wooden toys should not have splinters!

Suitable toys for toddlers:

Preschoolers have longer attention span than toddlers. They can now focus on doing things a little bit longer than before. So their toys will keep them busy for hours so they won’t bug you every other minute! (Well, what a relief ha! 😂) Select toys that will aid them to continue their development while keeping them safe at the same time. Books, pretend play, and larger toys are some examples that can help to stimulate their imaginations and prepare them for school.

Here are some examples of toys that include pretend play for preschoolers:

School-age children are older and now have better understanding of how to play their toys safely. They will no longer try to swallow small parts or even lick their toys at this age. You can now safely buy toys made for older kids, such as action figures, craft items, or even fitness materials!

Suitable toys for school children:

Now that you know these facts you can now shop the right toys for the right age for your baby and relatives! In case you haven’t known it already, Babydash is having a special promo on Fisher-Price products. Check out the promo here.

Toys are Important for Children’s Development – True or False?

Top 5 Toys for Children with Visual Impairment – Page 12 – FamilyConnect

We all know kids love toys and one can never have too many toys, right? 😂 But is it true that toys are important for children’s development? Or is it just a marketing strategy used by these toy companies to sell their products? Well, the answer is true and it is not some ploy used by toy companies. Toys do play an important role in children’s development. How? Keep reading!

Even in the early development, a child’s mind is expanding just by looking around their environment and taking in their surroundings. Ever heard the saying “children are like sponges”? They are fast learners and absorb everything so quickly, hence why we adults must always be careful with what we are saying/doing when we are with them!

The use of educational toys as early as one-month old can help children learn a variety of different skills that will help them later in life! Educational toys can help them develop problem solving skills, teach about conflict resolution, and how cause and effect work. They also teach children about sharing, developing their fine and gross motor skills, and nurtures their creativity and imagination.

Here are some ideas of educational toys based on age range and the benefits they give to a child.

1-12 months old: At early stage, sensory play helps to stimulate your child’s senses. Sensory toys involving textures, sounds and bright, contrasting colours are great developmental choices for babies. As your child continues to grow and develop hand-eye coordination, you can start introducing toys that encourage more interaction. And as your little one becomes more and more active, problem-solving toys can be introduced. These toys will encourage them to learn through conflicts and become familiar with the cause and effect of how things work that will get them to think, “Oh, if I do this, then that will happen!”. Other great toys that can be introduced when your child are able to sit, push to stand independently and start to crawl are toys that promotes movements.

Here are excellent examples of toys that you can find on Babydash for your baby’s first year:

SKIP HOP Explore & More Roll-Around Rattle - Bee - Just4bb.com
Skip Hop: Roll Around Rattle.
Purchase here.
Simple Dimple: Unicorn Battery Operated Musical Mobile
Simple Dimple: Unicorn Battery Operated Musical Mobile.
Purchase here.
Fisher-Price Play & Crawl Hedgehog Mirror - £20.00 - Hamleys for Toys and  Games
Fisher-Price: Play & Crawl Hedgehog Mirror.
Purchase here.

12-24 months old: As your child reaches their 1-year mark, they will become very mobile. Introducing the right toy will help to teach them balance and coordination. This newly acquired ability to walk will also expand their curiosity as they now can get from point A to point B on their own! To make your child to be familiar with numbers (even they could not really understand at this age!) is to incorporate learning numbers by counting their steps as they begin to learn to walk. Themed playsets are great educational toys to help develop your child’s recognition skills which can be introduced between the ages of 12-18 months. For instance, if you have an animal themed playset, practice what sound does each animal makes. This will also help in language development!

Here are some great finds of toys on Babydash that is suitable for your child between age 1-2 years old:

Fisher-Price: Lion Walker
Fisher-Price: Musical Walker Lion.
Purchase here.
Maple Blocks | E0409 | Hape Toys
Hape Toys: Maple Blocks.
Purchase here.
LeapFrog Spin and Sing Alphabet Zoo, Interactive Teaching Toy for Baby -  Walmart.com - Walmart.com
LeapFrog: Spin & Sing Alphabet Zoo.
Purchase here.

2 years and above: When your child is a bit older and become more active, you can now introduce toys that promote physical play. When introducing scooter or tricycle, always ensure that they are aware of the safety measures such as wearing a helmet. This is also the perfect age to introduce to your child toys that encourage cognitive skill building. There are a lot of toys that can help your child to practice writing – whether drawing or even writing their own names! A lot of games and books can also help them developing name recognition and literacy skills. Reading books that have bright, colourful pictures and a few words on the page will get your child to begin to familiarize with how words they hear look on the pages!

Here are some examples of toys that can help promote physical play and cognitive skill building:

Scoot and Ride Highwaykick 1 - Steel Blue (1+ yrs)
Scoot & Ride: Highwaykick 1.
Purchase here.
Crayola Touch Lights, Musical Doodle Board | Crayola.com | Crayola
Crayola: My First Crayola Touch Lights.
Purchase here.
Leapfrog Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart | Shopee Malaysia
LeapFrog: Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart.
Purchase here.

Other than toys, technology can definitely assist with your child’s development. However, you need have a healthy balance of learning through technology and creative play. Parents need to limit screen time and let your child’s imagination wander creatively through playing with toys! Through playing, it also helps both parents and child to bond over a quality playing time. It will be so much fun and full of surprises as we watch them play!

Also to let you know that you can receive a foldable fleece blanket for FREE with any purchase of Fisher-Price products on the website. No minimum purchase is required. Promo valid until 20 September 2020 or while stocks last, whichever comes first. Check out the promo now!

Top 5 Tips for a Safe Playtime

It is vital to encourage our kids to play because playing allows them to use their creativity developing their imagination, ability as well as physical, cognitive and emotional strength. But before they play, there are few preventive measures that we as parents need to tackle in order to keep them safe.

Tip #1: Always disinfect/clean toys before playing

Kids especially infants have an immature immune system, so always ensure to disinfect/clean your children’s toys before playtime as we know babies love to put things in their mouth which can cause them to fall sick if it is dirty! You may purchase your toys disinfectant from Babydash here.

Tip #2: Choose age appropriate toys

I know there are labels on the toy boxes as reference for safety in connection to child’s age. However, we as parents know not every child is the same, hence it is best to use our own judgments when buying toys for our child – only you know when they are ready. There is a variety of toys to choose that may suit your child from Babydash.

To purchase this infant toy, click here.
Get this rocking horse for your toddler here.
Purchase this for your kid by clicking here.

Tip #3: Choose sturdy, quality toys

We know how kids like to throw things around (it’s messy I know – I feel you, parents!) so it is important to select sturdy and quality toys when shopping for one, so it does not break and spoil after it gets tossed and thrown around the house for the hundredth time – you could save some $$$ too! Here is an example of quality toys that you can get from Babydash, click here.

Tip #4: No sharps and no little parts

Of course as parents keeping our child from sharp objects is a no-brainer. However, a thorough way to examine a toy before purchasing one is to consider the “protruding” parts. Always keep a look out on anything that sticks out or does not have rounded edges.

If you ever wondered, how little parts are considered little – use the toilet paper roll test! If a toy or a piece of toy is small enough to fit inside an empty toilet paper roll, it could block your baby’s airway. Remember, choking is one the biggest hazards for children! Purchase one from Babydash here.

Tip #5: Choose a non-toxic play mat

Our children especially babies will spend a lot of time on the floor – tummy time and crawl, therefore it is essential to have a play mat that does not emit harmful substances such as BPA! A good play mat will also prevent your child from play time accidents. Get one from Babydash here.

There we have it, parents! Accidents bound to happen but we must always ensure we have taken all the necessary measurements to prevent mishaps and keep our children safe and sound in our home.

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