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By Mummies For Mummies (and Daddies too)

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Toys

Monochromatic vs. Colourful Toys: Which One Is The Better Choice For Your Baby?

Have you ever wondered about what your baby can see in the first few weeks of life and why do many baby toys and books feature of high contrast black and white images?

In the first 3 months, babies can only see black and white (or grey) tones and focus on objects that are 8 to 11 inches away from them, which is more or less the distance from their parents’ faces while nursing or feeding. Hence, what can you do to help enhance their development during this time?

By choosing toys and décor in high contrast of black and white! These make it easier for your baby to focus on, which helps them strengthen their eyesight and ability to concentrate.

Benefits of monochromatic toys

  • Bold black and white images stimulates the development of their optic nerves. Focusing on such visual stimuli teaches your baby’s vision, training the eye muscles and brain to coordinate and function properly.
  • Although their vision is immature, babies are able to interpret simple images and engage with them. Engagement with black and white images, textures and patterns boosts their learning and enables them to have a better understanding of their environment.
  • Research has found that simple contrasting patterns could also attract babies’ attention for longer periods of time and, at the same time, help them relax. It also help in improving their memory and developing their nervous system. It is also beneficial in terms of social skills. Being able to describe something allows your child to expand their vocabulary and boost their confidence.
  • Another pro of getting for black and white toys and décor for your baby means you can re-décor by adding pops of color later on that fits with your tot’s interests. Black and white is also gender neutral, timeless and educational!

As your baby continues to grow, so does their vision. Experts say, most babies are able to see colours at about 5 months of age, with a preference for bright primary colours – red, yellow and blue, and secondary colours – green, orange and purple, are more appealing than light shades of pink and beige or neutral shades of grey and brown. Hence, this is the best time to incorporate colours in their playtime and environment!

Benefits of colourful toys

  • Blue – Blue enhances creativity and stimulates a cool and relaxing environment. However, it should not be used excessively as it can also depress or invoke sadness.
  • Red – Red is the colour of passion and strong feelings of threat, love, or excess stimulus. It can be used in combination with other colours as it can help in detail oriented or repetitive tasks.
  • Yellow – This is indeed the colour of happiness and sunshine for children. Yellow encourages intelligence and is ideal to use in kids’ rooms, study rooms and play areas. And it should not be overdone as it can make children feel stressed.
  • Green – The colour of abundance can relax and contribute to better health in kids.
  • Pink – A calming colour that helps lower heart rate.
  • Purple – This colour ideal for kids as it is attention grabbing.
  • Orange – It helps in enhancing critical thinking and memory.

There are no right or wrong with choosing monochromatic or colourful toys as both have benefits of their own. The best toy is always the safest one you can find which should be appropriate to your baby’s age.

Shop our variety of toys collection here.

Bath Time is More FUN with Bath Toys!

7 tips for a better bathtime - Today's Parent

Many children enjoy bath time, but some don’t. To help soothe their child’s tantrum and improve their bath experience, many parents introduce bath toys into their child’s bath routine. Having bath toys give your child the chance to relax, unwind, and have fun! However there are more to it than just having fun, bath play gives your child many benefits as a lot of skills get developed during bath time.

Benefits of bath time with toys

  • Spend quality time – Bath time gives parents and caretakers the opportunity to spend quality time with their child. During bath time, parents can together play with their child, while talking and singing to them. This too gives working parents the chance to bond with their child after a long day of working and make their child feels loved and appreciated.
  • Develop skills – Bath play allows your child to build skills. By squeezing, touching, and splashing their bath toys, they can improve their fine motor skills. They also learn more about colours, shapes, and volume by interacting with the unique bath toys while developing their social skills by talking to their parents. Bath time also could help develop your child’s sensory skills as it gives your child’s senses a lot of attention, from feeling the water on her skin, learning to distinguish different temperatures, and being touched while you wash and dry them.
  • Independence – Bath time with toys can encourage your child to build self-care skills, from helping to wash your child’s body to drying them off. And since bath time can get a bit messy, parents like to clean and tidy up the bath space one the child is finished playing. Once your child gets used to the process of cleaning up the toys and draining out the water after bath time, they can take these organizational skills with them as they grow.

With all the benefits bath toys have, they unfortunately have a downside too which is becoming breeding grounds for molds, fungi, and bacteria – some of which can make your child fall sick. Although mold is harmful when ingested, the amount of mold present in contaminated bathwater from moldy bath toys is usually not enough to make your child sick. However, if your child experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or an upset stomach, those could be the effects of ingesting mold, just like food poisoning from moldy food.

To avoid this from happening, parents can and should clean bath toys regularly to prevent mold from growing on them or inside them by using a toy cleaner or a mixture of vinegar/bleach with water. Soak the toys for a good minute and ensure to squeeze all the liquid out of the bath toy. Then, store them in a dry place until they need to be used at bath time.

Parents also can ensure to buy fully-sealed bath toys. But, if you have bought bath toys with holes, you can seal them with a glue gun before your child starts using them to help prevent mold build-up.

Here are some bath toys that you can on Babydash

Should You Choose Wooden Over Plastic Toys?

12 Best Wooden Toys of 2020

When it comes to your child, parents only want to give the best, this includes toys. With plethora of toys available in the market, there are many things to factor in when shopping for toys for your child. One of them is the different types of material used – wooden vs plastic. To help you make informed decision when shopping for toys next time, in this post I will list down the pros and cons of the two commonly used materials for children’s toys.

Pros of wooden toys

  • Stimulate creativity – When looking for educational toys, wooden toys always come up on top. Why? Because most wooden toys are “open-ended” or versatile in nature. It often requires your child to think and imagine creatively as wooden toys can be played in several ways – stack, combine or even construct complex structures like towers, bridges or castles. It also helps your child to develop problem-solving skills from an early age.
  • Durable – Wooden toys are long-lasting and won’t wear out easily. They are less likely to break even they get thrown away and can easily be restored to its formerly glorious state by repainting the washed out colours. Due to its resistance and durability, wooden toys make a great hand-me-down toys from generation to generation!
  • Safer playtime – Wood is a natural material and most of the times, wooden toys are plain or naturally-coloured that are less likely containing toxic chemicals such as BPA or Phthalates. Wooden toys also make an ideal, safer option for infants and toddlers who like to put toys in their mouths.

Cons of wooden toys

  • Pricier – The benefits of wooden toys often come with a price. However, the longevity of the wooden toys ends up actually being cheaper in the long run. You don’t need to fork out money to replace the batteries and they are pretty much unbreakable which are going to save you some $$$ as you don’t have to keep buying new toys.
  • Appearance – Although wooden toys last long, its appearance, however may vary depending on how they are used and stored. They are more likely to get scratches and their colour may fade over time. And since carving is not easy, most wooden toys designs are plain with less details and seem unattractive to your child.

With many benefits wooden toys have, should you really choose wooden toys over plastic toys? Well, here are some important points to consider when you decide to buy plastic toys for your child.

Pros of plastic toys

  • Attractive designs and choices – Plastic toys come with a great selling point which is attractive designs with vibrant colours! They usually have realistic and detailed designs that will keep your child engrossed for hours. From colourful blocks to the battery-operated ones like laptop, you will have tons of options to choose from when it comes to plastic toys. Your child can learn numbers and alphabets through the musical toys. And they make a great pretend-play toy too!
  • Relatively cheaper – The choices are endless for plastic toys and you can find the right one to suit your budget. Though quality plastic toys also come with a higher price tag, there are many other alternatives for your child.
  • Easy to clean – Another good point to add to plastic toys is they are super easy to maintain. You can easily wash, disinfect or wipe without worrying the toys may get ruined.

Cons of plastic toys

  • Breakable – Children love to throw things off. Plastic toys are less durable and more likely to break when being smashed. If small pieces are broken off, they can easily be swallowed by your child and become a choking hazard.
  • Harmful chemicals – The greatest setback when it comes to plastic toys is the chemical contents like BPA and Phthalates that are harmful to children. To prevent these substances from coming close to your child, ensure to only purchase high-quality plastic toys that are certified and met the highest standards.

At the end of the day, there are no right or wrong in choosing wooden or plastics toys for your child. The best toy is always the safest one you can find and also appropriate for your child’s age does not matter if they are wooden or plastic. Browse our toys collection here.

Baby Teethers: How To Choose The Best Ones

11 Best Baby Teethers in 2020 - Parenting

Another exciting milestone to celebrate other than starting solids is teething, although it can be a difficult and painful one for your baby. While it’s thrilling for parents to see their beautiful set of pearly whites developing, your baby can experience fussiness and pain. Most babies get their first tooth at around 6 months, but the age range can be different by a few months too. And these teething symptoms such as drooling, biting, crying, coughing, refusing to eat, night waking, ear pulling, cheek rubbing and generally feeling irritable can start to occur few months before the first tooth appears. So what you can do to help your baby relief teething pain? Answer: baby teethers!

Other than gently massaging your baby’s sore gums (with clean hands, of course!) and giving your baby something cold to nibble on (like frozen wet washcloth), you may want to consider giving them teethers, also called teething toys. Teethers are a great alternative for them to have something safe to chew on. It is helpful as the gumming action gives counter pressure to baby’s new teeth which can help to soothe and relief the pain.

When purchasing baby teethers for your baby, it is important to keep a few things in mind as teethers come in a range of different styles and materials.

  • Avoid necklaces, bracelets, and jewelry as they can break apart and become choking hazard. They can become a strangulation hazard too when your baby wraps them around their neck.
  • Avoid teethers containing batteries as the batteries, battery cap or their screws can pop off and become choking hazard.
  • Avoid liquid-filled teethers as they can break when your baby bites them and release potentially unsafe liquid.
  • Look into materials and contents. Since it will be in your child’s mouth, you want to be absolutely sure it doesn’t include any toxic materials. Look for a teether that has no BPA, PVC, Phthalates, or toxic paints and check any for allergens or irritants.
  • Don’t let your baby play any toy in bed or unsupervised, this includes in the back of the car.
  • Look out for mold as mold flourishes in damp conditions, so teethers can be a breeding ground for them! Ensure to choose teethers that can be cleaned and disinfected easily.

Here are our best picks for baby teethers:

#1 Best-selling teethers

#2 Silicone teether

Comotomo Silicone Baby Teether - Blue - 17% OFF!!
Comotomo Silicone Baby Teether
*also available in orange

#3 Entertaining Teether

#4 Freezable Teether

#5 Toothbrush Teether

Marcus & Marcus | Baby Teething Toothbrush | Willo (Whale) - 10% OFF!!
Marcus & Marcus | Baby Teething Toothbrush
*also available in other designs

#6 Cloth Teether

Jellycat: Bashful Silver Bunny Soother (34cm)
Jellycat: Bashful Silver Bunny Soother
*also available in other colours and designs

#7 Food Teether

5 Sensory Play Activities for Your Little One

Sensory Play for Babies and Toddlers.

Sensory play is vital in your baby’s growth and development as it stimulates your baby’s sense of touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing. Not only that, it also helps in developing gross and fine motor skills. If you want to know more about sensory play and its benefits, you can read it in our previous post here. Sensory play is great for your little one to explore their senses, but one thing we all know about babies is that they like to put everything in their mouth and some things are unsafe for them. Hence, when you are thinking of doing sensory play for your baby, you want to ensure the activity is safe: taste-safe and not a choking hazard. Here are 5 fun sensory play activities that you can try for your little one.

#1 Edible Baby Sand

📷: Little Learning Club

What you need: Graham crackers and oatmeal

How to:

  1. Break about 25 pieces or so of graham crackers into smaller pieces
  2. Place them in a food processor or blender
  3. Do the same for 2 cups or so of oatmeal
  4. Mix the two together in a large container and ensure there are no large pieces of crackers
  5. Ready to play!

You may also want to hide some toys in the sand for a fun surprise for your little one.

#2 Exploring Temperature

A super simple activity to put together. All you need is two bottles – 1 filled with warm water and 1 filled with water and ice cubes. Then sit with your little one and introduce each bottle one by one and let your little one feel them and tell them what each one is. You may also want to encourage them to feel both at the same time!

#3 Rainbow Spaghetti

📷: The Imagination Tree

What you need: Cooked spaghetti, food colourings, and alphabet blocks

How to:

  1. Cooked spaghetti in a small pot
  2. Drain, toss, and add a couple teaspoons of oil and mix well
  3. Divide the spaghetti into five bowls
  4. Add food colouring to each one and mix well and leave to cool
  5. Once they are cooled, place all the coloured spaghettis in a container
  6. Add alphabet blocks for more fun
  7. Time to play!

For more fun:

  • Change the alphabets with numbers and ask your little one to search for them and name them one by one.
  • Ask them to find letters from their name or to spell out small, 3-letter words.

#4 Sensory Basket

Another easy activity to put together. All you need is a small basket and colourful, interesting objects. Ensure that the objects you put in have no sharp edges and no loose threads. You can also put in shiny and light-up objects such as metal measuring spoon set, a small handheld mirror, a large bouncy ball with lights in it. You can spice it up with anything you can find in the house, really!

Be sure to keep an eye on your little one while you’re playing with them.

#5 Mixed Beans & Peas In A Tub

Sorting and Sifting Sensory Tub

A fun and easy activity that can be enjoyed with the whole family. What you need: A medium size tub, spoons, scoops, cups, funnels, jars, and a mixture of dried beans, peas and lentils.

The best part is that this sensory tub can be re-used several times for future play experiences by storing the bean and peas mixture tub with a lid.

For more fun:

  • Scoop, sift, and pour the bean, pea and lentil mix.
  • Search for different colours and place them into different containers.
  • Layer different coloured beans, peas and lentils in the jars.

You may also want to conduct a little science experiment with your child by placing different beans, peas, and lentils onto a water soaked paper towel on a plate and watch what happens in next few days!

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.

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