I've come to realize something, which is that babies are not truly fans of toys. This is a bit astounding considering the billions of dollars poured into the industry to make us believe that toys are, in fact all young children want.
What children really crave is experience. First-hand, multi-sensory, and the messier the better. Little monsters will get their hands on anything they can, especially something they see us touching. At 1 year old, some of my son's favorite toys have been the following:
- People, especially other, older kids. There is no better toy on earth than other people. Mama and Papa are the guides, the center of the universe. It's already more than clear that everything we do is seen and everything we say is heard.
- Doors and boxes. Open, close, repeat.
- Plants and flowers: My son talks to them, about them, touches them and marvels at them.
- Any kind of brush with bristles: The crumb brush, nail brush, hair brush, makeup brush. All besties.
- Books, and not even kid ones necessarily. Magazines, catalogs, in any language, the more pictures the better. All served as pretty decent for distraction while I'm on the phone.
- Water, if we're willing to let him make a mess.
- Lastly, and this one seems to know no bounds, is the salad spinner. My kid's interest in this thing just keeps on giving. Has enabled many a meal to be made at the last minute.