Play is one of the most important activities in the children's lives. As important as eating and sleeping. You'll never leave your baby hungry, right? You'll be always worried if your baby spent some hours less in sleeping, right? Therefore, playing is a must that should never be skipped, not a single day.
Sometimes play is easy and fun. Sometimes play is hard for the sweetheart trying to do something right. Like learning colors and matching shapes. The classic wooden puzzle helps for this early learning skills. It has usually between 5 and 10 different shaped blocks to teach shape recognition (circle, triangle, square, rectangle, diamond, cross, star, oval, pentagon). This type of play is essential for the tactile skills of the 12+ months old little (still) babies. Moreover, it encourages memory, hand-eye, fine motor and creative expression skills.
Every mom has a preferable brand of specific plays (puzzles, books, pushing toys, etc.). From all kinds and brands of puzzles and boards, I love all of Melissa and Doug's products with no exceptions. It looks this company really thinks about children's needs when designing their games and plays. Everything is in vibrant colors that catch the curious little eyes. The pieces are chunky and easy-to-hold and manipulate with the small hands. I like also the simplicity and educational value - the point is clear - to be learned colors and shapes. The best part (for the parents) is the exceptional quality - safety for babies and durable for the money paid (you know, I prefer to pay a little more, but more time-and-teething-and-crashing sustainable). A bonus - it's entertaining enough for the kid to play alone for about 30 minutes. Alone! Which means mommy or daddy has about 30 minutes to do something besides taking care and making fun of the little one. :-)
Not that I want to sound as making an advertisement to M&D toys. It's just my favorite brand which also give credits to Montessori early learning methods based on everyday life. However, any other brand puzzle shape board will do the same role for this awesome 1st birthday baby gift which I am going to share with you now.
Making the shape puzzle, even more challenging
How about making the shape board puzzle even more challenging and entertaining for the little ones? And make this great 1st birthday baby gift or just reuse the old one (if the toddler already conquered all the shapes and colors ) as a fun way to learn family members as well.
When I saw this idea, I was like "Why didn't I think of that before!". I felt envy for the creative DIY gift idea and inspired to reuse my daughter's boards into something new and engaging. A puzzle picture frame! Ingenious!
Sounds complicated, but actually is a very simple to be done. There a few reasons why I fell in love with this idea - immediately:
- it's simple. (and as I said, I love simplicity)
- it's personalized
- it's thoughtful
- it involves printed pictures (for those who know me - I stick to paper photos and always print dozens of them - there's no other feeling like turning the pages of the photo album and remembering the best moments caught on camera.... even when you're not with your most glamorous look.)
- it gives a chance to reuse a puzzle which your kid isn't very interested in anymore.
- it's not expensive, but valuable. (which always makes sense, right? )
Easy! First, you'll need a puzzle board (like this Mellisa & Doug puzzle).
And photos. Count the number of pieces (knobs of the puzzle) and pick the photos so that they fit into the shapes. Obviously, the images should be recognizable when cut and glued into the holes?
Optional you can set a theme for the photos - like immediate family, baby’s playmates, pets, different emotions, names, etc.
Print the photos. Any cell phones will do just fine - the shape holes are not large. Of course, if you choose the Melissa & Doug Large Shapes Jumbo Puzzle with extra-large knobs, it will be easier for you. Otherwise, it would be exhaustingly tricky the next step with cutting...
For the cutting, you'll need small scissors & pencil. Just trace the puzzle piece directly on the photo and then cut along your trace line. Once you’ve cut all the photos, set them in the spaces and make sure you are happy with the final layout. Glue the cut photos directly to the puzzle spaces . Be sure that the glue isn't too much and it's dried out before attempting to insert the puzzle piece into space. As a final touch, I recommend applying a polish so the pictures won't be burnt out after many hours of touching the images and playing with the photo frame puzzle board.
Awesome DIY baby gift idea
If you are still thinking about it, I’ll tell you that…
this 1st birthday baby gift is attractive and will be appreciated from the deepest. It will cost you no more than $ 25 (with the birthday wrapping!). And the baby will go crazy giggling trying to guess who's under the circle piece.
P.S. Parents need to know that the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages media (television viewing, video games, etc.) for babies under age 2, in part because it takes away time that babies spend interacting with adults. The toys should be the tools to enhance child and adult interaction. Even if you choose a video, software, baby channel, interactive dolls and other playing and singing toys, then prefer those which doesn't "talk" directly to the child -- the parent or caregiver must generate the interaction, to comment and explain everything about what's happening on the screen. End.
This 1st birthday baby gift idea is inspired by Jodie from Love Them Madly. We love you madly too, Jodie!