A few weeks ago I arrived at the office with a baby, diapers, formula, wipes, change of clothes, pacifier, and absolutely no baby toys for her to play with. This meant that baby M was stuck for 6-7 hours in a room with nothing to do other than sit on my lap, and while that was good for some of the time, not all of it.
So here are some of the things as an IT manager working in an office I managed to cobble together for her to play with.
Improvisational baby toys
So your first step is to look at everything in a new light. The first pass looking at something is how can this harm my baby, assuming it can’t the next is is this capable of sound, texture, chewing, or dangle/whacky toy?
The second step is to not leave the baby when you’re dealing with these toys you make. These were all supervised improvisations.
I had a bottle of vitamins that were down to one. Emptied the bottle out, put in a couple of random things on my desk that made noise, sealed it back with the child-proof cap, grabbed some gaffer/duct tape and fashioned a handle, and bam. Baby rattle.
For this I used a CAT-5 (or CAT-6, not really sure,) network cable and secured it at the legs of the baby fight pit. I now had a safe crossing line for baby that was roughly seven inches above where she could reach.
This didn’t really matter if she grabbed it, I was right there in the office for this, and even if she did there’s next to no damage a baby can do to network cable or vice versa.
Safety Squishy stress relieving ball became toy #1. Hung up above her head using the above network cable as a cross beam and some string tied in a harness fashion.
Luggage tag swag became thing number two – it just clipped and was good for batting at.
Plastic slinky secured way out of reach I put a line of tape down to where she could grab the line and shake the slinky but never get to the slinky.
Sound / texture:
Luckily I have a package of Kirkland Baby Wipes that Maggie loves. The packaging is very krinkly.
Her changing mat became something she could run her Wolverine claws over.
I did not actually make her a chewing toy, nor would I have – I’d have just bailed to the Kroger nearby and purchased something, but the world is a baby’s chewtoy. While changing her she grabbed a canvas bag and went to town before I managed to get it out of her face.
This is all dangerous stuff
None of the things I made would I trust her with out of sight, I’ll point that out, my goal was to rig a happy baby playpen so I could sit next to her and get some work done. This succeeded with me watching her constantly. Make sure with whatever you improvise you figure out the least likely scenario, aka the one that hurts the baby, and assume that they’ll manage to go down that path.
Ideas for other things
Cardboard tube from paper towels/toilet paper to make a whacky toy.