Infant Toys and Rattles

Baby toys are not just for entertainment. Babies respond to sounds and follow the path of the rattle with their eyes which give infants a sense of discovery as they grab, chew on and hold on to their rattle. Baby rattles help infants through their teething stage when teeth grow through the gums. Rattles also assist in the development of a baby's motor skills, hand-eye coordination and provide a good source of stimulation for sensory development. Modern rattles and teethers are generally made of wood, plastic or cloth. Rattles are usually brightly colored and make sounds when shaken. Some baby rattles incorporate musical tones and other sounds like jingling bells.

Use of baby rattles and toys date back at least 2,500 years. Historians unearthed a baby rattle in Poland that dates back to the early Iron Age Lusatian culture. The clay rattle was pillow shaped with tiny balls inside to make noise.

Ancient rattles were made of a variety of materials:

  • Clay
  • Wood
  • Bronze
  • Dried poppy flowers heads
  • Pebbles
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Ocean Coral

Some Colonial Americans constructed elaborate gold and silver baby rattles with bells, whistles with teething extensions made of coral.

Rattles come in a variety of shapes including:

  • Spheres
  • Flowers
  • Boxes
  • Sets of Keys
  • Hoops with sliding beads
  • Animals: owls, pigs, cats, dogs, birds

View an ancient Greek Terracotta Dog Rattle.

Materials To Keep On Hand

Paper Trivia: Did you know that you can only fold a sheet of printer paper in half seven times? Give it a try. It doesn't matter how thick or thin the paper is, once you get to the seventh fold, the paper will not bend or budge.

Sun catchers. To create a translucent, stained glass ornaments effect, apply a bit of lemon oil to the back sides of paper ornaments to create a.

Hang the ornaments on trees, in windows, anywhere bright colorful decorations are desired.

Construct a large paper-tree for the wall with shades of green construction paper. Draw a large tree on a sheet of easel pad paper to tack onto a wall or other flat surface, then decorate with paper ornaments.

  • Types of Paper:
    • Construction - many colors
    • Copier - many colors
    • Tissue
    • Crepe
    • Cardboard
    • Cardstock - many colors
    • Tracing
    • Water-color
    • Drawing
    • Onionskin
    • Paper tubes - TP tissue, paper towel and gift-wrap
    • Foam craft sheets - many colors
    • Magnet sheets - Make refrigerator magnets
    • Stiff Stencil - Paint repeating patterns on items, embroidery, latch-hook rug patterns
    • Felt sheets - Make filled or layered ornaments
  • Some Mediums & Tools to keep handy for the creative process.
    • Colorful Markers - fine to thick point
    • Wax Crayons - stock up around school sales
    • Water color sets - and plastic tablecloths
    • Chalk - many colors
    • Colored pencils - many colors
    • Tempura finger paints - primary colors - mixing to discover is half the fun
    • Paint brushes - fine tip to standard school size child's brush size at least.
    • Straws - paper not plastic
    • Tooth picks - age appropriate
    • Sponges - cut into shapes or purchase for blotting paint shapes
    • Needlepoint, embroidery thread and stretcher hoops
    • Puffy paint and glitter - to draw words, images and shapes on cloth
    • Wine corks
    • Celluclay - A handy pulverized paper product that resembles clay for paper mache'
    • Modeling clay - reusable, come in colors, good for making molds
    • Pottery clay - Only if you expect to use a kiln
    • Silicon molds and release spray
    • Wooden shapes - to paint for ornaments and gifts
    • Decal sheets for window decals
    • Cloth scrap pieces left overs from sewing
    • Clay modeling tools - ll sorts, combs, forks, dental picks, anything to make interesting cuts and patterns
    • Plain tee shirts