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Real Talk / Real Moms: Play


First and foremost, the classes Jackson takes are the best investment. They get him interacting with other littles, he gets to see them doing certain things he hasn’t done and then tries it, and most importantly gets him out of the house. Each week we go to music, story time at our local library, toddler play, and now that he’s a little older there is a class called messy play – yes, we have a class where he can go wild with paint, water, spaghetti, you name it. I thank DayOne everyday for this class because it saves my house from getting messy!

Watching Jackson learn and develop in front of me is probably one of the most amazing things I’ve experienced. Seeing him figure something out and light up inside (plus get our approval) is truly incredible. Although now when he does something (like put a ball in the basketball hoop) he claps for himself, so maybe we give him a little too much confidence.

Here are a few of my favorite toys & activities we loved for different ages:

Newborn to 3 Months

This stage is more about sensory and eye contact. Soft books that make sounds, mobiles, rattles, and a mirror were our favorites.

3 – 6 Months

There is that ah-ha moment when your little discovers how much fun it is to use their own hands to reach for things. This was when we could let him play with an activity bar for quite awhile – it entertained him for enough time one could actually change (I’d say that’s a bonus!). We started reading to Jackson every single night from when he was a newborn but at 3 months we transitioned him into his own room and created a nighttime routine, this entailed reading one book before bed. At this age (and still today) he loves board books. They are easy to flip and are delicious to chew one.

6 – 9 Months

These three months for me went by way too quickly. He went from sitting, to crawling, to standing in no time. It’s as though you blink and poof they suddenly skip over to this little kid. For me the sitting and playing stage only lasted 3 weeks…this was my favorite stage because they can play but not move. But seeing him realize that he can go places was pretty incredible. He was entertained by books, blocks, his Fisher Price activity walker, and balls. One of Jackson’s favorite games at this age was peak-a-boo. He would put any blanket over his head to start it himself. By far our favorite game still at 16 months old.

9 – 12 Months

The mobile stage – is a game changer. Since Jackson was so active, in our baby play class the teacher suggested doing little obstacles. Giving him a cardboard box to climb into to see if he could get out. Some of his favorite toys were not toys – bowls, water bottles, spoons, boxes, measuring cups – you don’t have to have a huge amount of toys because it’s the non-toys that Jackson always wants to play with.

12 – 15 Months

Boy has the past four months been a blast. Once Jackson got really confident with walking it’s changed the way he’s been able to explore. He can walk the Discovery Museum and Academy of Sciences (two of our favorite places), we build things, shoot hoops, and talk to his animals. This stage has been such fun and I know it’s going to continue to be.

Now, one last thing we do each evening that’s part of our bedtime routine – naked time. After his nightly bath we both sit in his room with him for 10-20 minutes as he runs around (naked) and plays with his books, basketball and animals. It is his favorite time of the night, plus it tires him out for bed!

There are so many different ways to play with your kid at every age. Be sure to check out how these fabulous other moms play with their kiddos:

And you can also check out our past Real Moms posts on sleeping, being a working mom, self-care and travel here!

Photo by Claire Giffen


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