BEST BOOKS & GIFTS
FOR 6 MONTH OLDS
These fabulous little books are made of a strong paper-like material similar to that used in some postal mailers. They are small "paper" books that babies can grab, slobber on, and chew without choking, or worse, without destroying the book! Alas these were not available when my first son was born, but my second son, Henry, LOVES them! Henry loves to grab paper, and he is very good at it - I couldn't find my boarding pass as we were getting on a plane, turns out it was in Henry's mouth. Unfortunately paper, boarding passes included, are choking hazards, Henry started to gag and the boarding pass remnants were quickly finger swept out. He cried only for a moment, because I grabbed an Indestructible out of my purse and all was well. He still had fun crinkly paper to play with and I didn't have to worry about him dying.
The artwork used in these books are very colorful and full of contrast. None of the books have words in them, this is a benefit to many who like to make up their own stories or simply point to things in the pictures. I, however, am not always feeling that creative so my favorite Indestructibles are the ones that illustrate nursery rhymes because then I always have something to say. They currently retail for $4.95 each (a bargain in the baby book world) and are available nearly everywhere books are sold, except the grocery store, which sells books now too I suppose (but not Indestructibles).
To parents of six-month-olds this might seem rather obvious, but I have learned that adults quickly forget what babies play with and are often at a loss of what to give as presents. Of course not all rattles are equal. The plastic rattles you can get almost anywhere aren't bad, but they aren't the rattles Oscar or Henry reached for the most.
Henry's favorite rattle is about as classic as they come, in fact it's official marketing title is Standard Bell Rattle. His brother picked it out for him before he was born. Currently Henry enjoys not only it's tinkling bell rattle, but also it's ability to be a drum stick and a teething toy all in one go. The paint has yet to chip and I feel totally safe that he isn't going to end up with little bits of wood in his gums This rattle is so well made I'm pretty sure that Henry will be able to give it to his own children. Maple Landmark, the company that made his rattle, makes numerous rattles in many shapes and sizes.
Both of my sons loved and love the natural rubber teether toy Sophie the Giraffe by Vulli.In addition to inheriting his older brother's Sophie, Henry was blessed with an additional rubber teether toy by Vulli called Chan Pie Gnon Blue, which looks like an alien boob; he loves it, and yes, I do breast feed. There is something about the texture of the rubber that my children love, I'm really glad we got them as gifts, they are appreciated. Vulli natural rubber teethers are available many many places, but I put in links to YoYo.com because I know they have good customer service.
String-Alongs Board Books
Chronicle Books makes two different sets of small shaped board books with holes in the middle through which you can put a string (or shoelace really). They are books, beads, and little blocks all in one. These books have a fabulous slick texture that both of my children LOVE. We have multiple little board books, but these are by far their favorites. I taught Oscar the shapes using the Moma String-Alongs set and currently Henry loves to eat the little books as well as play with them as a rattle when they are all strung together in a circle. Oscar still loves to open the books up, peer through their holes, and pretend that he is wearing fancy glasses. This year Chronicle came out with an Eric Carle String-Alongs set. We don't own it, but it sure looks cute!
At six months Henry cannot stack or nest our blocks, but he can grab them easily and surprisingly the cardboard is not harmed by his slobber. The nice thing about the nesting blocks, rather than cups, is that they will be enjoyed for years and years to come. Oscar, at three and a half, is just conquering the art of stacking them in the correct order and as ours are colored with bright graphics, numbers, and letters, we've been using them for number recognition as well. In addition to their traditional uses, they make excellent multi-story garages for little cars and are fairly decent toy containers. I advocate cardboard over wood because they don't hurt if they fall down on you. The set we have is rather expensive ($25), but it is worth it. Avoid Melissa & Doug versions, they look great but the quality is awful - they probably would not be able to withstand the drool.
I apologize for being unable to rotate the photos below - it's a problem on my computer I need to fix.