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I’m a Mum who works from home. This means that despite my best efforts there are times that I need my daughter to be occupied. Also, I am trying to exercise everyday now. This means I need somewhere safe to leave my daughter while I look after myself too. Self care is really important, especially as a parent. My daughter has reflux which means she can sometimes be grizzly for entire days. Add in teething, fussiness, being clingy and all those usual baby milestones and the days can be long sometimes. Being able to put my lovely daughter down, to play safely, while I enjoy a cup of hot tea or a shower is much needed on such days. Today I am going to tell you how to organise your babies playpen – based on my own experiences.
This is the playpen that Daisy uses:
It is from Summer infant and lots of people ask me about it. There is lots of room for Daisy to explore the playpen and it is safe too. She doesn’t injure herself if she falls over and she can lick the side to her hearts content!
I love the shape of this Summer Infant Playpen. Because it is a hexagon it can be moved around our living area easily. It fits in to lots of different areas and we can always walk down the side of it too. It just offers so much more space than a small four sided one we first looked at, that was similarly priced too. We have a hexagon blanket placed underneath ours to keep it soft and comfortable for Daisy – plus she has a Frozen playmat inside too!
Rotate toys frequently when you organise your babies playpen
Any parent will know how many toys a little one can receive. Our daughter is not even one yet and she has had £100s of toys. We are really grateful, of course, but we also want to ensure Daisy plays with them all. Regular rotation, usually at least once a week, is a great way to achieve this. Some items remain in her playpen for more than one rotation, but when we rotate her toys she loves having something ‘new’ to play with. When I switch new toys in I like to ensure that they are clean. Daisy is a reflux baby which means lots of spit up and dribble – nobody wants to play with a toy covered in old sick!
Have lots of variety when you organise your babies playpen
We like to have lots of different textures and styles of toys. You don’t need to spend a lot of money – there is nothing wrong with toys from the charity shop! If you’re worried about cleanliness then you can use a steam cleaner to clean toys (this is my preferred one). A lot of soft toys can be sponged clean or even go in the washing machine.
I like to have musical toys around the edge, then a little further in I have cuddly toys, books and other interesting musical toys. I try and make sure that the entire outside is covered with different toys. Daisy’s playpen can be a little busy at times because she has so many toys but it can keep her occupied for absolutely ages if I need it to!
Our current favourite toys in Daisy’s playpen
At Christmas Daisy was fortunate to receive a vast array of toys. Some of these have become firm favourites. Also, we have some older items that we still rotate into her playpen regularly. Here are a selection of her favourite toys – and ours:
Daisy loves this teether. She has had it since she was a tiny baby and it almost never leaves when we organise the playpen. Daisy loves it and will use it regularly throughout the day to ease her teething pain. With several teeth coming in at once now this is a must have for us!
Daisy received this toy, and a much much larger version for Christmas. She loves them, especially the larger one. Upsa-Daisy is a character from Daisy’s favourite Cbeebies show (In The Night Garden) and she has great fun with this. Also, it is something soft to lay on and her clothes are textured too which is great for sensory play.
Grandma got this for Daisy for Christmas. She absolutely loves it. Already she has learned to press the buttons and then sit back and listen to the song. I love the recording feature and am regularly recording messages for Daisy which the Beat-Bo then turns into songs.
I love this Pop & Play elephant from V-Tech and wanted it for Daisy before she was even born. We got ours in the Toys R Us sale and it is great fun!
Other great (cheap!) toy ideas when you organise your babies playpen
Activity Cube with mirror – This is great for little ones to look at themselves. Also, there are lots of different activities and textures on this.
I love hanging toys in the playpen. They encourage Daisy to stand up, and to pull them off. This helps her strength and she has mastered removing most toys now!
Maracas / Bells – I don’t leave unsupervised with these but we play with them together when she is in the playpen. Most of the playing consists of me dancing around with the bells and maracas – she finds this hilarious! These are super cheap but you’ll have to wait a few weeks for delivery, at least.
Stacking cups – These are great for helping with coordination. Daisy isn’t good with stacking cups yet but she has great fun with them anyway!
Bead maze – This reminds me of the doctors! This is probably not a good thing. Regardless Daisy absolutely loved this when she opened it on Christmas Day (a slightly different one). She can move the beads along the maze and really enjoys playing with it. Also, she can roll it along the floor and have lots of fun with it.
Drum – Who doesn’t love a bit of noise? It is great for little ones to learn that their hand hitting the object makes a sound. I love watching Daisy figure out musical instruments!
Flip / Textured books – These are ideal for entertaining little ones on the cheap. You can take this out in the pram toy so it has a dual purpose.
Exercise common sense when it comes to your babies playpen. Ensure that toys are age appropriate, do not have sharp edges and check regularly for loose seams, loose parts or anything that could be hazardous. As you might leave the room for a few minutes (shower, toilet, hot cup of tea) you need to be comfortable with the toys within your playpen. For example when I bought my daughter the In The Night Garden train I ensured that the string was not long enough that she could injure herself. I always make sure that batteries within toys are firmly fixed in place, ideally behind a screwed panel. Also, I don’t leave my daughter alone with some of her more energetic toys – such as this set of bells!
If you can’t afford a playpen, or don’t have space, never fear. You can use soft mats and foam tiles to create a safe cheap play area. You could even use your sofa and some of the cushions to create a little padded area for your baby. Spending a fortune on your little one isn’t always necessary. Charity shops are a great place for finding children’s toys and clothes too. Also, when your little one is a similar age to mine, 10 minutes, they don’t know any different. You can use household objects to play together and have great fun.
The main thing is being together, cuddling your baby and stimulating their brain. While bright coloured plastic toys help with this they really aren’t necessary. If you’re struggling financially your child doesn’t care if their toys are new or not. Also – I’m a big fan of making money online as I work for myself full-time. You can earn some extra cash by joining some of my favourite websites for making money online.
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