What do babies really want for Christmas.
December 9, 2011 11:49 AM   Subscribe

My 10 month old daughter is at the age where she will be more interested in ripping up wrapping paper than the gifts she will get this Christmas. So, in that spirit, what baby-safe things can I set up for her that she'll really want on the 25th, messes be damned?

It's my daughter's first Christmas, so I'd like to spend it doing things she really enjoys. What she really loves right now is to shred and crumple paper, to chew on small cardboard boxes, and to eat whatever I am eating.

I might give her a pot to bang on or fill the living room with mylar balloons (she likes to punch and kick them; the ribbons will be out of reach or removed, though). I also have a roll of unbleached paper for her to destroy (and then recycle). She will be supervised the whole day, of course, but we'd like to keep it baby safe as much as possible.

In addition, we'll be taking her to the neighborhood indoor pool for a swim and possibly for visit with a friend's wiener dog. She loves cuddling and petting that dog so, so much.

So what else can we do for her that she'll enjoy? She has a habit of trying to chew on everything, so that complicates keeping it safe.
posted by Alison to Grab Bag (18 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Take a few glass baby food jars and fill them with different colored things that will make good noise when rattled. One could be full of colorful beads, another could have three or four small bells, another could have one larger bell, etc. Baby food jars can be closed really tightly, or if you're extra-paranoid you can glue them shut. (The thick glass is really sturdy -- my guy rattled those things like a maniac forever, dropped them repeatedly, etc, and none ever opened or broke.)

Also, how about setting up a pudding play station for her? Like, fill the entire tray of her high chair, or a cookie sheet on the dining room table, up to the brim with pudding and let her go wild smearing it all over. Yay!
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:53 AM on December 9, 2011

What a nice idea. I think visiting the party and office supplies section of Target or the grocery store would be a gold mine -- those rolls of crepe-y ribbon for decorating, bags of bows....Post-Its. Also, toilet paper rolls. A box of Kleenex. Great fun to pull them out one by one and scatter them all over.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:55 AM on December 9, 2011

Depending on how likely she is to put these in her mouth - cotton balls. You could scatter them all over, beneath the tree.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:56 AM on December 9, 2011

The year my niece climbed and played in the big boxes full of packing peanuts is still one of my favorite Christmases. She was past the "put everything in her mouth" stage, though, so this might not be an option til next year for you.
posted by MsMolly at 12:06 PM on December 9, 2011

Best answer: This is the best idea ever. We may have to do this now.

Blowing bubbles. At my son's daycare they will all crowd around in rapt attention at bubbles. They don't taste good but they're not toxic.

They also enjoy capped empty water bottles with stuff inside--feathers, beads, glitter.

A largeish container full of water. Maybe set in the (dry) tub? Splashy! Or a bath with TONS of bubble bath.

Diaper wipes or kleenex--the types that pop out of the box when you pull one out.

Another thing that seems universally popular is cell phones. If you can find one that is very dead, clean it, and remove the battery so she can't call Timbuktu, she might enjoy that.
posted by tchemgrrl at 12:09 PM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

My son, though a bit younger during his first Christmas, received a wrapped up bottle full of formula.
posted by bfranklin at 12:23 PM on December 9, 2011

An old school jack in the box was a big hit for my kiddo at that age. And actually for the year or so past, as winding the little crank is a nice small-scale coordination thing.
posted by H. Roark at 12:28 PM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Friends whose child loved Kleenex gave him a jumbo box for his birthday and let him pull all of them out. He was in heaven. Although I am guessing they had to keep the real boxes put away for a long time so he didn't think it was an everyday thing!
posted by maxg94 at 12:34 PM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If I could do my daughter's first Chrismas over again, I'd have gotten her a great big plastic bin, wrapped in crinkly, colorful wrapping paper, and I'd have filled it with other, smaller plastic bin things also wrapped in crinkly, colorful wrapping paper, and not much of anything else. I'd tell her it was christmas and let her tear wrapping paper and bang things together to her heart's content and leave it at that.

Really, she didn't care about anything other than tearing paper and making noise by banging things together at that point. Why not get her exactly what she wants?
posted by mhoye at 12:36 PM on December 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: My son, 11 months young, does a surprising number of awesome activities at daycare. He also puts everything he can into his mouth. Here's some of his favorite activities:

Get a clear piece of contact paper and lay it sticky side up, but tape it down. Get different colors of tissue paper (or equivalent) and tear them up and place into a pile. Let your daughter pick up shreds of tissue paper and put them on the contact paper. She'll be (at the very least) interested in the stickiness of the contact paper. You'll then have an art memento of the day.

Get some large-ish boxes and make a house (fort?). Flip a box over and cut a door and window in it. Play.

Feet paint! Tape some paper on a wall and have your daughter lie down so that her feet can touch the paper. Fill a basin with paint and put her feet in it, then let her paint away! You could also finger paint, but that's for non-Christmas days.

In addition to what BlahLaLa suggested, my son loved when we gave him a clear, large deli container (example) half filled with coffee beans (you could also use beans or rice or whatever you have). He could shake it, bang on it, roll it, whatever.

Also in addition to BlahLaLa's suggestion, make a texture station. Get a rimmed baking sheet and put ice cubes, homemade slime, homemade silly putty, water, pudding, etc in it and let your daughter get messy.

I hope that you have lots of fun!
posted by photovox at 12:37 PM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

My baby is almost the same age! Water came to my mind, too, as tchemgrrl suggested. A tray full of Cheerios that she can pound on and watch the Cheerios fly every which way, and eat some -- maybe even the sugary multicolored ones, since it's Christmas and they will be prettier. Things that make a variety of noises -- my baby is really into jingly noises for some reason. (I would not use baby food jars as BlahLaLa suggested -- apparently I'm more destructive than BlahLaLa's baby, but I have broken those my dropping them!)

No matter what you do... don't forget the camera!
posted by chickenmagazine at 1:01 PM on December 9, 2011

I remember mine liking shiny silver crinkly sounding cellophane a lot around that age.
posted by mgogol at 1:18 PM on December 9, 2011

Mine at that age loved playing in the tupperware cabinet.
posted by flex at 1:57 PM on December 9, 2011

Not that I actually remember the event, but for my first Christmas, I was 9.5 months and got a six foot long toboggan. My younger siblings and I still use it almost thirty years later.
posted by Brian Puccio at 5:10 PM on December 9, 2011

For my son's 1st birthday I gave him a box of tissues and let him pull them all out of the box and throw them everywhere. It was the greatest thing ever as far as he was concerned.
posted by katers890 at 5:29 PM on December 9, 2011

When my niece was a baby, her idea of unwrapping presents was pulling on the tail end of a bow until it came undone, laughing and clapping at her own ingenuity, and moving on to the next box. We spent most of a Christmas morning re-bowing boxes because she was having so much fun untying them.
posted by dogmom at 10:14 PM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

In our family the classic Christmas present when the child closest to 12 months is a large pot and some plastic and wooden spoons. These belong to the kids (marked with tape or permanent marker so Mom doesn't appropriate them) and can get used in the bath or for pretend play for a quite a few years.
posted by metahawk at 10:15 PM on December 9, 2011

Response by poster: We had a great Christmas! My daughter ripped up lots of wrapping paper, made tissue paper art, pulled down streamers that we taped to doorways and went swimming. We also had a balloon drop, but that didn't go over too well because she is not used to things coming out of the ceiling.

Thanks so much! Her birthday is coming up, so I'm saving a few of these ideas for that day. We're also probably going to be looking back at this all year.
posted by Alison at 7:26 PM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

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