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See posts about: // Isabelle // Parenting // Family //

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Sensory play: Ball drop

'Ball drop' maybe isn't the most eloquent name I could have given this activity, but at least it's
somewhat descriptive!

I decided this week to make Isabelle a small ball drop, using cardboard tubes from toilet roll and kitchen roll. I have seen similar activities online a lot, but never felt that Isabelle was ready to take part in this type of game until recently. Lately, she has been very much a fan of putting things 'in' other things. This started when her cousin showed her how to work one of her Christmas gifts by popping the balls in to the top. She had never shown any interest in it before - no matter how many times I modelled it - but he clearly has the touch as, since then, she has loved putting things into other things! We have a Lamaze toy which is entirely based around putting the balls into a pouch, and she never paid it any attention until recently, and now she adores it!

This activity is so easy to make, and you don't need to buy anything special (unless you don't use toilet roll I suppose!). I used 2 kitchen roll tubes and 2 toilet roll tubes to get us started. To make the whole thing look a bit more appealing, I used wrapping paper to cover the tubes, and hot glued them to a stiff piece of cardboard so they can be propped on a table easily. I suppose you could make it on a large piece of cardboard so it's free standing as well.

Once it was made, all we needed were some things to 'drop'. I didn't want too many items to overwhelm Isabelle, just a few was sufficient. I did want items of different shapes and sizes, and found that the kitchen roll tube was wider than the toilet roll tubes, so one of the balls from the game I mentioned above fits perfectly down the bigger tube, but not the smaller. This added a really interesting element to the game for Isabelle, as she had to figure out where the ball fitted, and so began to work on the concepts of size and how things fit together. I gathered up some fuzzy pom-poms, buttons, a Christmas bauble, a ball and a hair roller.

This game is amazing for hand eye coordination, and using the smaller items is also a great way of exercising pincer grip in babies. For older children, you could colour code the tubes and the drop items, so they have to match the correct colours, and you could offer them tools to pick up the items and transfer them to the tubes. For school age children, you could play this Alphabet Ping Pong version, from that ever wonderful site The Imagination Tree.

Overall, a simple game to put together, and something fun to keep her occupied for a few minutes at a time.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Review: Tots Bots v4 Nappy

Tots Bots are a huge name in the world of cloth nappies, and there are people out there who are addicted - collecting all the prints which can sell for crazy amounts of money. I tried Tots Bots all in one (Easyfit) out with Isabelle last year and I was not impressed at all. Despite the gorgeous designs, the nappy wasn't absorbent at all, and once she had outpeed it in just 5 minutes! So when I found out they were releasing new, improved versions of the Easyfit, I was pretty intrigued. Drawn back in by their gorgeous prints, I bought two new v4s to try out. So, what do I think?

Tots Bots v4 Easyfits

A birth to potty, all in one nappy, suitable from 8lbs-35lbs. They are adjusted using the front snaps (2x2 instead of the normal 3x3). The new Easyfits come with just a velcro fastening. The absorbent inner in the v4 is made of 'binky' - bamboo and minky. The core folds out to aid drying time, and it comes with a snap in binky booster too.

I always find velcro fastening nappies really easy to get a great fit around the waist, and these are no exception. Isabelle wears them unsnapped on the largest rise setting, and they fit her really well. I do think that when the booster was added in, the whole nappy was really bulky - much more so than other nappies. Since the old nappy was so slim, I was quite surprised at this.

Given my previous dealings with an Easyfit, I was dubious about how we'd get on. But I was pleasantly surprised. We haven't yet had a leak from these, and they last just as long as all our other nappies. I'm confident that the bamboo being brought back in to Easyfits is entirely the cause of their increased absorbency, and it works really well for us. Solids containment has yet to be tested!

Ease of use:
As it's a velcro fastening, these are as simple as anything to pop on her bum. It is a bit of a faff having to pull the core out, and detach the booster each time I wash the nappy, however. I also don't find the laundry tabs easy to use at all on Easyfits. The velcro tab literally doubles over on itself, and I personally don't think this works well, and makes it a little trickier to get the tab to stick down firmly.

Appearance and quality:
I love the Tots Bots prints. They are bright, quirky, and generally just really lovely. The new v4s are all nursery rhyme themed, and I bought Incy Wincy and Sixpence, both of which I adore. They are definitely cute on her bum! The quality is also really good, and the materials all feel great, and seem durable.

£16.99 - all in ones tend to be expensive, but I do think that Tots Bots are a little more expensive than they should be.

Bug bears:
This nappy is supposed to be an all in one, yet I have to add a stay dry liner as I don't like Isabelle having moisture next to her skin, so I personally would like a stay dry inner. I hate having to add something to a nappy which is supposed to be all there. The laundry tab issue I mentioned is also a pain, I think it's a personal preference, but I just don't like their tabs.

The new binky V4 Easyfits get 4/5 from me. They are much more absorbent than their predecessor, and work well for us and are absolutely gorgeous, but they are expensive, and I do have a few niggles which stop it getting higher marks.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

A year of Isabelle: in pictures

Never in my life have I taken as many pictures as I have in the last 50 weeks since Isabelle's arrival! I have heard it said many times that you take thousands of your first born, and hardly any of the poor babies who come next, so I am definitely living up to the first part. Thank heavens for the invention of the camera phone, which has allowed me to capture some of my favourite times with isabelle at the drop of a hat. No, they aren't the best pictures you'll ever see, but it's the hundreds of iPhone photos I have of Isabelle which are definitely my favourite.

As we are closing in on her birthday I find myself looking back at the pictures, and marvelling at how this time last year she was still in my tummy, as I rapidly approached - and then passed - my due date. As part of my birthday celebrations for Isabelle, here are some pictures documenting the last 12 months of's worth a look just to marvel at her hair's progress! **warning: photo overload!**


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