Beginning to crawl is such a magical time for a little baby - it's the first time I think a lot of kids realise that they're separate from their mother, their first big move to independence. I didn't really appreciate it with Vinnie - too busy watching my whole house suddenly turn into a potential death trap - but looking back it was a really special time, watching him explore movements, test his strength and surprise himself as he slid backwards under the sofa a lot!
I put together a little selection of toys for the baby I mind, to help her explore and encourage her first movements. I wanted things she would be able to manipulate herself, that would spark her interest and give her something to reach for, move towards and even frustrate a little as it rolled away and she would have to work to reach it again.
I set out some tennis balls, which are a lovely tactile experience and great for working on that whole hand grasp that babies start with (not long before they're picking up specks of dust from the floor!) and one of our Discovery Jars filled with plastic beads (and a couple of googly eyes it seems) - this was great as it rolled, rattled and looked colourful too.
I also made this 'rolling stick' (yep, that's what I'm sticking with!) out of a cardboard tube and some coloured thread. I used a tube from some kitchen foil as they're sturdier than TP rolls and therefore last (slightly) longer with a baby around. I punched a bunch of holes, threaded my ribbon twine through and knotted it on the insides to stop it sliding out.
Then my baby friend just rolls it about, graps at the twiney bits, oohs and aahs at the colours and practises her movements in reaching, rolling and having fun!
p.s. I'll still get at least one negative comment from someone on Pinterest but just to say - this is a toy for supervised play only. It doesn't have a kitemark or any fancy testing, it'll probably only last one or two playtimes and there is no guarantee your kid would like it. Thanks anyway.