After having 3 babies and being around them on a regular basis for over 6 years, I can honestly say that the OBall is hands down my favourite baby toy. So much so that it is one of my go-to gifts for baby showers and birthday gifts.
That may surprise some of you since it’s no secret I am a huge fan of wooden toys and all things handmade. But the OBall makes up for being made out of plastic and bought from a shop in spades by being so darn popular with the baby crowd! How can you compete with something that is easy to grab, only makes a soft noise, is easy to clean, bends but not breaks, bounces, can be chewed on, is small enough to take anywhere yet big enough not to lose and will be played with for years to come? You can’t!
The best thing about the OBall though is that it’s the perfect starting point for many a heuristic play activity for baby. And one of our favourites is eloquently called “stuff the OBall”. You guessed it, it’s where we stuff the OBall with stuff. Scroll down to read more!
Editor’s note: this is not a sponsored post, just a happy OBall owner’s tale of fun!
Stuff the OBall, a Heuristic Play Activity for Baby
Heuristic play, in a nutshell, is where you let children explore and play with everyday (non-toy) items.
Once babies start to move, they can get really excited about discovering the world. They can’t wait to get their little hands on everything and put it straight into their mouth for a dedicated suck or a good old chew. You have got to love this stage.
With my first baby I was in a state of constant panic trying to keep my floors clean and baby proof my house. With my third child, there is no such thing. The older two sprinkle food and toys around the house like it’s an Olympic sport and all I can do is educate them on what we call “baby safety rules” and hope for the best. True story.
But in the chaos of family life I do try to provide my littlest baby with fun, exciting and safe learning experiences. This OBall activity is one of those exploration games that combines a classic toys with heuristic play elements.
We love heuristic play because it gives children the opportunity to explore everyday items in a safe way. The variation of size, structure, texture, smell and quite possibly taste will give the brain a lot more complex array of stimuli to play with than a bland collection of plastic toys.
Stuffing the OBall will help you change things up a bit. I promise you the baby will like it and even the older kids will want to explore!
What’s in the OBall?
Let’s have a look. Basically it comes down to whatever toys you have lying around the house that are big enough to be safe for baby and small enough so you can push them through the OBall holes. I have also tried to provide a variety of items that would excite all senses.
Here’s what we’ve come with: finger puppets, screws from the building set, Teletubbies (they have a little bell in them), Dora’s bracelet, play food and play kitchen items, wooden farm bits and pieces, little animals, felt bags we made ourselves and fabric scraps from our mini play mat kit.
Now, this is where you need to decide for yourself what you feel is a safe item to stuff in your OBall. Let’s just say the opinions vary greatly. The main thing is that we’re all on the same page: we want to keep children safe first and foremost, next we want to provide them with exciting and new out-of-the-box learning experiences. So you can get creative in sourcing your own items you feel perfectly comfortable.
Here’s a little video I made about our OBall experience.
More OBall Fun
Since so many people have asked me about the OBall, I’ve added a handy little list of fun OBall items that you might want to have a look at for curiosity’s sake.
There are SO many OBall variations, that I’ve selected my top 10 of what I think are the most fun ones. Feast your eyes!
- the standard OBall (which you can get in different colours)
- the OBall rattle and roll cars (there are several variations on these)
- the OBall shaker
- the OBall take-along activity arch (I wish we had this one!)
- the OBall musical frog
- the OBall tubmarine bath toy
- the OBall roller
- the OBall activity center
- the OBall speedway (my 3 year old would go nuts!)
- the OBall grip and play suction toy (a total life saver)
There, that should keep any child entertained!
Yay for Heuristic Play
I sure wonder what other things we as creative parents can come up with to use this fabulous little thing in out of the box ways. When you have an idea that is a sure winner in your house, we’d all love to know!
And here’s a little shout out to Still Playing School whose OBall rainbow scarves post inspired me to take this to the next level.
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