Posts Tagged ‘toys’

What is Blanket Time?

Blanket time is an allotted amount of time in the day when you instruct your child to remain on a small blanket (3×3 or 4×4) and play with a select few toys that you have chosen for him/ her to play with. Blanket time can be started as early as you want with your infant and continued into toddlerhood.

What is the purpose of Blanket Time?

“Blanket time provides an opportunity to teach a child to play in a limited area without a physical parameter.” (pre-toddlerwise p.142) It also teaches “sitting skills or what we call parameter skills (the ability to stay put within a boundary).” (Toddlerwise p. 45) This skill comes in handy when you need your child to obey you and stay put. For instance if you are in the kitchen and you need to open the oven, you would want you child to stay away from the oven. You could tell you child to sit and remain still until you allow him or her to get up. Or perhaps you are out in public and you need your child to stay in one spot for a short period of time, that is when this skill really comes in handy. Ultimately, blanket time teaches your child at a young age to obey you. Blanket time also helps with mental focus by only allowing them a few toys that they must play with while on the blanket.

How long should blanket time last?

Start with 3-5 minutes once a day. Once your child demonstrates he can stay on the blanket and play without fussing or crawling or walking off, you can slowly increase the time up to 30 minutes a day. Use a timer to set a designated time. The loud noise of the time going off will signal to your child that blanket time is over.

What if he crawls or walks off the blanket?

The first couple of times he does blanket time, you will want to remain close to him. When he does move off the blanket, quickly return him to the blanket and give clear instructions to stay put and play with his toys. I typically say to Cooper, “Cooper, it is blanket time, we stay on the blanket.” I then direct him toward a toy on the blanket.

How many toys should I place on the blanket?

Just a few toys is enough. Remember your blanket is not that large. I have been placing 2-3 small board books, one lights/sounds toys, 2 toy cars, and one other small manipulative toy.  Keep these toys special and do not allow your child to play with them frequently during the day. The novelty of the toys will help them to remain on the blanket. You might want to have 3-4 small bins of toys that you rotate especially for blanket time so that your child does not tier of the toys.

Make them help you clean up!

When the timer goes off and blanket time is over, make sure to praise their efforts for staying on the blanket. Then ask them to help you clean up. I usually say, “It is clean up time.” Young children will obviously not clean everything up on their own, but you can assist them and teach them how to clean up. My son is 13 months old and I expect him to help put away just a few toys into the bin when we are done. For instance, he has some toy food. He will usually help put away 3-4 pieces of the toys food. As they get older, you might have high expectations for how they clean up. Make sure you give your child clean directions as to what you want cleaned up. For instance, if there are cars on the blanket, you could tell you child, “Mark, put your cars in the bin.”

Where should blanket time be done?

Vary the locations of blanket time in your home. One day do it in the kitchen. Another day try your bedroom. The idea is for you child to be able to transfer this sitting still skill to many different situations and locations. If it is a nice day, try doing it outside. You could even try taking your child to the library with the blanket and a few toys and doing blanket time there.

Travel with a blanket and special toys!

You never know when you might need your child to sit in one area for a short duration of time. You might go to a soccer game for one of your older children, and want your younger child to not wonder. Try keeping a bag with a blanket and some special toys. Then in case you should ever need to do an impromptu blanket time, you would have all the materials!

My personal experience with my son

My son is 13 months old. I have only been doing blanket time with him for a week (we started late). But in a weeks time, he is able to stay on his blanket without fussing for about 10 minutes. I have not had to correct him for crawling off the blanket in a few days too. I see how is mental focus is increasing as he is able to play with one specific toy for a longer period of time. He is also learning to mind and obey me rather well. This past weekend, I was out to lunch in a crowded restaurant. I went up front to pay and sat my son on the ground and told him to stay put, he did not move for 5 minutes. He looked around at all the people, but never once moved. I really think that blanket time has helped him to remain still and obey my commands!

Toy Recommendations for Blanket Time
10-12 Months Old

Resource: Pre-toddlerwise p. 141- 143

Read Full Post »

My son just turned 12 months old and his toys are becoming boring to him. I am on a quest to find him some more stimulating toys, but I am on a tight budget. Here are some ideas I came across and have worked!

Balls: Any size balls will work. My son loves to play with balls. I place several different size balls in plastic container or a basket. My son likes to take them out, bounce them, and place them in different containers.


  • Stackable bowels was a great idea. I bought some stackable cereal bowels from the dollar store for $2 (6 total). He enjoys stacking and unstacking them. This can keep him entertained a a while.
  • Stackable plastic cups
  • measuring spoons/ cups- he enjoys putting them together and taking them apart
  • Mixing bowels- different sizes and different colors. We already had a set at home. I just let him play with them. Great because it did not cost me a thing.
  • Plastic Tubberwear- The cheap plastic food containers that you throw away worked great as toys. I have a few I have received at Christmas time or when people have given me food. I have given them to my son to play with. He will stack them, try to put on the lids, and throw them about the room. He will even take tiny objects like puzzle pieces, balls, shapes, and plastic sorting items and put them in the plastic containers.

Board Books: My son loves to turn the pages of board books. He loves touch and feel and books with flaps. Buying books can be very expensive, so I have started checking out a bunch of board books from our local library and changing them up every week. This keeps him happy and less bored with the selection because I keep changing up the books weekly. You could also buy cheap board books at garage sale or dollar stores.

Shakers and Sound Makers: I have taken old plastic water bottles and jugs with various materials- beans, rice, colored water, pennies, and small rocks. He likes to shake them and stand them up. It keeps him occupied for a while.

Climbing Obstacles: He loves to crawl over things and crawl under things. I set up pillows on the floor for him to crawl over and make tunnel with blankets for him to crawl under. This keeps him busy for a while.

Create Your Own Piggy Bank: Save the tops of the plastic milk jugs and use them as coins. Then with an old formula container or oatmeal container, cut a hole in the top and use that as the slot to insert the tops from the milk jug.


  • Old Food Boxes as building blocks- You can save a bunch of cereal, cracker, pasta, and other food boxes to use a building blocks. You can just glue or tape the flap shut. You can leave them plain or decorate them with colorful wrapping paper.
  • Big Boxes as forts- You can take a big box and put a door on it or make tunnel to crawl through. Then decorate the outside with paint or markers
  • Put items inside old boxes and let your child take them in and out. You can put balls, milk jug tops, small toys, etc.


  • Photo Albums- Children love to look at picture. You can take an old photo album and put pictures of your family in there. You could also clip pictures from a magazine of bright colorful pictures and put it in there. Pictures of animals are always a hit. You can image on the internet and print them out to put in the photo album.
  • Key Ring Pictures- you can laminate pictures and punch a whole on them and place them on a large key ring. You can also take large index cards and cut and paste different photos from old magazines, internet, or even old books.  You could make a key ring to have a theme. For instance the whole key ring could have things with the color red or the number 3.
  • Poster Board- You can take a large poster board and cover it with various colors, photos, and images. Then hang the poster board at eye level with your toddler where they play.
  • Digital Frame- if you already own one, place it somewhere where you toddler can look at the pictures throughout the day. My son loves to watch slide shows.

Touch & Feel

  • Grab Bag/ Box- with empty bags or boxes, you can put different textured items in the box. Your toddler will enjoy touch and feeling the different items in the box
  • Texture Wall- using a poster board, paste different textures on the poster board. You could use sandpaper, sponge, soft cotton, etc.
  • Touch & feel Book- Create your own touch and feel book. Glue different textured items on a large index card. Then with a large key ring punch whole and connect all the cards together.

For Other Suggestions:





Read Full Post »