Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Busy Baby Blocks!

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If you have an infant, then you probably already know about the "changing table wiggles (or maybe I should say -woes)". Simply described: you place your infant on the changing pad and instantly the body of the child becomes a twisting, grasping mass where anything remotely close by (and even some things you thought were unreachable) is considered fair game in said infant's eyes.

Solution? Well, you could always put toys nearby, but then they might not be readily available for play later on when you need them. And who really wants to wash a teddy bear or toy that came into accidental contact with a dirty diaper? Not I.

Then I had an "AHA!" moment.

Now, I am not sure when the "aha" moment actually occurred - but does it really matter? What is more important is that I HAD an "aha" moment. :)

I had been storing up a few small Gerber baby food containers because they just seemed so perfect for...well...for something. So I thought, why not put objects inside them to create noise, glue them shut and keep a few close by to hand the baby as a distraction during a diaper change. And of course, I didn't want them to look...well.."blah", so paint would have to be involved. Thus, "busy baby blocks" were born.

Now, before I tell you how to make these easy, peasy "blocks" - PLEASE keep two things in mind:

1. NEVER leave your baby alone with these. I tried to make these safe in case my baby did manage to pop one open, but they are NOT something I would be comfortable throwing in a crib or pack-n-play while I have my back turned away.  

2. These are not the "holy grail" of distraction. Yes, they may keep your child occupied for a bit - but eventually (like most toys) your child will outgrow them or just start looking for another sparkly or noisy thing nearby. Don't be discouraged - just eat some chocolate and think of this as an opportunity for finding another creative solution. :) But in the meantime, enjoy the moments when your baby is enthralled by his/her new "busy baby blocks".

What you will need:
**Gerber containers
**paint (non-toxic)
**glue gun
**safe items to put inside the "blocks".  This is VERY important.  For safety's sake, just assume your infant will one day figure out how to pry open a lid, so you want to make sure that whatever is inside the block will not be a problem if the child does. (Examples:  just a few grains of rice - if your child managed to open a block and swallow too many, it could be dangerous so only use a very small amount, little bit of dry oatmeal flakes - again use only a very small amount, broken cheerios, large jingle bells. I used VERY large jingle bells that would be hard for my baby to swallow (although not impossible for him to get stuck in his mouth) if he ever did manage to open the block.  HOWEVER, keep in mind that if the small ball in the jingle bell falls out, that could be a serious hazard.  You may want to further safety proof them by placing the bells in a small mesh bag first and then placing the bag inside the block OR just skip the bells altogether. 


1. Paint the INSIDE of the Gerber container and lid. If you want to have a two color design, paint with one color first and let it dry. Then go back over the inside with a different color (see photo below). 
P.S.  My daughter helped me paint some of these, so this might be a fun activity for older siblings to work on with you.  :)
IMPORTANT: Don't paint the inside rim of the lid that overhangs when the container is closed. That part is exposed to the outside ultimately and thus exposed to baby's mouth.  Your paint SHOULD be NON-TOXIC, but who really wants paint of any sort in their baby's mouth?

2. Add items to each container.

3. Working rapidly with your glue gun, make a line of hot glue along the edge of the container and quickly press the lid onto the container.

4. Check the entire block to make sure all paint on the outside has been removed. Check to make sure the lid is  really secure on each block.

5. Place in a box or basket close to the changing table and let your baby enjoy!

BTW: I am participating in a blog contest for the top 25 creative mom blogs and would LOVE it if you would cast a vote for me!  :)  The button is on the sidebar and you don't have to be a member or sign up or anything to vote - just click the button which takes you to the site and cast your vote.  You can vote once a day so if you feel extra generous and want to cast a vote on another day - I would LOOOOVVVVEEEE it if you would!  Thanks so much!

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  1. These are so adorable Michelle! I wish my kiddos were just a bit younger so that I could make a set too. I just love crafts that use recycled materials. Awesome!

  2. Very cute! I save my old food containers too b/c they are so useful later! :) I will have to make some of these soon!

  3. That is awesome!! What a clever idea. I always had a hard time finding things to keep my babies busy while I was changing them. These would have been great ;)

  4. Hi, friend! Happy 4th of July :) Btw, I'm admiring all your creative posts here. Can you please share them at the Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop? Hope to see you there at the party :)

  5. Aww, thanks so much for all the sweet comments everyone! :)
    SJ - thanks for the invitation! I chose to link up the Stars & Stripes snack post. :)

  6. very creative. When my little girl was eating baby food I saved these & had sooo many. I finally had to get rid of them because I wasn't doing anything with them. This post makes me wish I would have held on to them.

  7. I love these. Such a cute idea

  8. I'd love to feature this idea with a link to your post on 7-16. Thanks!

  9. A cute and creative set of baby blocks! I'll have to remember this for when I get around to having another baby :) I featured you on this weeks Do Something! DIY Fun and Learning Toys.

    Rachele @ Messy Kids

  10. I am so pleased by all the comments! Thanks so much and I would be happy to have it featured for those of you who mentioned it. :)

  11. Love, love, love this! I just started saving these containers but I didn't know what I was going to do with them. My nine month old is going to love these. Thanks for the idea!

    PS. I'm going to pin you on Pinterest.

  12. Stopping by from Delicate Construction.

    Super smart! Why didn't I ever think of this. I like how you painted them from the inside.

    Sharing a link to this with my Facebook readers.

  13. Love these! They're so colorful and bright! And using them as blocks - brilliant! I have SO MANY of these saved. I knew they would come in handy! I included this idea in a roundup of materials to recycle for the kids :) Thanks for the inspiration!


  14. These are awesome. I teach 3's. They could use to build or we could use them for shakers with music! Thank you!