Toys for the gifted baby - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-19-2007, 03:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm expecting my first, and wondering if you ladies might have good toy suggestions. I'm not a fan of electronic toys with lots of noises and blinking lights, though they seem to be all that's available these days. Could you recommend a few toy shops that have interesting and stimulating toys for the 0-12 month set, without all the plastic, tinny music, and strobe light effects?
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:31 AM
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oh my.....i thought my daughter was going to be raised on all natural, wood toys. but today, I'm sorry to say that every toy she had, that was of consequence to her development, was electronic and or plastic. seriously. it's scary to think back on it, but it's the honest-to-goodness truth. if you don't want your child to grow up on plastic-- you will have to be verrrrry vigilant. it will creep into your house whenever you aren't looking. don't.....turn......you're....back....LOL!

of the things we own, my suggestions for gifts for your child and yourself would have to include the baby signs dvd set by garcia (aimed at the parent.) perhaps a baby signs dvd for your baby, as well. and good music-- foriegn language cd's for babies, world beat music, classical music, etc. otherwise-- the only wood toys my dd1 plays with are blocks and wooden trains with train tracks. my dd1 didn't bother with cloth dolls or stuffed animals during her first year of life. oh!!!! and how could i forget???? WOODEN PUZZLES!!! She loved those simple, 3 piece puzzles from early on. and most tummy time play mats are made from cloth.

hope that helps.

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Old 12-19-2007, 06:35 AM
 
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honestly at that age....

cardboard box... stuff they can put inside it...
cupboard with kitchen items they can pull out

Right now my 11m old thinks the best item we own is our garbage can... he keeps throwing things away.
Tammy
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Old 12-19-2007, 09:37 AM
 
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Regarding recommendations for a store: I can't think of any chain brick-and-mortar stores that exclusively carry wooden toys. There are some in my area, but they are not part of a larger chain. If you search the web, however, you will find several online stores. I used to know the names of some, but now I can't think of any! Anyone else? There's also ebay, of course. "Melissa & Doug" is a brand with a large selection of wooden toys & puzzles, but they are Made In China. You can find M & D at Toys R Us and other large toy stores. "Haba" is another brand with a wide selection of wooden toys.

Toy suggestions: Board books, blocks, small piano or xylophone & other toy musical instruments, simple puzzles, play mats, stacking ring, balls, non-breakable mirrors, puppets, finger paint & other art supplies, shape sorters, school bus with people, vehicles.

Best wishes for a wonderful birth!
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:25 AM
 
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Actually, most of the electronic lights-and-noises stuff is aimed at kids older than 12 months. For a baby under a year, you're mainly going to be looking at simpler toys that are meant to be rattled or manipulated or chewed on. A lot of them are made of plastic, but it's not like that makes them any less interesting or stimulating. And it's not like any one toy is going to be so interesting or stimulating that you can expect your baby to have hours of educational fun with it. The main thing that's going to make a baby interested in a particular toy is novelty, so you'll be better off with 20 plastic teether/rattle type toys from yard sales than a couple of high quality wooden or cloth ones. And of course a basket of random baby-safe objects from around the house will be just as entertaining as toys - probably more so. (For an older baby - for a baby under 5 months or so, it's hard to find non-toy stuff that really works as well as a commercial baby toy.)
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:07 PM
 
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op:

are you saying that your unborn child is gifted? Or are you trying to find toys for after birth that will encourage giftedness? I'm just trying to clarify.
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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op:

are you saying that your unborn child is gifted? Or are you trying to find toys for after birth that will encourage giftedness? I'm just trying to clarify.
A little of both? My husband is a genius (and I'm not certainly stupid) so I will not be surprised if my baby ends up being gifted. Either way, I want to do my best to help him reach his full potential, whatever that might be.

I don't mind a little bit of plastic. I'm just frustrated with the number of toys available that seem to do all the thinking for the child, you know? When I was a kid I used my imagination and turned all kinds of things into wonderful, stimulating toys. No batteries required.

Toy suggestions: Board books, blocks, small piano or xylophone & other toy musical instruments, simple puzzles, play mats, stacking ring, balls, non-breakable mirrors, puppets, finger paint & other art supplies, shape sorters, school bus with people, vehicles.

Those are all great suggestions! Thank you! I already have some wooden puzzles, stacking rings, a shape sorter, and a couple of nice stuffed animals. I haven't gotten blocks yet because I'm saving for a really nice set. I know he won't be playing with most of it for quite a while, but I'm picky, so it'll be good to have a stash on hand.
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:07 PM
 
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You will likely be given many more toys than you could ever want.

Should that not be the case, blocks, something that rolls (car, coffee can), a bumbo or boppy for situp assistance, a baby doll, should suffice. The household is full of interesting things already.

I have known people to believe that young babies / toddlers were "too young" for the park and not take them out to the playground. Being outside is good for physical and mental development, certainly the opportunity to see at a distance is desirable and vitamin D production is very important. Crawlers can enjoy pulling up on the equipment and watching various age people. Bugs and sticks are interesting. In the world of the free range baby, we say dirt don't hurt.

Take your baby out every day, take her everywhere except maybe loud concerts without earplugs.

A pool membership to a rehabilitation temperature pool -- as one pioneer of baby swim told me the other day, swimming is one of the few sports newborns can participate in. She didn't put it that way, I'm paraphrasing. Her daughter was in the ocean at about 4 weeks old when the water temp (she had a January baby) got up to 80 degrees. I'm not comfortable in that personally; I prefer high eighties.
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:40 PM
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Actually, most of the electronic lights-and-noises stuff is aimed at kids older than 12 months. .....

nah....when's the last time you went to a baby's r us? lol! you wont believe all the electronics and plastic they have for babies-- even the multi colored, twisted rattles! the reason i ended up with so much of it is because my dd was non-responsive till she was 5 months. a lot of the plastic stuff is geared towards stimulating their minds and creating cause and effect reactions. (ie-- bat at a globe, the globe spins and a lady sings hello in five languages. push the sun and a voice says sun, day or good morning. push a moon and a voice says moon, night or good night. open a door, see a mirror, and men sing a south african lullaby or peekaboo....you get the picture. that's only part of what dd1's kick and play gym did-- and that toy is for infants.)
i worry that some of the flashing lights on some of these things may cause neurological problems for some kids. but frankly, some of the toys are well thought out and in line with what i wanted for my dd. it;s just that looking back, i can see that i could have still provided a lot of that myself. just not with the same level of repitition that an electronic toy can, lol!

op-- i don't want you to think plastic is evil.....if you are like most modern mom's, without a lot of help around, and having no way to put your babe down so that you can go to the toilet-- then frankly, you shouldn't feel bad if the bouncy set has a few tinny lullabies, battery powered vibrations, and an electric waterfall with flying fish-- if it keeps your child out of distress long enough for you to pee or shower.

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Old 12-19-2007, 06:49 PM
 
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stacking cups. board books. play silks. hanging things to look at AKA mobiles...

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Old 12-19-2007, 10:06 PM
 
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outdoors, mommy, daddy, house. There's everything needed right there for perfect development.
Too much stimulation too early will have the opposite effect you are wanting.

Talk to your baby, spend time with you baby, point at things naming them, bang on a pot with a spoon, etc.

A ball, wooden blocks and stacking/nesting cup ate the most interesting toys and excellent for brain development and coordination.

And being a genius or very smart does not mean your baby will be, just keep that in mind to avoid being disappointed if baby doesn't turn out as smart as you wish Don't have high expectation from the beggining, just let your baby explore and discover at his own pace.

My husband and I are average, and our son is profoundly gifted. He never played with toys until he was way past age of 2. He had no interest, he just sat and observed everything we said or did, and asked a ton of questions, he started talking at 8 months, speaking in full sentences by 12 months.
My second baby is average or even a little below average. But both bring me equal joy (and trouble )
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:19 PM
 
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Gifted babies?

I'm missing something.
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:23 PM
 
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Gifted babies?

I'm missing something.
Gifted fetus, at this point.
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:32 PM
 
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Babies nurtured with love have room to grow to their own unique potential. No toys or objects will make one bit of difference. They simply need to be nurtured and cared for with love. Be careful not to pin too many unrealistic epectations on the little person though!
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:34 PM
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Gifted fetus, at this point.

Yeah...Not to be rude, but don't you think you're jumping the gun just a wee bit? Yes, there is every chance that your baby may be gifted....and every chance that he/she will not be. Rather than set yourself up for disappointment and frustration (both for you and you lo), just follow baby's lead! Infants really don't need a lot of fancy "development" toys. In fact, I'm inclined to think that most--gifted or not--do better without them. They need interaction, talking, reading time with mama and papa, long walks outside to look at the trees and the clouds, pots and pans to bang, paper to tear, and new sights, sounds, and smells.

We bought a bunch of toys for dd when she was born and they all turned out to be completely useless. She had NO interest in them. She just wanted to watch, experience, and participate in LIFE. She hated electronic lights and gadgets--in fact, they scared her. She loved books and watching animals--in fact, she still does.

So relax. Follow your baby's lead. And PLEASE don't get caught up in labels yet. We have so many expectations for our children when really we just need to open our eyes and let them show us who they are

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Old 12-19-2007, 11:50 PM
 
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Yeah...Not to be rude, but don't you think you're jumping the gun just a wee bit? Yes, there is every chance that your baby may be gifted....and every chance that he/she will not be.
Show me the parents' SAT scores, and I'll let you know how much money I'm throwing down.
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:22 AM
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Show me the parents SAT scores, and I'll let you know how much money I'm throwing down.
Certainly there is a genetic component--I'm not argung that there isn't. But goodness, babies are all unique individuals and the baby's personality, interests, inclinations, and talents can really surprise you sometimes! And if you go into it with pre-set expectations (which is what the title of the thread seems to indicate to me) , it can lead to a lot of frustration that could otherwise be avoided by simply keeping your mind open to the possibilities and potential of the child, whatever they may be. I also don't think there are "special" toys, etc for gifted infants. I believe that interaction is hands down best thing for all babies, gifted or not. Just my opinion

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Old 12-20-2007, 01:49 AM
 
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how is your boy doing in school? Please update us
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outdoors, mommy, daddy, house. There's everything needed right there for perfect development.
Too much stimulation too early will have the opposite effect you are wanting.

Talk to your baby, spend time with you baby, point at things naming them, bang on a pot with a spoon, etc.

A ball, wooden blocks and stacking/nesting cup ate the most interesting toys and excellent for brain development and coordination.

And being a genius or very smart does not mean your baby will be, just keep that in mind to avoid being disappointed if baby doesn't turn out as smart as you wish Don't have high expectation from the beggining, just let your baby explore and discover at his own pace.

My husband and I are average, and our son is profoundly gifted. He never played with toys until he was way past age of 2. He had no interest, he just sat and observed everything we said or did, and asked a ton of questions, he started talking at 8 months, speaking in full sentences by 12 months.
My second baby is average or even a little below average. But both bring me equal joy (and trouble )

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Old 12-20-2007, 01:53 AM
 
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I totally agree with this, but I just read the original post as curious about toys we might recommend... and she did say she was picky, so she is just thinking and dreaming about it. That is allowed, right ?

I think these are wise words ...
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We bought a bunch of toys for dd when she was born and they all turned out to be completely useless. She had NO interest in them. She just wanted to watch, experience, and participate in LIFE. She hated electronic lights and gadgets--in fact, they scared her. She loved books and watching animals--in fact, she still does.

So relax. Follow your baby's lead. And PLEASE don't get caught up in labels yet. We have so many expectations for our children when really we just need to open our eyes and let them show us who they are

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Old 12-20-2007, 02:31 AM
 
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I read a beautiful book called Inventing Kindergarten and it talked about a progression of gifts for children prescribed by Froebel. The first gift is a set of rainbow knitted balls on strings. There are all sorts of fun things to do and learn with a ball on a string!

Here is more info:
http://www.froebelweb.org/gifts/first.html
http://wiki.math.yorku.ca/index.php/...man_Brosterman

mama to DS 9 and DD 5 and
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Old 12-20-2007, 03:18 AM
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bright people often have bright babies but it isn't always so. also there is every chance that something unusual could happen in your child's development (see parenting twice exceptional thread and special needs parenting forum). babies are the absolute best at guiding parents towards their needs. if overstimulated, they cry. if under stimulated, they cry. don't worry after a couple months you'll figure out which cry means which thing. really. you will. it's like breastfeeding. they take the nourishment they need, fuss to let you know if they need a bit more, and then stop when they've had their fill.

my ex and i are very bright. i thought for sure that my son would be gifted. when he stopped learning to talk at 18 mos i had a bit of an identity crisis. i'd set myself up to expect a "typical" gifted kid, doing everything early and well. when i found myself disappointed at his development i hated myself for feeling that way. felt like a failure as a mother. turns out his development is just very unusual. his social, moter, and creative skills are out of this world. he's almost 4 now and can barely talk but is learning to read. he has the attention span and self direction to sit and study on his own. talked to my mother and found the same was true for me, speaking at 8or 9 mos, full sentences before a year but not reading until 2nd grade then jumping up to hs level in under a year. had i been more like my mother, with fewer expectations i could have enjoyed this merry chase a bit more and skipped the identity crisis entirely. the universe knows just what she's up to and i think sometimes she gives us children different enough from us to cause serious examination of our values and beliefs about ourselves and others.

ds didn't enjoy toys much. he liked "real" things. the best evidence out there suggests that plenty of affection and talking to your baby is a much better way of maximizing your baby's potential than any specific toy. the best way to pick them out, IMO, is to watch for patterns in your child's interest and then choose toys that help a child stretch in areas of strength. ds likes figuring out how things work so he gets lots of moving parts and puzzles. hate to cop to it but my ego is so huge it actually makes me sad i have nobody to buy little people toys for. we just share very few interests. i've had to get DH to help me pick out toys as he's better at removing himself from the equation.

if you do end up with a giftie on your hands, develop a thick skin. giftie parents can be a bit snippy. if you don't not to worry. "average" children require just as much creativity to raise and there's nothing that says it's a waste of time to present a typical kid with a breadth of experience and nurture his/her creativity. in fact, if more parents did that with typical kids more bank and store manager and elementary shool teacher types might get my jokes and be generally more curious and creative in the way they do their jobs. everybody wins in my fantasy world and i think that every child deserves some of the same kinds of efforts that our culture seems to reserve for the gifted alone.

sorry for being long winded. i've just come to terms with my adventure in maternal expectations which i foolishly convinced myself were just "dreams and hopes" perhaps that's not what you're doing but i feel that by sharing maybe someone will read this and be able to miss out on the mess i experienced and skip straight to the fun part.

oh yeah, congratulations on your first! welcome to mommyhood
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Old 12-20-2007, 01:32 PM
 
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bright people often have bright babies but it isn't always so. also there is every chance that something unusual could happen in your child's development (see parenting twice exceptional thread and special needs parenting forum). babies are the absolute best at guiding parents towards their needs. if overstimulated, they cry. if under stimulated, they cry. don't worry after a couple months you'll figure out which cry means which thing. really. you will. it's like breastfeeding. they take the nourishment they need, fuss to let you know if they need a bit more, and then stop when they've had their fill.

my ex and i are very bright. i thought for sure that my son would be gifted. when he stopped learning to talk at 18 mos i had a bit of an identity crisis. i'd set myself up to expect a "typical" gifted kid, doing everything early and well. when i found myself disappointed at his development i hated myself for feeling that way. felt like a failure as a mother. turns out his development is just very unusual. his social, moter, and creative skills are out of this world. he's almost 4 now and can barely talk but is learning to read. he has the attention span and self direction to sit and study on his own. talked to my mother and found the same was true for me, speaking at 8or 9 mos, full sentences before a year but not reading until 2nd grade then jumping up to hs level in under a year. had i been more like my mother, with fewer expectations i could have enjoyed this merry chase a bit more and skipped the identity crisis entirely. the universe knows just what she's up to and i think sometimes she gives us children different enough from us to cause serious examination of our values and beliefs about ourselves and others.

ds didn't enjoy toys much. he liked "real" things. the best evidence out there suggests that plenty of affection and talking to your baby is a much better way of maximizing your baby's potential than any specific toy. the best way to pick them out, IMO, is to watch for patterns in your child's interest and then choose toys that help a child stretch in areas of strength. ds likes figuring out how things work so he gets lots of moving parts and puzzles. hate to cop to it but my ego is so huge it actually makes me sad i have nobody to buy little people toys for. we just share very few interests. i've had to get DH to help me pick out toys as he's better at removing himself from the equation.

if you do end up with a giftie on your hands, develop a thick skin. giftie parents can be a bit snippy. if you don't not to worry. "average" children require just as much creativity to raise and there's nothing that says it's a waste of time to present a typical kid with a breadth of experience and nurture his/her creativity. in fact, if more parents did that with typical kids more bank and store manager and elementary shool teacher types might get my jokes and be generally more curious and creative in the way they do their jobs. everybody wins in my fantasy world and i think that every child deserves some of the same kinds of efforts that our culture seems to reserve for the gifted alone.

sorry for being long winded. i've just come to terms with my adventure in maternal expectations which i foolishly convinced myself were just "dreams and hopes" perhaps that's not what you're doing but i feel that by sharing maybe someone will read this and be able to miss out on the mess i experienced and skip straight to the fun part.

oh yeah, congratulations on your first! welcome to mommyhood
This is a brilliant post.
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Old 12-20-2007, 01:47 PM
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This is a brilliant post.
It really is. There is a lot of truth in what she has so eloquently expressed here.

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Old 12-20-2007, 02:46 PM
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THANK YOU
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Old 12-20-2007, 05:22 PM
 
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if you do end up with a giftie on your hands, develop a thick skin. giftie parents can be a bit snippy. if you don't not to worry. "average" children require just as much creativity to raise and there's nothing that says it's a waste of time to present a typical kid with a breadth of experience and nurture his/her creativity. in fact, if more parents did that with typical kids more bank and store manager and elementary shool teacher types might get my jokes and be generally more curious and creative in the way they do their jobs.
Sorry, but gifted people are found in various places - even as the "bank and store manager and elementary school teachers" that you mention. Gifted children don't necessarily grow up to have what may be thought of as an "esteemed" career for various reasons. I know you prob. don't mean to say that people with certain careers are not smart enough to "get" your jokes, but this is how your post came across to me. On the flip side, not all doctors, engineers, people with advanced degrees, etc., are "gifted." I have two advanced degrees. I work in a profession which requires an advanced degree; people working in my profession are generally thought of as "smart." But I definitely know that some of us in this career are smarter than others and that nepotism, finances, opportunities, etc., can play a role in where people wind up. I don't think I am "gifted" b/c I have these advanced degrees and this job ..and I think the opposite situation is true as well; people with "typical" careers and no degrees are not necessarily "typical" people who don't get certain jokes. I like a joke about Rene Descartes that I know very few people would get b/c, well, not everyone has studied Rene Descartes or wants to...but I don't think people who don't get the joke aren't as smart as I am...Sorry - I know I went off on a tangent here.

And of course "typical" children should be given every opportunity, as you say. It horrifies me to think that some parents would choose not to offer experiences and creative activities just b/c a child is not "gifted enough" to appreicate it.
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Old 12-20-2007, 05:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ds didn't enjoy toys much. he liked "real" things. the best evidence out there suggests that plenty of affection and talking to your baby is a much better way of maximizing your baby's potential than any specific toy. the best way to pick them out, IMO, is to watch for patterns in your child's interest and then choose toys that help a child stretch in areas of strength. ds likes figuring out how things work so he gets lots of moving parts and puzzles.
That's awesome advice. Thanks very much! I haven't really been around kids before, so now being pregnant has plunged me into a world of spinning, beeping electronic cr@p that leaves me overstimulated. I can only imagine what it does to young children. I went to BrU to work on my registry a few weeks ago, and was horrified to see things like plastic cell phones marketed as baby toys. Now that I've seen what's out there (including watching a few hours of chldren's TV to see what's advertised directly to kids) I'm horrified, to be frank. Maybe my OP would have been better in the general parenting section, but I thought that parents of gifted kids would have better ideas for really nice, well made, developmentally appropriate toys. And some of you did have great ideas for me. Thanks!


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Originally Posted by thebarkingbird View Post
"average" children require just as much creativity to raise and there's nothing that says it's a waste of time to present a typical kid with a breadth of experience and nurture his/her creativity...i think that every child deserves some of the same kinds of efforts that our culture seems to reserve for the gifted alone.
I have absolutely no expectations. Honestly I haven't even thought about what he'll be like beyond the first few days. I have no experience with kids, so I don't have any frame of reference to base expectations on. But I know I love him already and want him to have the best start I can give him.
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Old 12-20-2007, 07:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by thebarkingbird View Post
every child deserves some of the same kinds of efforts that our culture seems to reserve for the gifted alone.

This struck me as a strange thing to say. I see very little in our society that is truly reserved for the gifted. I see most educational institutions are NOT for gifted children--do you mean really gifted, or some other status-type thing?

I think most of the posts on this board dealing with their experience speaks to a different experience--that of feeling alienated, their needs were not met in a traditional school, I read about a lot of struggle to give their children what they need. There aren't a lot of red carpets and rose gardens around here.

Perhaps this statement is a perception that isn't the reality?

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Old 12-20-2007, 07:08 PM
 
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was horrified to see things like plastic cell phones marketed as baby toys.
just wait til you have a 6 month old and you will understand why Seriously, my cell phone was DDs favorite thing to play with so I can understand why parents would buy a pretend one to keep theirs safe.

As for toys, I have found that both of my girls had very little interest in toys as babies. They were much more interested in real things around the house.
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Old 12-20-2007, 07:20 PM
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Nevermind--it was way off-topic

PhDin' mama to dd (Oct. 2005)
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Old 12-20-2007, 07:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by GathererGirl View Post
but I thought that parents of gifted kids would have better ideas for really nice, well made, developmentally appropriate toys. And some of you did have great ideas for me. Thanks!
Ah, but you see that's the reason there has to be a gifted forum - developmentally appropriate is a loaded phrase when your kid plays with toys designed for children twice their age.
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