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Which developmental toys are convenient for travel?
Q: What developmental toys would you suggest for my son? We will be on tour with a Broadway show January – July, and he will be 9 months old when we leave. I am planning on having two large suitcases, one for clothes and one for toys, and I need them to be portable and not too heavy!
A: Dear Suzanne, have fun on what sounds like an exciting adventure! When you leave for your trip, your son will be at an age where his physical skills and mobility will be developing rapidly. Make sure you provide your son with opportunities to practice those skills when you are on location. Of course, having a safe, comfortable car seat and a variety of children's books and music will help make the trip more enjoyable. Other toys to take along can be minimal. I suggest a few open-ended toys that allow your son to use them during different developmental stages, such as a stacking-and-nesting toy or a shape sorter; with those toys, the play usually starts as exploration and put-and-take, but then becomes more advanced, with deliberate placement. Take advantage of the many opportunities available during the day, and take along a comfortable, portable stroller so you and your son can enjoy the new sights and sounds. Visit the children's section of the libraries and bookstores in the cities on your tour. Whenever possible, go to a park, point out what you see to encourage your son's budding language skills, and experience the beauty of nature and the rejuvenation fresh air provides. Because of all the moving and unfamiliar surroundings he will encounter, also remember to provide some consistency for your son—for example, a favorite blanket and cuddly toy.
Kathleen Alfano Ph.D. Director of Child Research at Fisher-Price®