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3 Things That Occupy My 11-Month-Old for Hours

3 Things That Occupy My 11 Month Old for Hours


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3 Things That Occupy My 11-Month-Old for Hours

3 Things That Occupy My 11 Month Old for HoursTransitioning to being a work-at-home mom with my 11-month-old has been amazing and somewhat difficult. While I wouldn’t consider Kaiden high-maintenance, getting any baby to engage in self-play during the peak of what most people refer to as the phase of separation anxiety is a feat. Yes, I want to be with him. I want to build our relationship and guide him in learning. But I also want him to learn to occupy himself, stimulate his own growth and guide himself in his own interests. Not only does this teach him to be more independent, it helps him develop a self-initiated learning style – similar to the Montessori philosophy. Not to mention, I’m able to get my work-at-home tasks done while he’s awake! And he learns from a young age, that I’m not here to entertain him every moment of every day.

How did it happen?

There are many different philosophies and strategies that try to address this topic. Some parents use Toy Rotation, others buy expensive activity centers. In trying to strategize a solution to occupy and stimulate him that fits our family’s philosophy and style, I discovered a couple of things:

  • I found that if I focus on what stimulates him during our together play, and then find a way to transition that into independent play time – it happens pretty seamlessly.
  • The right combination of my control and his choice benefits both of us

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So here they are– the 3 things:


1. A Discovery BoxAmazon - Discovery Box

We call this a “discovery box” because, (a) Kaiden discovered this could be used as strategy to occupy him all on his own (b) he discovers new things every time he opens it.

Basically, we stuff this small, flip-top box full of different toys and he has a blast taking them out like a treasure chest. As I mentioned above, we totally discovered this by accident – we initially just used this box to keep his toys from being scattered all over the living room floor all the time. Then we noticed he really loved taking everything out one-by-one (and hopefully one day putting it all back in).

This is also super awesome because he fixates on a different toy every time. We control what goes in the box but he chooses what in the box to play with at any given time. It’s almost as if taking each toy out individually gives him a chance to figure out what he wants to play with (as opposed to having a bunch of toys scattered all over the floor and seeing them all at once). He’ll spend a good hour taking these toys out and playing with each one individually in whatever order he chooses.

Now, I will say – the first couple times we did this – I was engaging in this activity with him. After those first few times, I would sit on the couch about halfway through and he was already stimulated enough to continue on his own. After that, he started doing this all on his own as soon as we would put him down in his play area.

Every week or so we’ll switch out the toys we put in the box so he’s stimulated in different ways and never gets bored with toys he already has.

2. This Toy –

Hape Pound & Tap Bench

w/ Slide Out Xylophone

Amazon - Hape Pound & Tap Bench

So the main thing I see stimulating Kaiden these days is the use of tools. Aka using an object that creates a mechanism to achieve a desired outcome. In Kaiden’s world, this is “the hammer.” Kaiden is over-the-top in love with the hammer in this toy set. Since the first time we helped him discover that hitting the xylophone creates various sounds, he carries the hammer around everywhere! He even plays his version of croquet with the balls this set came with. So we’ll switch out the toys around him that make noise. Like these tambourines or these egg shakers. When he tries to hit the round objects – they obviously roll – and he chases them. Which does double-duty and tires him out as well!

The other thing I love about this is that it’s stimulating his love for music too <3

3. Board Books

Especially Touch & Feel

I’m in love with Kaiden being in love with books. And these touch and feel books engage his senses, his interest and his independence. He’ll flip the pages, stare at the pictures and feel the textures in these books over and over again. Even without me right next to him!

These are some of his favorites:

If I Were A Dog

If I Were A Dog Touch & Feel Board Book

Baby Touch and Feel Puppies

Baby Touch & Feel Puppies

Baby Touch and Feel Cuddly Animals

Baby Touch and Feel Cuddly Animals

Baby Touch and Feel Bedtime

Baby Touch and Feel Bedtime

Hopefully your kiddo is able to occupy him or herself from time to time. If not, or if you’re hoping for a longer time, try these out!

Right there with ya,

Niki from

The Newlymoms

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