One of the comments that I hear most at the shows and markets that we sell at is "Oh, I love your rattles! My son/daughter is too old for them though," and, upon inquiring as to what age the little one is, I get answers ranging from 8 months to 2 years, with the most common answer being "He/She is over a year old." This always amazes me a bit, because the developmental usefulness of rattles certainly doesn't expire at the age of 1!
While I wouldn't necessarily recommend buying a new rattle for a 2 year old (not to say that a few haven't plucked them off our tables and coerced their parents into buying them), our rattles have all been designed to grow with children, and to provide ongoing developmental stimulation with time. Just because 'rattle' is commonly associated with 'baby' doesn't mean that it can't be fun and educational for your toddler (or even preschooler)! Read on to discover all of the developmental stages that a thoughtfully-designed rattle can be used for in play.
For the wee little ones, the crocheted 559 Saucer Trio (with a Rattle, a Jingle and a Crinkle!) features loops that allow the set to be hung above infants, in order to encourage the ever-so-sought-after reaching and grasping milestone. This soft set is easily graspable by those tiny (but so strong!) fingers, and the sounds are easily coaxed by even small movements. The Saucer Trio is available in attractive warm (red, orange, yellow) or cool (green, blue, purple) colour sets, or in a black, ivory and grey set that is perfect for newborns to gaze at (or to be used by hip modern babies).
What good is a rattle unless it makes a fun sound? We're happy to say that all of our rattles make pleasing noises for baby to first learn the cause and effect of moving objects and gaining a reward (an auditory one in this case). The gentle clacking of our wooden rattles (the Discus, Orbit and Circus) even tempts adults into picking up and playing with them, and, as mentioned above, the 559 Saucer Trio includes a soft jingle and rattle in each set.
Once little bodies start crawling (and then walking, and soon after, running), all of the 559 wooden rattles can roll on smooth floors, creating fun chasing games and motivation to keep on moving. You may even notice that the balance of the beads on the Discus Rattle creates a uneven rotation that catches little one's eyes and spreads grins across their faces.
In addition to all of the gross motor development that happens with the shaking and rolling of our rattles, there's ample opportunity for some fine motor learning to take place, as well! Whether it's the sliding of the beads and rings on the Discus and Circus rattles, or the careful manipulation of the ring over the bead on the 559 Orbit Rattle, each of our wooden rattles becomes a toy where fingers and pincer-grasps, and not just whole hands, can come to play.
We once had a 3.5 year old who really wanted to buy a Discus Rattle for his 8 month old sibling. As touching as the act was, we later found out that he had spent the afternoon playing with it instead! How did he use it? In addition to the rolling mentioned above, this preschooler used it as a percussion instrument, and practiced his counting on the stacks of 1, 2 and 3 beads. All of our rattles can be used as percussion instruments, and I look forward to using the Jingle, Rattle and Crinkle of the Saucer Trio to play games involving sound discrimination with my own son, by using them to make sounds behind our backs, and guess which colour the other person is using.
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And so, as you can see, the usefulness and fun of rattles does not stop at any magical age! A well-designed rattle (and any toy) can easily grow with your child, and see them through many stages. Does your child seem 'bored' of some of the toys that he or she has had for awhile? Rotate them out, and, if it's a well-designed toy, when you bring it back into play, it will garner brand new explorations and play.
The 559 of our Rattles, as mentioned above:
Types of Play: Physical, Social, Games with Rules
Areas of Development Stimulated: Physical, Cognitive, Language, Social
Different Intelligences Stimulated: Logical, Musical, Spatial, Kinesthetic, Linguistic, Intrapersonal