In the Government Orphanage that we visited, we saw 35 infants wrapped in blankets and lying in white metal cribs.  No toys, no nannies to play with, nothing to look at, absolutely no stimulation of any kind.  Most of the babies laid motionless.

Stimulation is critical to early brain development, and so we hope to bring something back for those babies when we return for our Embassy trip. Something for them to look at, to chew on, to touch, and hear and smell.
On the flight home I sketched out a primitive design for a bumper pad style crib toy.   

The toy consists of four 4 inch by 4 inch squares sewn together in a row.  

The finished product is 16 inches longs by 4 inches high and has ribbon (or something) on each four corners for tying it to a crib.  To make it as stimulating as possible each of the four squares should include one or more of the following: 

Touch: Silk, felt, fleece or a bumpy or course fabric

Sound: Crinkle sound (made by sewing cellaphane or something else crinkly inside the fabric) or jingle bells

Taste: Tags of different textures sewn off the sides

Smell: a packet of lavender or another soothing scent sewn in between the fabric.

Sight: High-Contrast black and white fabric or brightly colored fabric

Every square can be different, but I want at least four of the five senses covered in each set of four squares.  And I want two squares of high contrast black and white and two brightly colored squares in each set of four.  Otherwise, use your imaginations!  And remember, nothing that can be torn loose and swallowed!  These need to be safe for an unsupervised baby. 

If you are a beginner sewer you can simply sew squares and give them or mail them to me and I'll assemble them.  Or if you want to go ahead and assemble the whole row, that is fine too.  Just make sure that you have included at least four of the five senses in each toy.  

Here are some my cousin, aunt and mother-in-law have already been working on.  
We would like to bring at least 50 of these back with us on our Embassy trip, but they are so flat and light that we could easily pack hundreds of them if we were so lucky.

Email me at BrandyDWade (at) for our mailing address and leave any questions in the comments section.  Thank you!
5/2/2012 07:04:27 am

Great idea!! Do you put any kind of batting between the two layers?

5/2/2012 08:26:01 am

Yes, if you want to. I believe Heather and Teressa have been putting... like that quilt batting stuff? I am obviously an expert at the lingo. I think it would be stronger if there was a batting inside, but I'm sure they would be just fine without anything inside.

5/7/2012 08:39:26 am

What are you guys using for including scents? And what about ideas for sounds? Mostly curious about the scents. Thanks!

5/7/2012 09:29:46 am

As far as sounds go, the only thing I've though of are jingle bells and crinkly cellaphane.

Scents like dried lavender can be purchased wherever they sell candle or soap supplies. I used dried lavender and scented tea bags when I made heat packs this winter. I would say that either of those, sewn inside the fabric, would work great. Scented tea bags might be a good cheap idea!

6/24/2012 08:13:16 am

I love this blog layout, which template is it?

6/24/2012 08:42:18 am

Just one of the free weebly layouts!


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