Toys ahead of their time


We have an odd tendency here to purchase toys that are ahead of their time.

blue monkeys

six little monkeys, swinging on a pipe cleaner

And it’s all M and I.  Baby is just as happy to continue playing with her shopping cart full of fake food, or her mr. and mrs. potato head, or the box in which her diapers were delivered.  She’s not asking for fancy new toys (yet…).

But M and I get bored.  So last weekend we went to Target in search of a board game to play with Baby.

Yes, I know, she is not even 2 yet.

And yes, I know, she doesn’t really have the attention span for a board game.

And yes, I saw that all of the board games advise that they are for ages 3 and up, at a minimum.

But, despite all of that awesome knowledge, we still came home with Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed (important note: we removed the small disc-like objects that come with the game, as they are choking hazards; the monkeys themselves are fine).

All the way home, we told Baby that we were all going to play this new game.  She got so excited that I truly believed that the three of us would sit on the living room floor and play the game.  We’d spin the wheel, move our little monkeys around the board, and have a lovely family bonding moment.  In my imagination, it was picturesque.

Intoxicated with this illusion, I diligently set up the board and began reading the game’s instructions.  But Baby’s attention to instructions and taking turns was already lost.  She had collected all of the monkeys in a pile on her lap.  Then she put them on the bed and delighted in pushing the button enough times to make the bed pop up and the monkeys fly off. My attempts to group our monkeys on the START space were not welcome.


ISO: creative ways to use 24 monkeys in a variety of colors

Giving up, I put the monkeys back in the box and put the box in the closet while Baby was outside watering the flowers with M.  I figured she’d move on and go back to playing with the toys we bought her 6 months ago that are finally now age-appropriate.

But in their short time with her, the monkeys had earned a place in her heart.  She didn’t move on.  She begged for those monkeys every day this week.

Determined to do some kind of shared activity with at least part of this game, I dug some pipe cleaners out of our arts and crafts box.  Together, Baby and I strung the monkeys on pipe cleaners of the same color.  Blue monkeys on the blue pipe cleaner, red monkeys on the red pipe cleaner, etc.  We talked about their colors and counted each monkey as it slid along the pipe cleaner.  Baby surprised me with some advanced fine motor skills and successfully strung a couple herself.  Then we hung them on the baby gate (finally finding a new use for that, since it doesn’t really keep Baby downstairs anymore but we can’t bring ourselves to take it down).

Baby was delighted.

taking photos of monkeys

half the fun is taking the photos

And the next day, I swear, she started naming colors better than she had the day before.  And she started counting to six (we’ve been stuck at 4 for weeks now – unless 9 really does come before 5 – in which case Baby is a better counter than we thought).  Coincidence?  Maybe.  But I’d rather credit the monkeys.

Now, the next challenge will be: how do we play with these monkeys for the next year, or so, without loosing half of them before we even play the game?

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