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Sarlon
01-17-2012, 12:39 AM
so my almost 4 year old niece is gonna be coming with my friend when she comes to clean my house once a week.

we've already decieded on a "safe" area of my home that we can "lock" her in to keep her out of the way but still able to keep an eye on.

but I want to get some age apporpriate toys to keep at my place that can keep her entertained while her mother (my friend) cleans the rest of the house.

suggestions?

Slayer
01-17-2012, 01:04 AM
What kind of kid is she?

I never played much with dolls and preferred blocks/Legos and drawing/coloring over everything else.

If it were for me, I'd want coloring books and crayons. A bucket of Legos. I'd be entertained for hours lol.

If it were for my sister, she wouldn't even look at those things. She'd have rathered her baby doll and princess clothes to play make believe.

In my experience, the mother is usually the one to bring toys for entertainments. My mom always did and so do my friends.

That said, I figure some coloring stuff would be good. Cheap and easily replaced (I tend to keep that stuff, too, just in case). I also have blocks, but that's cuz they're awesome :D

You could talk to her mom and see what her favorites are. Ask if she'll bring toys and if there's something the little girl wants but doesn't have. Having something that stays at your place that she doesn't have at home tends to make going to your house special. If that makes sense. If you're worried that she might get upset at having to come over.

Sarlon
01-17-2012, 01:13 AM
sadly due to some legal problems the niece has not been allowed to come to my place for almost 8 months (REALLY long story don't want to go into it), but shes really into princess and tinker bell right now, coloring would be cool but the room I have her in doesn't really have room for a special area just to get realy messy in, IE coloring unsupervised.

playing with blocks/legos is fine since she loves to clean up, and I'm devoting the lower 2 shelves on my bookcase in the living room for just her things when she comes over. that way my friend only has to pack a few essiental things for the day (change of clothes, etc) rather then half the toy chest.

I don't want to depend on just movies/tv shows on keeping her entertained while the weather stays the way it does, which is cold and overcast.

was thinking maybe a few barbie dolls, and take her shopping to let her pick out a few special toys to have just at my place (with mommy's permission of course)

Slayer
01-17-2012, 01:31 AM
That sounds really cool :) kids can get pretty imaginative.

For coloring, crayola sells the color wonder stuff but replacing the paper can get costly.

There's also Aquadoodle which is like a large mat with a water filled "marker" that only shows up on that mat. Like the color wonder paper. It's reusable tho.

I'm sure she'll love being able to choose something special, too.

auntiem
01-17-2012, 05:44 AM
Do you have a garage with some room? I ask because a solution my SO's folks came up with is to get a refrigerator box and helping their grandaughter make a fort. You can set it up for her to play in when she comes over and put it away in the garage the rest of the time.
My folks got me and my sister a box each and we made our forts and decorated them and spent hours upon hours playing in them.

Seshat
01-17-2012, 05:57 AM
Ask her mother to dress her in clothes that can get fingerpaint or crayon or coloured pencil on them. All (sensible) parents make sure their kids have multiple sets of clothes like that.

A big box - large enough for the kid to sit in - makes a wonderful fort. Old wrapping paper and glue and adult help means the kid can decorate the fort, as well: she can make it her princess castle! Especially if you have shiny wrapping paper.

Princess clothes would be another good idea: grab scarves from a charity shop, and any gauzy or floaty dress that's either her size or can be cut down to her size. Fairy wings, likewise, would be great, as would a fairy wand.
Any kind of dress-up is fun for kids. (Expect the clothes to be damaged and painted on. That doesn't matter. All that matters with dress-up clothes is basic hygiene & not having choking hazards. So throw them in a washing load by themselves whenever they need it.)

If you're creative, bend wire into a fairy-wing pattern, attach ribbon ties that can go around her arms and/or waist to hold the wings on. Cover the wings tightly with old stockings or gauze netting. Then let your niece help you glue glitter, sequins, and other 'shiny' on them.
A fairy wand is just a stick with a cardboard star stuck to the top, and glitter, sequins and 'shiny stuff' glued to it.

And yes, dolls and legos and blocks and stuff.

Depending on how much you want to be involved in what she does, there's also all sorts of age appropriate science, craftworks, and stuff you could do with her.

fireheart
01-17-2012, 06:11 AM
AquaDoodles sounds like fun. Or even better if you can still get them: Paint with Water books. I used to love them as a kid. :D

I was going to suggest Play-Doh, but I'm not 100% sure if that would be OK to do on her own.

For the record, this (http://www.bigw.com.au/toys/arts-crafts/bpnBIGW_0000000114051/aquadoodle-draw-n-doodle-mat) is an Aqua Doodle mat.

Maybe a Mr. Potato Head?

You CAN get Color Wonder packs with Tinkerbell and Disney Princess on them as well.

Have a look at some of the LeapPad stuff as well, here's an example: http://www.bigw.com.au/toys/music-learning/bpnBIGW_0000000235615/leapfrog-tag-junior-read-system

Looking at some of the toys though...why do they need to make 3 different toy babies to do 3 different functions? I miss my sister's Baby Born doll :lol:

ETA: Is there a library near you that does activities? I'm not suggesting using it as a babysitting service, but maybe once in a while take her over to your local library and let her pick out some books or similar. If the library has toys even better (my local library has recently started offering toys and a couple of other libraries are starting to loan out sports equipment)

RecoveringKinkoid
01-17-2012, 12:32 PM
Yeah, Color wonder stuff is awesome, but plain old washable crayons and plain paper are cheap and not messy.

There are age appropriate games online, too, so depending on the kid, that might be an option. Disney, Nickelodeon, and Barbie sites all have games to play.

Really depends on the kid. Four is kind of young to give small toys she could choke on if you're not going to be right there with her. Some kids put things in their mouths and some don't.

Treasure
01-17-2012, 03:34 PM
Puzzles

You can get all kinds of Disney Princess and Tinkerbell puzzles in age appropriate size pieces for fairly inexpensive.

I haven't met a 4 yr old yet who didn't like puzzles. (they may lose interest before they get it complete....)

Seraph
01-17-2012, 04:38 PM
My Little Ponies! :D

fireheart
01-17-2012, 09:38 PM
Yeah, Color wonder stuff is awesome, but plain old washable crayons and plain paper are cheap and not messy.

There are age appropriate games online, too, so depending on the kid, that might be an option. Disney, Nickelodeon, and Barbie sites all have games to play.

Really depends on the kid. Four is kind of young to give small toys she could choke on if you're not going to be right there with her. Some kids put things in their mouths and some don't.

I think they're factoring in on the "she'll try and draw on something ELSE if she's bored" factor. The colour wonder stuff only shows up on the paper and nowhere else.

If you're going to do the online games Sarlon, you could do what NorthernZel did with their son and create a Windows account which has parental controls on it.

Kogarashi
01-17-2012, 10:34 PM
I think they're factoring in on the "she'll try and draw on something ELSE if she's bored" factor. The colour wonder stuff only shows up on the paper and nowhere else.

Which is why you go the washable route. And if she draws on any washable surface, rubbing alcohol is your friend (I know this from experience).

My daughter (now 5, but only just) absolutely adores Barbie (they make Disney Princess and Fairies ones too), Littlest Pet Shop, and My Little Pony. She's also a big fan of coloring and puzzles, and she at least I would trust unsupervised with coloring materials, thanks to carefully coaching her when she was younger about what she could and could not color on. Plus she didn't really get markers until we were sure she was out of that "color on everything but the paper" phase. Now our only real problem with her is that she goes through her coloring books and drawing paper too fast. :rolleyes:

I'll second the suggestion of taking Niece shopping with you for picking out the toys.

Sarlon
01-17-2012, 10:38 PM
I don't want to get her any of the disney princess dolls for my place....because she got every single one of them for christmas plus a 3 foot tall castle for all of them!!! (lots of grandparents, aunts, uncles, daddy getting a better paying job, and a great grandmother)

so I want something special for just my house, good idea on the my little pony...I still have some of my orginal ones >.>

oh and the mother agrees of something special just for my hosue to make the tedium of house cleaning less boring for her.

fireheart
01-17-2012, 11:49 PM
so I want something special for just my house, good idea on the my little pony...I still have some of my orginal ones >.>

oh and the mother agrees of something special just for my hosue to make the tedium of house cleaning less boring for her.

Like someone suggested earlier, if you have a laptop you can put in there, set an account up for her to access with parental controls enabled EVERYWHERE (i.e. you'd be the admin, so she couldn't mess with the settings) and then set up some games for her as well.

Also if you have a toy library near you, take her there (or get her mum to do before they come over) and let her pick out a toy. She can pick out something new each time and it doesn't cost you a cent.

Ashara
01-18-2012, 01:33 AM
<- Mother of the child Sarlon is talking about.
We are going to see what she has in toys before actually buying any. I also know if I ask the Little bit which toys she wants to keep over at Sarlons, She'll probably pick a few.