5 Amazing Toddler Games from Haba

Oh Germany! What an abundance of high-quality, sturdy family games that are both simple yet innovative. Starting from 18 months to adulthood, German company Haba offers a wide variety of board games (amongst toys, furniture, dolls and play rugs) that can be played alone, in pairs or as a group. To be honest – I did not expect that board games would be available for Bean until she was at least 4 or 5 years old, save for memory games and color sorting, until a friend showed me Haba’s threading game for toddlers. I was hooked – and expanded Bean’s board game collection. All of these are available in different languages – here are 5 that we love to play with Bean.

1. Bärenhunger (English version : Hungry as a Bear)

Currently one of Bean’s favorites, this nifty game requires players to “feed” the cardboard bear whatever food appears on the dice. The game is great for hand-eye coordination and recognizing different foods – blueberries, spinach, strawberries, carrots, potatoes and rice. The game ends when the Bear is fully “fed” and the plate is empty.

2. Fische Angeln (English: Here Fishy, Fishy)

Remember those old-school battery-operated rotating fishing games? Well Haba made a durable version for 2+ years old onwards that is not a choking hazard. The game has several components that build on each as the child grows older. With a roll of the dice, you fish differently colored items out of the box, aiming to complete a puzzle where each piece corresponds to one type of fish.

3. Tier auf Tier (Animal upon Animal)

A balancing game available in four different versions, ranging from toddler to adults, Tier auf Tier involves stacking different animals Jenga-style until the tower topples over. We have the travel (pictured above) and original version, and both are equally fun with the kiddo or after a dinner with friends. Bonus: great for learning animals too!

4. Fädelspiel (English version: Threading Game)

Any game that can be converted to a travel one is okay in my books. Haba‘s threading games come with little pouches that make the game easy to carry around – whether in transit or at your destination. Available in themes ranging from ‘My Favorite Toys’ (pictured) to ‘Zoo Animals’ to ‘Construction’, the colorful wooden pieces, thick string and accompanying puzzles make this an ideal introductory game to 18 month olds and above.

5. Die Post ist Da! (English version: Mail for You!)

This game gave me a serious hit of nostalgia – mainly because so much communication takes place over social media and email, rather than letters. Consisting of a cardboard house, a yellow wooden post truck and colorful little envelopes, the objective of the game is to deliver the right mail to the right ‘house’, denoted by four different colors. What I enjoy about this game is that the mail has two sides – it can be delivered to the house according to color, or according to the objects found in the various houses!

Enjoy!

Products and images taken from Amazon.de. 

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5 More Rainy Day Activities

Or activities for when it gets really hot in summer and it’s cooler to stay indoors. Here are five more things for your toddler to enjoy with things that can be found around the house.

Bean’s age: 21 months

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It’s called abstract, mom

Bean has the IKEA MALA stamp set – though this activity works with any stamps. Just grab a blank piece of paper and let them get to work. This combines color, mess and that loud “THUNK” sound that toddlers seems to love so much.

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Feathers and glue – what a combination!
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The trusty colander returns…

Feathers can be found at any dollar or craft store. We’ve been using Bean’s for several activities and these two are the ones she found more enjoyable. The first involves making glue dots on a piece of construction paper and letting Bean stick one feather to one dot of glue. The second activity featured our trusty colander – poking feathers through the holes.

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Office stationery has a make over.

Direct the stickers onto paper instead of the glass dining table. We used everyday office notice stickers as they are colorful, easy to handle and easy to peel off.

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Jewellery in progress.

The timeless macaroni necklace. We used pipe cleaners (since we had a big bag of them anyways – why not reuse them?) and dried rigatoni as they have big holes to thread through. Bean found this activity so engaging that she made three necklaces – one for herself, one for her doll, and one for me!

A Montessori Kitchen (1)

The kitchen! A wonderland of sharp knives, hot ovens and drawers, drawers, drawers. Not to mention the laser-like precision of Bean’s finger into the pot of bubbling soup. Luckily, there are relatively easy ways to avoid kitchen mishaps – and they involve including kiddo in the meal prep. Here are 3 ways that have (so far) rendered Bean’s attempts to help…helpful!

Bean’s age: 21 months

1. The Vegetable “Knife”

This compact kitchen tool, meant to crinkle-cut hard vegetables, has the perfect, non-slip grip for small hands, and a dulled edge. We started with softer fruit (bananas, strawberries and avocado) before slowly working towards harder ones.

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Maximum concentration…
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Success!

2. Peeling Eggs

A great exercise in patience and motor skills. After the hard-boiled eggs have been cooled down in ice water, the shells almost slide off. Direct the removed shells into a discard bowl to encourage tidiness.

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Peel, peel, peel
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One down, one to go.

3. The Egg-Cutter

Also known as an egg slicer, this handy tool can take food preparation one step further. The eggs from activity number 2 made their way into our egg slicer and Bean was extremely proud of the results.

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Cutting the egg!
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Ready to be added to salad.

4. Jam and Toast

We used the blunt kid’s knife from IKEA to encourage Bean to make her own breakfast. Straight-forward, though prepare for some mess!

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Into the jam pot…
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…and onto the slice of toast

 

Pompoms and Pipe Cleaners

Who knew elementary school arts and crafts could be so versatile? Combining tactile play (those pom poms are so soft!), color sorting, and the use of the trusty kitchen colander, these inexpensive art supplies can be revisited again and again on rainy days, sick days, or days when you’re too tired to haul the kiddo out. Here are 4 activities that Bean found enjoyable.

Bean’s age: 20 months

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Pompom Color Sorting

Grab any combination of plastic bowls, tupper ware or containers to sort the different colored pompoms into. Bonus round: sorting by size instead of color!

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Pompoms into a Bottle

Bean enjoys dropping random objects into bottles – keys, biscuits, bottle caps. She took the lead on this one as soon as I gave her one of our many empty plastic bottles. We started with the smallest pompoms first, then worked our way up. Bonus round : shaking all the pompoms out!

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Pompom and Glueing

Our final activity with the pompoms for the day. Grab a blank sheet or paper and dot it with craft glue. Place one pompom to each dot of glue. Instant toddler art!

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Here’s my trusty colander…

As for the pipe cleaners – the colander has just the right-sized holes to poke each pipe cleaner through. Alternate by focusing on different sections or specific pipe cleaner colors. Bonus round : removing all the pipe cleaners!

4 (Indoor) Rainy Day Activities

Cabin fever? Rain, rain, go away? If you’re as fortunate as us to live in a country with four seasons – including the incredibly awkward North European Spring – then here are 4 activities to keep the kiddo entertained with items around the house.

Bean’s age : 19 months

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Carton and Bottle Tops

We used : 1 glass bottle, 1 glass jar, 1 yoghurt container and 2 milk cartons. Easy to assemble and helps with practical skills.

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Dried Food Sensory Play

Food appears in two forms – cooked and uncooked. Bean found the latter fascinating. We used: rice, lentils and three types of pasta (fusilli, penne and fregula).

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Playdough, playdough

Old cookie cutters return to save the day! We used a set from Ikea to make playdough shapes.

Playdough 6-pack : Flying Tiger
Stainless steel cookie cutters: IKEA

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Stickers and Crayons

If you have any stickers lying around, then you could offer them to your toddler to create “art”. Combine drawing with sticking to keep things interesting.

Flower sticker pack : Flying Tiger
Watercolor crayons : Flying Tiger