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making the most out of play {Milestones & Miracles}

side viewIf you put a baby in my arms a year ago I wouldn’t know what to do with it. My experience with babies was limited to long, silent stares between us and a slick hand-off back to the closest person next to me. I had no clue how to interact or play with children under the age of 4, and that’s why I was thrilled when I came across Milestones & Miracles. It was like they specifically had me in mind when they thought up their great product.

Playing with our children is so important. These days there is so much promotion of educational milestones that parents feel pressured to have their babies reading by 18 months. While we do want our children to be the smartest, brightest stars in the group, the heavy focus on educational milestones in our culture is inevitably taking a toll on the developmental milestones.

Research supports that developmental, creative, and unstructured playtime actually makes children smarter. Developed by longtime friends (a speech-language pathologist and physical therapist), the 1-2-3 Just Play With Me product is a set of play cards with information and activities that encourage developmental milestones from birth to 3 years. The set is filled with 75 cards sectioned by age range and color coded by each domain of child development (fine and gross motor, speech and language, cognitive, and social/emotional). The cards are made of a flexible plastic, similar to a really nice deck of cards, but thicker. So when you happen to find one submerged in water (like I did), it’s not going to come out damaged or ruined.

cardsMy son was 8 months old when ours arrived, so we skipped past all the newborn activities. One of the first cards we picked out was from the “thinking and learning” stage. According to the  front of the card, my son was able to recognize family members and pets by name, and the back of the card displayed a little game to play by asking him where someone is and see if he can find that person by looking with his eyes. I thought there was no way. No way my little 8 month old new who was who. But he did! I said “ok, Presley, wheeere’s Zina!?” And his little eyes darted straight to our dog! I was amazed, and it’s now one of our favorite games to play. He laughs in hysterics every time he finds the person, and it’s really helped him bond with his cousins. My 5 year old nieces love seeing Baby Presley look for them and it always ends in lots of giggles on both ends.

But 1-2-3 Just Play With Me isn’t just about playtime – it goes beyond that. It’s about creating a strong bond and bridging a communication gap between you and your child. Like understanding the different cries of a newborn, or how to encourage sharing when they’re in the dreaded “MINE” phase. I love flipping through the cards to see what I’m in for next! Always. Be. Prepared. There are also toy recommendations for home and when you’re on the go. Like bouncy balls, play-dough, magnets… simple things that can pack a lot of fun. Who woulda thunk you could pack 3 years of expert advice and tips into a 7″x7″ box? Milestones & Miracles did.set

I can’t think of a more perfect baby shower gift. This is seriously one of the coolest baby/kid products I’ve ever come across, and for the next 2 weeks Milestones & Miracles is taking $2 off, no discount code needed. Order yours now through their website before you (or your friend) pops!

Product was provided by Milestones & Miracles to facilitate this review; all opinions are 100% my own.

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