I have been a big fan of Lamaze toys since my daughter received a few as christening presents when she was about 8 months old. Due to her undeveloped skills at such a young age it was refreshing to see her playing with something that seemed to bring a bit of excitement to her play mat and bouncy chair. The simplest and most effective of this range of toy was the activity knot. Though simple in design it was one of the more played with toys when Amelia was very young and subsequently has been stored in the attic for baby number two rather than gifted to one of my new mummy friends.
The knot is basically just that. A large knot of brightly coloured soft rope like arms with different activities attached to them. Teething rings, a rattle and a mirror (of decent size) are all easily accessible for my little girl to explore. She loved to shake the knot to hear the rattling noise and the look of wonder on her face when she spotted herself in the mirror is a memory I will treasure. Like all Lamaze toys the knot comes with a hook so it can be easily attached to the pram and play mat. This means I can pop it in the pram with her whilst I walk into town and not worry about it being dropped over the side.
What I particularly like about the know is that it is machine washable, I have been concerned to wash some of the toys for fear of running them, but after constant use of the teether's I decided that the very dribbly knot needed a wash. I put it on a quick cool wash setting and It came out lovely. Dried very quickly out on the line and was back on the play mat before my little one had time to realise it was gone.
A brilliant, high quality toy at an affordable price that provides hours on entertainment until my little one learnt to crawl. A good first year toy. Highly recommended.
Baby JJ was a very lucky little boy this Christmas, instead of a single large toy, Santa bought him lots of little toys, many of which fall within the Lamaze brand. Although he has enjoyed exploring each of these toys in turn, one in particular has proved to be a firm favourite, inducing excited smiles and giggles every time it is brought out to play with. Having thoroughly entranced nine week old Baby JJ over the last week, the Lamaze Activity Knot (aka Tug and Play Knot) has earned itself a permanent position hanging from the toy bar of Baby JJ's bouncy chair, where it can be grabbed, batted, smiled at and chatted to for several hours a day.
Lamaze has something of a reputation when it comes to baby toys, they produce a range of brightly coloured toys that incorporate textures and sounds that help encourage baby to practise all important skills while having fun. In my experience these toys are also incredibly well made and safe for even the youngest baby while also stimulating the older baby and toddler. While not as exciting looking (to my adult eyes) as some of the Lamaze toys, as far as Baby JJ goes it certainly does fulfil all expectations.
Hanging from a white clip/hook is a knot with three double ended strands that can be slid through and have an activity at each end. The knot, strands and activities are cleverly designed so that the activities can be pulled on and brought closer to baby, without any worry that the strand will come free. We find the clip especially handy as a way of allowing Baby JJ to access this toy independently, we can use it to hang the knot from his crib or the car seat handle or, as is most common, the toy bar on his bouncy chair so that it is within his reach.
The knot itself is packed full of different textures for Baby JJ to explore and rewards for his burgeoning hand/eye coordination and social skills. The very first activity that caught his eye was the baby safe mirror, which is triangular and has very little in the way of distortion, meaning that Baby JJ knew he was looking at a face. Baby JJ noticed this face almost as soon as the wrapping paper cane off and was immediately smiling, laughing and cooing at the baby and he was (and still is) very impressed that the baby knew the "sticking tongue out" game. While the mirror is definitely Baby JJ's favourite activity, he's not quite as impressed with plush material that backs it, even though said material features high contrast stripes that are designed to grab a very young baby's attention.
Baby JJ's next favourite activity is the pair of clanking rings, that are the perfect size for him to grab hold of and shake. He fell asleep, earlier today holding on to these hard textured rings and seems to love using them to make the ball at the opposite end of the strand jingle. The ball features two different textures of material and Baby JJ loves it when the soft fuzzy material is stroked on his hand or face. There are also three silky knotted strands on the ball that Baby JJ can grab hold of if the ball is closer to him than the rings. Although he can't manage to work it himself (and won't be able to for some time to come), Baby JJ also loves the squeaker hidden in the star. He thinks it's really funny if Mummy or Daddy squeaks it and likes to be helped to explore the bumpy material covering it. I can't say that Baby JJ is too enamoured with the final two activities, because at the moment he simply is not. He doesn't seem to like the feel of the furry triangle, even though it hides the crinkly material he normally loves to feel and he is just too young to be able to appreciate the star teether.
At just nine weeks old, Baby JJ has a definite love of all his Lamaze toys and a definite preference for his Knot. He will happily spend a good quarter of an hour at a time playing with it and I can state with certainty that this toy has helped his development over the last week as he has learnt to grab for and hold on to toys. The Knot definitely appears to have been designed with this in mind as there are plenty of appropriately sized pieces for him to grab hold of. It is also designed to respond to the lightest of bats by jingling and clanking, meaning that Baby JJ's first attempts at this type of play were rewarded and he was encouraged to repeat and refine the action.
As much as Baby JJ loves this Knot and how much it is helping his development now, I can't help but think that it is also a toy that he is going continue to enjoy and benefit from for some months to come. There are lots of different textures that he is yet to explore and when he starts teething there is the actual teether along with the clanking rings and the silky knots for him to gnaw on for comfort. With this toy potentially having such a long life, it's a good thing that Lamaze have taken notice of feedback and changed to materials used from sponge clean only to hand wash. I've not yet had to wash the whole knot, but I did managed to clean some milky sick by rinsing under the tap and then stuck the knot on a radiator to dry (put a towel underneath so it's not direct heat).
The Lamaze Activity Knot is proof that you do not have to spend a lot of money to give a young baby a lot of pleasure. I paid just over £7 for this in November and it really has proved to be a firm favourite. This is a toy that I would definitely recommend if you have a baby from newborn to about six months and are stuck on ideas of what to buy with that Christmas money, or if you are looking for a gift for a new baby or, perhaps, a christening present.
My daughter who is almost 6 months old has a growing range of Lamaze toys in her toy collection, and I have to say that with the exception of one or two products, I find Lamaze produce a brilliant range of bright colourful baby toys that always capture my baby's attention. My daughter was actually given this Lamaze Activity Knot, not long after she was born, but it was a while before she even looked at it.
This activity knot costs just under £7 on the likes of amazon. As with most Lamaze products, there is a large white round hook that allows you to attach this toy to a buggy or car seat. This activity knot, according to Lamaze, is perfect for building coordination and strength and should encourage two handed play. It is also classified by Lamaze as a 'tug and play' activity knot as what you can't see from the picture is that each of the long parts that feed through the central knot can be tugged and pulled through very easily by baby.
At the end of each of the long parts feeding through the knots is something for baby to play with. THere is a choice of star teether, a mirror, a soft textured triangle, a round soft rattle with little hanging strings, another flower shaped textured shape, and two teething rings. You could say therefore that this toy really does provide everything for a baby to play with.
My daughter is teething at the moment, and is trying to get relief by really gnawing on anything and everything she can get her hands on. For about the first five months of her life, she showed very little interest in this knot, even if I jingled it beside her, or offered her the teething rings attached to it. However, she is now sitting in her high chair at meal times and I have a few toys for her to play with whilst my husband and I have our dinner, and this has now become one of her favourites. She hasn't mastered the ability yet to tug the long parts through the knot, but she loves the star teether and the two rings, and the rattle as well. In fact, she will just about chew on it all. When I put a selection of toys on the high chair table this is the one, at the moment that she will pick out first.
All in all, despite my daughter showing little interest at the beginning in this product which I was initially surprised at, as it was very colourful with rattles and teethers galore, however, she has now taken to this toy exceptionally well and loves chewing on each and every part of it. THe fact that she hasn't mastered tugging the parts through the knot means that this toy still has potential to encourage her further development. I am very glad that my daughter received this toy after she was born and it is certainly worth every penny for the enjoyment she gets out of it.