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Friday, November 25, 2016

Living with an Infant- PLAY with IKEA

It's been 3 months, and I'm now back with another collaboration post with IKEA! You can read about our home furnishing journey with IKEA here and here. It's amazing to be able to read back at those two posts and see how Tyler has grown significantly over the months. In just 2 weeks, he'll be turning one and I still can't accept that! My baby is turning one!! 😭

This time, instead of sharing about home furnishing for infants, I'll be talking about PLAY! I'm a huge believer that babies, as young as they are, know how to learn through their surroundings. They see, touch and feel everything around them, and are always absorbing like a sponge. 

Quoting an article I read by National Geographic, "At birth the brain has nearly a hundred billion neurons, as many as in adulthood. As the baby grows, receiving a flood of sensory input, neurons get wired to other neurons, resulting in some hundred trillion connections by age three."

I also read somewhere before that babies are born with hundred billions of neurons in the brain, but if they're left unstimulated or "unused", they'll just gradually die as they age. Hahaha that's a layman interpretation by me 😅 So it is very vital that from birth, we help our babies develop their minds- and one of the best ways to do it is through PLAY.

Quoting one of my favourite websites- "Play is crucial for your child's social, emotional, physical, and cognitive growth. It's your child's way of learning about his body and the world, and he'll use all five senses to do it, especially in the first year." And I cannot agree more. Boon and I have seen how Tyler learns and grows through playing, and by playing, it can mean with anything and everything! Especially if they are something new to him, such as...

Straws 😅
Yay to cheap thrills! Hahaha

Toy basket 😅
To be one with his toys 😂

Balloons 🎈
One of his absolute favourites since he was like, 2 months old!

Water 💦
Loving bath time since birth! Now he'll slap the water and make us soaking wet when we bathe him 😑

And so much more! Literally anything and everything can serve as a toy and keep him quiet for a while. Some of his favourite things are remote controls, our phones, labels of clothes/pillows/anything, grass, etc..

Having said that, we recognise the fact that nothing beats toys that are well-thought and designed to aid children's learning. Sure, remote controls could be fun to play with since they're considered "forbidden", but besides pressing some buttons and putting them into his mouth, there's nothing much he can do with it.

But for toys that are specially designed for specific age groups, child experts and psychologists spend hours building and designing toys that can truly stimulate the mind. They can be found in various toy stores everywhere, including IKEA!

We used to just walk pass the kids toys area when Tyler was just a few months old, thinking it'd be a long, long way more til he actually knows how to play with toys. Well, look at us now. We're talking about play time with toys! Time surely flies 😭 Now we're joining other enthusiastic parents studying and picking out the best toys for our babies.

With that in mind, Boon and I decided to create a toy area for Tyler where it's safe for him to crawl and roll around, and where all his toys can be in one place! That calls for a trusty playpen!

Always excited whenever he enters his playpen. Whenever we reach home, I'll carry Tyler close to his playpen and ask him if he wants to go in to play. Without a doubt he would propel himself forward and crawl excitedly to his toys. What a sight 😍

Happy boy taking a break from playing to take a peek at mama and papa getting ready to head out 🙂

Let me share with you some of Tyler's favourite toys from IKEA!

Firstly, it's his BUSA Play Tunnel (RM49.90)!

Initially, Boon and I were a little hesitant about getting this because we felt he might not know how to play with it yet. And it's a bit hard to "teach" Tyler to go into the tunnel cos he doesn't really understand or take instructions very well yet. But we wanted to just get it cos we know he'll enjoy this play tunnel sooner or later, and so we did. We placed it in the playpen to let him familiarise himself with it, thinking it might take him a few days to be accustomed to it and figure out how to go in and out.


I was posting something on my phone when Boon walked out of the kitchen exclaiming, "Dear, where is Tyler???" I immediately got a shock and stood up from the couch, both of us frantically searching for Tyler in the playpen and thinking how he could have escaped. Then, we saw the play tunnel moving and this face peeped out of it...

Like this 😱
I heaved a hugeeeee sigh of relief and quickly whipped out my phone to take pics of him. Hahahah gave us a heart attack!

So he proved us both wrong. He did NOT need a few days to get accustomed to it, and he did NOT need anyone to teach him how to play. Children just have this natural instinct to play and figure out how things work! Felt silly for underestimating him! 😌

Every parent would recognise the MULA Bead Roller Coaster (RM39.90) because it is one of the most popular toys from IKEA!

Here's another toy that we thought might be too early for Tyler to know how to play with since it's recommended for kids aged 18 months and above, and Tyler was only 11 months at that time.

Little did we know he would be so curious with it, and could figure out how to play with it after a few minutes of fidgeting around with it. We underestimated him again! 😅 

Of course, not all toys are simple enough to be figured out by an 11-month old. The MULA Shape Sorter (RM19.90) requires parents' guidance in showing them how it's supposed to be played with. Else he would be playing with it like this:

"Yay new toys!" 😃👏

"Oh what is that green thing over there?" 🤔

"Is it a mask?" 🤔

"Or is it a hat?" 🤔

"I know! It's an inverted roof! Nailed it!" 😎🙌

It's quite funny to see him play with it in his own creative ways! But of course to fully realise the toy's potential (lol), we gotta teach him how to play with it properly.

Had to show him by leading him with his hands to insert the right shapes into the right molds. After several tries, he knew that the shapes were supposed to be inserted into the little wooden house.

Well, he still doesn't nail it every single time, but great job my love! At least he know how to play with it now! 😀

Well, it's not all #SuccessStories. I tried teaching Tyler to stack the MULA Stacking Rings (RM29.90) together, but all he wanted to do was...

Take out the top and throw away 😅

Then we introduced the LILLABO Toy Vehicles (RM29.90) to him, which interested him a lot cos they have wheels and they look complicated enough to make him stay curious 😂

Last but not the least, the MULA Building Beakers (RM6.90)
Which he only wanted to demolish! 😂

From this experience, we learned which types of toys interested him, and which doesn't (yet). And we also learned that we shouldn't underestimate our children's ability to learn on their own. We don't have to guide them in everything. If the toys are educational by design, our kids will eventually figure out how to play with them, or at least, in their own creative ways 😅

So I guess this marks the start of a house full of toys! Which is something Boon and I have been waiting for cos we understand how play is so, very important for a fun and healthy childhood. We had plenty of different types of toys to play with growing up, and we want the same happy childhood that we had for Tyler as well.

Having said that, not every child is fortunate enough to be given toys to play with. There are millions and millions of children trying to survive every day in poverty stricken and war torn countries, who have not played with a single toy in their lives. As a parent, I now feel even more strongly for the less fortunate children, and I'm very proud to share that IKEA is making an initiative to give these children a chance to PLAY.

IKEA's latest campaign- LET'S PLAY FOR CHANGE will be running from 20 November - 24 December 2016, where every children's book and toy sold within this period of time, the IKEA Foundation will donate RM4.60 (One Euro equivalent) supporting children's play and development, because play is a basic need, and every child has a right to it under the UN conventions on the Right of the child.

The IKEA Foundation has partnered with some of the most prominent NGOs on this topic: Handicap International, Room to Read, Save the Children, Special Olympics, UNICEF, and War Child. The partner programs funded by the campaign will focus on creating safe spaces for vulnerable children to play and develop. You can find out more at

You can also participate in the Give Twice initiative, where you can donate newly purchased children products at IKEA's Give Twice box located after the Check-Outs. Donations will go to Association of Registered Childcare Providers Malaysia. For more info on Give Twice, click HERE!

I love it when brands think outside of business and use their voices to bless the less fortunate. With this little gesture of simply purchasing books/toys, you can potentially change the lives of children who do not have the luxury of playing with toys.

The Christmas season is just around the corner, so it is the perfect time to buy these books/toys as gifts to bless someone's children, and at the same time, bless the children who will be beaming at the sight of toys for them to play with.

Spread the word, and let's get shopping for a good cause! :)

Till the next update!

love, Careen.
This post is filed under AdvertorialLifestyleFamily.


  1. Hello, may I know where you got your play pen fence from? Thanks!


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