I haven't been able to take many 'spectacular' pictures lately but I'm posting the ones I have taken a few days ago. Esme and I were playing in her play area, with all the toys and books etc...
Esme has a lot of toys, but the kicker is only one of them is electronic. I really don't like all the electronics in baby toys I see on the store shelf. Why does a ball need to beep and have batteries? Can't a puzzle just be regular wooden pieces without magnets and electronic 'You did It' alarms going off when it gets in the right place? For Esme, the best baby toys require Mom or Dad as a major component of the fun. And then we aren't playing too, she is trying to remember what we did together and try it again herself.
Here is how Esme plays at one:
We have several plastic shelves she climbs on to look out the windows. She has fun with the gates too, hanging things over them and sticking things through them - and piling toys up on the bed from the floor and dragging them back down again. She digs in the drawers she can reach and puts lots of stuff in there only to pull it back out. When we let her run all over the house she has certain 'hot spots' of stuff she plays with - our hardware bucket full of carabiners, a calculator, a bucket from the kitchen, shampoo bottles in the bathroom etc... and lots of magnetic letters on the fridge.
She loves board books, paging through them herself and pointing at things while babbling. She has several large and small balls to bounce, roll and carry. She has a sorter box with shaped blocks that is a current favorite and today I gave her a small amount of large wooden blocks to try to stack and build with.
Coffee Can: Yes, a clean metal coffee can (watch for sharp edges, this one doesn't have any). She puts things in it and dumps them out. She turns it upside down and bangs on the bottom like a drum. She bangs other things on it and makes a different noise. She rolls it. She picks it up and drops it making a pleasant 'GONG' noise.
Fly Swatter: Don't ask me why but she loves this toy. It is just an average 96 cent fly swatter made of plastic but she often carries it around. She 'pushes', 'slaps' and 'taps' things with it to see what will happen. In adult terms she doesn't get much accomplished but in baby terms it is a great exploration tool.
Sleigh bells: I bought a leather doorhanger that has big sleigh bells sewn onto it. It is hanging up on the gate and she comes up and has great fun ringing it.
She has lots of other miscellaneous things but right now she is most interested in seeing new things (exploring), hearing songs, reading and looking through books, banging things on other things to see what they sound like and sorting things. I'm not always sure what logic she is using when she sorts - but she gets very busy about it.
We also play games like 'Where is Esme' when we cover her (or us) up with a blanket, shirt etc. and 'Chase/Follow' and simple things like 'bring that to mommy' or 'baby hug!' She loves any kind of music and watches movies intently when we put them in. We don't play the TV or music 24/7 - just when we are going to watch something. I don't like the idea of a TV as a babysitter. In fact, it's a little scary how intent she can get on a movie and forget to do anything else!