Play Squares for Babies

I’ve been getting a lot of people saying that they will save my projects for when their babies get a little older.  But what about the babies?  They need to have some fun too!  When my twins were little, I didn’t have much time to make toys, but I was always thinking about what I would create if I did have the time.  So now I’m going to start turning those ideas into reality.  Plus, we’re expecting to play with a new niece soon, so that will be a good source of inspiration!

Now on to the toy.  When the twins were teething, my mom made them some drool bibs.  I remember being fascinated by the fact that they played with these bibs more than any other toy.  They liked the soft colorful material, but mostly they loved the tactile feel of the tiny piece of velcro.  So this morning I made these simple stackable squares of material that are fun to rip apart and interact with.

These squares are sturdy and washable. To make them, I folded a rectangle in half, and sewed around two of the open edges, (leaving one edge open). Then I turned the square right-side out, tucked in the open edge, and sewed around all four edges. Then I sewed a piece of velcro onto each side so they all stick together. Done!


  1. Secret Mommy
    May 16, 2010 at 12:11 am

    How come everything you do is just so simple and amazing and awesome??? I think my 5 month old AND 2 year old would dig this! (In fact, when I'm sewing, my 2 year old always says, "Can I make something, too, Mom?" Thanks for another TERRIFIC idea. :)

  2. CMTT
    May 16, 2010 at 12:28 am

    Brilliant! Will make for my eight-month-old. She'll love it! You are too clever.

  3. Catherine Hansen Peart
    May 16, 2010 at 12:35 am

    This is so simple it is genius. I am so happy I found your blog. Really inspirational.

  4. Emily
    May 16, 2010 at 12:36 am

    I LOVE this! It will be a great easy craft for my scraps - and a great little gift for nieces and nephews.

    Your blog is awesome. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Kickcan and Conkers
    May 16, 2010 at 12:39 am

    Less is more - a simple, clever idea - my kids would have loved it. Totally smitten!

  6. Joel Henriques
    May 16, 2010 at 1:31 am

    Thanks everybody!

  7. Sue
    May 16, 2010 at 2:52 am

    Truly brilliant! I love this idea!

  8. Minna
    May 16, 2010 at 5:50 am

    Once again: brilliant idea. Thank´s !

  9. Lori Henriques
    May 16, 2010 at 7:45 am

    Dude! The design is so simple & brilliant. And the colors - so pleasing you could frame it.

  10. at swim-two-birds
    May 16, 2010 at 9:18 am

    so simple and clever, love it!
    Malevich for babies :-)

  11. wabili
    May 16, 2010 at 10:01 am

    So great!!
    I'll make it as quickly as I'll be able to. Thank you so much... I can't wait for the other ideas!
    Marine (from France)

  12. Kateyboo
    May 16, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Again, another great post!! I'll be linking to your site!

  13. Saddie
    May 16, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    I love this! I think I'll have to stuff some of the squares with something crinkly and use some funky textured cloth on others. I think that denim you used would be so pleasant for teething gums.

  14. Alexandra Durão
    May 16, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    So simple, but beautiful :-)

  15. Lauren
    May 17, 2010 at 2:00 am

    Love it!!!! So doing this tonight....quick question though, once you turned it out and had the raw edge (in the pic that looked like a pocket) did you tuck in the edge or just sew it as is??? Did that make sense? Lauren from Sydney :)

  16. Joel Henriques
    May 17, 2010 at 2:38 am


    at swim-two-birds - yeah, it does have a Malevich vibe doesn't it. cool.

    Lauren - yes, I tucked in the raw edges, and used a iron to kind of press it before I sewed it. you could use pins it you wanted too.

  17. Anonymous
    May 17, 2010 at 3:17 am

    Great idea- I love it. Thanks.

  18. Joel Henriques
    May 17, 2010 at 5:29 am

    Yes Saddie, some crinkle in there is a great idea. And yeah, I think these would be great for teething. Especially the denim.

  19. Mother Lode
    May 17, 2010 at 6:05 am

    These are brilliant - babies will LOVE them! I just whipped up two sets, one for my boy, and another for the great Sew, Mama, Sew! giveaway day that kicks off tomorrow, May 17th - go here for a chance to win one from me:

    Mother Lode

  20. Mother Lode
    May 17, 2010 at 6:07 am

    P.S. - I used the plastic lining from our empty raisin bran box to add crinkle - it's a food grade plastic, so should be safer than other suggestions I've seen, like the empty package from baby wipes.

  21. ElisabethB
    May 17, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Thank you Joel for this so nice and so simple idea ! I am a french children minder (3 babies!) and I will sew very quickly this toy.....three time ;-) !

  22. Joel Henriques
    May 17, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    Mother Lode - Those look great! I like the bran box crinkle idea. wonder if they would still wash ok. probably right? maybe just hang dry though.

  23. Effie
    May 17, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    another great idea! I made something alike .. but just one square with labels attached to them to play with:
    The combination of both is something I will try when another baby is born ;-)

  24. Mother Lode
    May 18, 2010 at 3:22 am

    yes, I'd definitely suggest hang dry with the plastic inside, good point!

  25. modernmaam
    May 19, 2010 at 2:48 am

    Oh thank you! I'm happy to know you haven't forgotten about those of us who may have not started quite yet! ;) More of these please, Joel!

  26. Aline
    May 23, 2010 at 7:05 am

    Oh, great idea! Reminds me the Montessori pink tower!

  27. Patty-Cake Manners
    May 30, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Really cute, and so simple!!

  28. nattles
    June 2, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    did you use canvas or a certain type of fabric?

  29. Joel Henriques
    June 2, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    Thanks everybody!

    nattles - I used a variety of material. The cream color is a natural denim, the blue and black are a sturdy canvas, and the others are just soft cotton. Any material will work. I was mainly choosing by color for this project.

  30. craftylittlemonkey
    June 6, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    I like them! You could make a lazy version by serging, zigzagging or pinking the raw edges instead of turning them under. Or you could sew on some bias binding, that's a fun way to add even more colour!
    You might like the look of taggy blankets, they are so simple to make and babies love, Love LOVE all the bits of ribbon. My small girl liked the tags way more than the toy every time!
    This is what I'm talking about

  31. Joel Henriques
    June 8, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    craftylittlemonkey - Thanks! Those are some great looking tag blankets. I've got to try something like that. Yeah, Jack and Tess loved the tags on things too. Anything that was surprising to them (pieces of velcro - like on these baby squares) they liked.

  32. Miss Muffin
    June 18, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    I just discovered your blog and so far I LOVE IT! Too bad I did not come across it before as I was searching the web for a cute black and white mobile for babies ... and did not really find anything neat. But I will make my boy (7months old) these play squares. I am sure he will love them. At the moments he keeps eating my finished quilt blocks ... so maybe if I make him some of his own that'll save my sewing. :-)
    Thanks so much for this idea!!!
    Looking forward to more baby-related ideas!

  33. Kerry Ann
    July 13, 2010 at 6:22 am

    what a fantastic idea. I love it. Thank you! My friend recommended your blog to me, I'm printing your templates now to make paper city and a fish tank with my boys. And the marble run. And the mobile. We live in Phoenix, it is so hot now this is great to have such fun creative ideas. Thank you. :)

  34. Jana @ The Summer House
    January 28, 2011 at 2:03 am

    You sew too!?! I love the simplicity of this! You have a gift and its great to see you using it.

  35. Jennifer Bundy
    January 28, 2011 at 2:35 am

    This is a great idea- one thing you could add to it if you wanted, would be to put a "crinkly" sounding thing in the middle of some of the layers. I have heard of people cutting the wipes wrappers and putting them in the squares. Just sew and x (from corner to corner) to keep it in place. I think I might have to get mine made soon! Thanks!

  36. Joel Henriques
    January 28, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Thanks everyone!

    Jana @ The Summer House - I'm not that great of a sewer yet, but kids toys are far more forgiving that clothes!

    Jennifer Bundy - Nice idea with the wipe wrappers! I left mine empty inside, so they could be washed and dried. With the wrappers though, they could of course be washed, then dried flat. I'll have to try that on my next set!

  37. AnnaPK
    February 17, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    I made these yesterday for soon-to-be-born niece. They were simple and came out awesome! I did them in red, blue and green flannel. My s-i-l is going to love them!
    THANK YOU for everything you share!!!!!

  38. October 2, 2012 at 3:53 am

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