I absolutely love this activity and both my kids will sit and play with these for hours on end. The best thing about things like this is that you may not even have to buy anything to prepare it, just have a look in those forgotten drawers and jewellery boxes! We first saw a toy like this at our local SureStart centre and my son has loved it since he was a baby.
A simple kitchen roll holder or mug tree and a selection of bangles, beaded bracelets, selotape rolls, anything you like that they can use to stack. For some reason they really enjoy it and it's great for those fine motor skills, especially if they want to have it perfectly straight!
My local charity shop had a 'fill a bag for £3' promotion a little while ago and I finally got a proper stash of bangles, after giving mine away years ago and making do with a selection of random items. We have a huge range now of all different materials, textures and weights which S at 18 months likes to stack/wear and A, aged 4 years likes to sort into groups and stack - or play hoopla with.
Just looking at all the colours and feeling all the different textures is quite therapeutic, even for adults!
The more items you can add to the tower the better. It's a good idea to put requests on free sites or to friends on Facebook for all their unwanted costume jewellery. You can get pretty good sets of bangles in the pound shops too, along with the kitchen roll holder itself, though I borrowed ours from the kitchen!
So there we have it, a simple home made toy suitable for all ages, that you can probably make just by using things around the house that you already have. Lots of fun to be had and perfect for babies that are just sitting up. Before that stage you could thread the thinner bangles onto a keyring hoop for them to fiddle with instead, they will love the cold feel of the metal and rattling sounds as they clash together.
Do you have a tot that would love the bangle tower?