While I’m celebrating the arrival of baby Max with my family, I’ve asked some friends to fill in for me on the blog. Our second guest blogger is Brandi from Little Brim Baby. I can’t recall where I first met Brandi, but I follow her on both Twitter and Instagram. Since she writes a baby gear review blog, I thought she’d be the perfect person to share her top 10 infant toys.
From the moment I found out I was expecting my first child, I have done painstaking research on everything having to do with pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, baby gear, and parenting. My son is now fifteen months old, and last year I decided to launch my first website, Little Brim Baby, to share my research and reviews with other parents with the goal of finding the best products for our families. We have focused on reviewing and highlighting the items that we have found to be the most helpful and useful.
Now that I am currently in the toddler-rearing phase, I thought I would take a look back at the top ten infant toys that were the most popular with my son–and we have tried them all. Sophie la Girafe is one of the most gifted baby shower and infant toy items, so we have excluded her from our list for now. Hopefully this will introduce you to a few mostly inexpensive items that have lead to months of entertainment in our home.
My List of Top 10 Infant Toys (other than Sophie la Girafe)
1. Haba Rosella Clutching Toy. $16.This smiling little face will cheer up any infant. My son loves to clack her back and forth, using the wooden discs as play for his exploring fingers. He gnaws on her head and arms and seems to generally just enjoy her company.
2. Sassy Grasp and Glow Developmental Toy. $7. I will always have a special place in my heart for this toy as it was the first “cause and effect” toy my son responded to. He loved watching the rotating ball light up each time he would touch or spin it. This was also a great toy for nighttime road trips in keeping him entertained.
3. Activity Gym. $150. We had an activity gym that was packed with vivid, bright colors, with different prints throughout the entire bars and floor mat. The toys were each stimulation-packed and, in retrospect, probably too much so. It had cost $80 and was frustrating to put together and disassemble to wash and it was difficult to add and remove new toys due to the tiny loops. I would have loved to have something just as entertaining for baby, but simple and less overwhelming like this beautiful piece from Finn + Emma. I gladly would have spent more for something that was timeless and classic and would still allow you to add your own toys. Plus, the toy bar can be used away from the playgym in your car, the bumper bar of your stroller or on a high chair.
4. Jellycat Animal Tails soft book. $16. When my son was five weeks old I started reading to him each night. He has since grown to love books as his main objects of interest, and this soft cloth book was a great one for him in the early months. Each page has a different animal and a corresponding fluffy, fabric tail with various textures for your child to explore.
5. Fisher Price Stacking Cups. $11. A lot of people are not fond of plastic toys, and I understand why, but if they were to make once exception, this toy is a perfect addition to a child’s life. First of all, it is inexpensive, and second of all, it is incredibly versatile. The cups are packaged stacked together to form a tower. These cups can be taken apart, and clipped to it’s number predecessor to form a ball. With holes on the bottoms of each cup, they are easily grabbed by little fingers and clapped together to form cymbals. The cups can act as cups alone, or they rock, spin, slide, and are perfect for teaching colors and numbers. My son received this toy as a gift when he was eight months old and it was an instant hit and is still part of our daily routine in the toddler years. Just today he was learning how to “play soccer” by kicking them (clicked together as balls) across the floor.
6. Wee Gallery Infant Stimulation Mobile. $8. The photo mobile is perfect for buying sets of art cards to display either hanging, or facing down towards the crib and baby. This kept our son entertained for doing a few chores around the house, and we are using the cards still as a toddler with learning animals. Once baby has outgrown their mobile, this can be used to display baseball cards, postcards, artwork, or even photos in any household room.
7. Security Blanket. $20. We have two that my son loves, one of them being the aden + anais Issie security blanket. The Issie blanket has been the only thing we allow in the crib with him since he was young because it is lightweight, breathable, and he runs his fingers along the edges to sooth himself back to sleep during the night. We keep the additional on in his crib. These little blankets were also great for tossing over the handle of his infant carseat when he was snoozing in public, or to entertain him during restaurant dinners playing peek-a-boo.
8. Bath Toys. $5. At this age, I like to keep the bath fun yet calming to set the tone for the night. The one toy I would recommend for under a year in the bath are stacking cups like the Green Sprouts set with drain holes. They are perfect for clapping together as cymbals and learning how to stack, but most importantly (at least in our experience), watching and feeling the water drain out of the bottom. My son loves watching the water drain out of our cups and reaching out to try and grab the water all while staring in wonder. It doesn’t get much better than that!
9. Skip Hop Hug & Hide Owl. $13. We started using this little owl with our son to catch his focus during tummy time. The crinkly wings and rattling body always distracted him from fussing. As he was learning to roll over, we would set the owl behind his head so he would have to rotate his body for a better view. This plush little toy has been well loved and used during the first year of our son’s life.
10. Captain Calamari. $10. A pirate squid sensory baby toy–what’s not to love?! My husband and I are avid sea creature enthusiasts, so when I noticed this toy in a store while registering for baby items, I knew we needed to add Captain Calamari to our lives. He was a fixture on our infant car seat until it was outgrown, and then he moved to a location on the side of our stroller until my son eventually gained interest in other toys. Each tentacle has a different pattern, texture, and sensory object for baby’s exploring hands, and a mirror is located on the underside of his body.
What do you think? Does your child have any of these same products? What would be on your top ten list?