Toys that Go the Distance

When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.

Walt Disney

The first time Baby J held a rattle it was magical. Suddenly he was able to entertain himself to a certain extent. I was now freed up for a matter of seconds, which felt like a huge deal. And from holding a rattle to sitting to crawling to cruising, he never stops until it’s nap time or meal time. At first grandparents and aunts were showering him with toys, and finally one day my husband and I looked into his play area and said that’s enough! We cleaned off all the toys and put almost all of them in the closet, leaving just enough to keep him entertained.

I know there are many opinions out there about which toys are most economical, sustainable, safe and versatile, but I’m just going to give you a list of my current top five and why. I’ll link everything in the list below, so you can do your own research on them.

  • Vtech Busy Learners Activity Cube: I have a love hate relationship with this cube. I love that it keeps my little one entertained. It helped him learn to sit because it kept him engaged, and he could hold onto it until he was steady enough to sit on his own. It teaches colors, shapes, and words (specifically animals and their sounds as well as instruments). He has been mesmerized by this gadget since he was about 4 months old. Though I love all these things about it, I loath that all the songs get stuck in my head. I try to remember that by me singing the song, it is reinforcing the learning points. My husband and I both can recite every song and phrase. 🙂
  • Lakeshore Turn & Learn Magnetic Gears: We borrowed these from our local library. Baby J always tries to play in the kitchen, but there are just too many dangers there for me to really feel comfortable with him hanging out in there even in my presence. Once I put these gears on the fridge, he’s hardly touched anything else. I’m even attracted to them!
  • Kiddieland Ride-on Toy: Baby J bounces up and down when he hears his favorite ride-on toy song come on. This toy will keep him busy cranking gears, turning the steering wheel, climbing onto the seat and scooting off, pushing it down the hall, etc. A great alternative to a walker, baby will love to sit, stand, walk, or push buttons with this fun toy. The drawback is that there is only one volume setting.
  • Bouncy Ball: I’m not going to link this because toy balls are pretty universal. Baby J’s ball is about 4-5 inches in diameter, looks like a tiny basketball, and it bounces. We like to sit at opposite ends of the room and roll it to one another. At some point it turns into a game of fetch, and at the end of it he is ready for a nap or at least a snuggle.
  • Fisher Price Smart Stages Walker: My hubby’s pick. Baby J has spent many an afternoon pushing his walker down the halls of our apartment building and also crouching at the front of it to turn the pages of the plastic book, spin the color wheel, and more. My favorite part is that the sound can be turned off and on, low and high.
  • Priddy Baby First 100 Words Book: Now that Baby J is really interested in language he’s been wanting to look at books more. Sometimes he even grabs my hand and points my finger to the photos in the beautiful book. We have several books of first words, but the photos in this one are great.

What are your favorite toys and for which age group? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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