Toy stores can be daunting, overwhelming places. Which toys are worth their price? Which grow with the child, or can be used in multiple ways? Which are educational AND entertain?
If you need a toy for a baby in your life, I guarantee any item on this list will be well received and enjoyed for years to come. These toys are all baby-tested and approved, and most of them can be played with even after the baby has transitioned into the toddler years.
- A Cardboard Box
This toy can be any size as long as it is large enough for the baby to put over its head, though the best reviews tend to be for boxes that are big enough for the baby to climb into. Babies learn about cause and effect because when they are finished climbing in and out, they will then fill up the box with all the things, and then dump all the things, and then fill up the box once more, and do it all over again.
- Laundry Hamper
To an adult this may seem to have the same general appeal as a cardboard box but a baby makes no such distinction. This toy is great because it offers a wide variety of activities for baby to enjoy: Knock it over, climb into it, put it on someone’s head, pick it up, dump the clothes out, put the clothes back in… the possibilities are as endless as your child’s imagination.
- Cell Phone
This is another one that we put a lot of research into. There are a LOT of these toys on the market, in all colours, shapes and sizes, but our surveys show that no pink singing phone will ever compare to your real cell. And don’t cheap out here: babies seem to recognize the most valuable of phones, with the iPhone being their favorite to chew and smash. Watch out though – this toy is not waterproof, so don’t let your baby drop it in the toilet!
- Toilet Brush
Speaking of toilets – the toilet brush is a baby’s favorite. And unlike cell phones, babies will happily accept any brand of this so it’s a great option to pick if you’re shopping on a budget. Dollar store scrubbers are just as well-received as the top of the line versions! Babies love imitating mom and dad, so encourage pretend play with a real disease risk and let them imitate your cleaning routine.
- Door Stop
Metal springy door stops. This is a great way to introduce musical play to your baby. Grab a drum or a tambourine and allow your baby to sprong the heck out of the springy metal boingy thing. Baby will learn rhythm and musicality, and may even surprise you by showing off a few dance moves to the music they create! Grab a tambourine or a drum and join your child to make a family band!
- Remote Control
This toy is highly sought after by EVERY member of the household. Even the adults want a piece of this gem! The preferred play time seems to fall at precisely the climax of your favorite show, but it can still be enjoyed at any time of day. Most versions have an option for removing batteries, so if the constant channel changing and volume raising starts to get you a little twitchy, you can always remove the power source!
There are many different versions of this toy out there but we have done a lot of research to narrow it down to the absolute best option: your own. Plastic and pretend keys do not provide the same enjoyment to a baby as your very real and very filthy keys do. Once a baby has been introduced to the real thing, they will not be fooled by cheap knock offs. It is best to invest in the version with a key fob since then the child has both the texture and taste of the sharp metal keys, as well as the pleasure of pushing soft buttons which can make that very satisfying alarm sound when pressed correctly.
Sticks saw massive popularity with kids in the 80’s and are making quite the comeback now as parents like to focus on natural textures, and toys made from renewable materials. These toys really encourage imaginative play and provide great opportunities to introduce babies to empathy and gentle touch. If you have more than one child, you are definitely going to need more than one because these are a hot ticket item! Also, the other kids need to be able to hit back – it’s only fair!
- Plastic Containers
These toys can often be bought in sets and it’s there that the magic happens. The more plastic containers you have, the happier your child will be. In fact, baby seems happiest when they can empty an entire cupboard full of them and just sort of roll around in the mess. Ensure you’re buying recycled plastic that’s BPA free or else your child will get a horrible skin disease. Pots are also a great choice if you have a pair of earplugs handy to drown out the clanging.
- The String from Your Hoodie
This list wouldn’t be complete without including at least one teething toy! The string from a hoodie is irresistible to a baby’s sensitive mouth and is hard to pry out of their hands once they’ve got a good grip. This toy doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of, say, a cell phone, but for quiet time it’s a must-have. If you can’t afford the hoodie version really any string, tag or zipper from your clothing will do.
What is your baby’s favorite “toy”? Let me know in the comments below! You can even comment via Facebook, just choose your login preference from the drop down menu.
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