(Note: There are Amazon affiliate links in this post. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases)
Even before the birth of my first child, I knew that I didn’t want to get any toys that were loud, noisy, and plastic-y. I wanted to get my daughter toys that had some educational value and would endure through some of the more rougher toddler years. Kids are notorious for being a bit hard on their toys so toys that are good quality are a must for me. I also think that toys are engage the five senses — especially sight, hearing, touch — are wonderful toward their future development.
Here is a list of what I think are some of the best five toys on the market. Of course I am no expert and I have only tried only a small percentage of the extraordinary toys that are being marketed as I type this. I chose these five toys after careful deliberation and thought. I chose these five toys that I thought my kids have enjoyed and can continue to enjoy through the years.
1–Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother Musical Crib Toy and Sound Machine
My youngest child loves the Baby Einsteins Aquarium. Whether on his tummy or his back, he loves to gaze with wonder and fascination at the moving animals. The accompanying soft lullabies that plays succeeds as calming and soothing him. In fact, even my oldest child (who is four) loves to watch the turtle, octopus, and crab swim in the little aquarium. I expect, and hope, to have this toy for many, many years graduating from attached crib toy to a nightlight. No doubt it will be a comforting presence for my child as he slowly lulls himself to sleep.
2–Fisher-a-Price Rock a Stack and Baby’s First Blocks
OK–this is actually two toys — the Rock-a-Stack and Baby’s First Blocks — but one that I feel are important for baby’s development. Both toys are colorful, built to last for several years, and most importantly, educational. The Rock-a-Stack teaches baby the different colors and shapes and even promotes their auditory sense. My first child loved to shake the red ring, which doubles as a rattle. My second child loves it as well. As he gets older, he will learn his numbers by counting the rings, learn the colors, and then eventually learn how to stack the rings onto the peg.
Like the rock-a-stack, the Baby’s First Blocks toy is just as colorful, and also promotes counting as well as visual and auditory stimulation. My first child loved to play with the shapes and then eventually learned how to fit the shapes into the corresponding holes. This toy teaches young kids how shapes work and that shapes fit into some pieces and not so well into others. This is a useful skill to learn as the child matures into adulthood and has to learn how to pack their own suitcase.
3–Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Around the Town Activity Table
I purchased this table for my youngest child quite recently. He is almost five months old and will soon be sitting. I like how that this table has two different modes. When my child is sitting, I can plop the legs off the table and he can play with it as a floor toy. When my child starts to stand, cruise, and walk, I can put the legs back on and he can play with it as an activity table. I love that this table is not just visually appealing and colorful, but that it teaches so many different songs and words in both English and Spanish. Babies and toddlers can play the piano, turn the light switch on and off, use the phone, and open and shut the doors. I’m sure that my five month old will enjoy it more and more as he grows older. In fact, my four year old loves playing with it too.
4–Melissa & Doug Classic Bead Maze
This one is a timeless, classic toy that kids age newborn to seven can enjoy. There’s a reason why bead mazes are often found in waiting rooms at pediatrician’s offices. Babies and toddlers can move and handle the small beads without it being a choking hazard. It is a good, safe toy that can help the fine motor skills. Babies can stare with fascination at the pretty colors and listen to the parent as they recite the names of the colors and count the beads. As the babies grow into toddlers, toddlers can play racing games with the beads. This is such a fun toy for all kids and even adults.
5–Fisher Price Fun ‘n Fold Bouncer
I bought this bouncer for my youngest child and he has loved it since the moment that he was placed in it. He has always loved laying in it and looking up at the bright, flashing lights. What I love most about this is that as baby gets older, he can kick the piano keys which makes the corresponding color and sound turn on. This helps to promote baby’s auditory and visual senses from such a young age. Also, as baby gets older, he can reach out, grab, and shake the tambourine and maracas, learning that he can create sound.
These are only five toys that I chose as “must-haves” for babies and even toddlers. I chose these because my kids have loved and enjoyed playing with them.
If you have kids, what toys do you consider to be must-haves? If you don’t have kids, what toys did you enjoy playing with as a kid?