Saturday, January 3, 2009


Here are the things the babeola played with the most during her first year and that we got a lot of use out of. Feel free to add your favorites to the list via a comment.

Compiling this list, one thing I noticed is that prices have gone up exponentially making it a good idea to buy used whenever you can (or milk the baby shower for all its worth!). I think that this legislation is what is driving prices up. I'm all for safety, but some of the toys listed below I was able to buy for a 1/3 of the current listed price!

1. Tissue paper of all colors and designs. Cheap and crinkly fun. Just put in a pacifier to prevent baby from eating it. (Save the tissue paper from any baby shower gifts!)

2.  Flower butterfly teether from Haba. It's washable and made of natural, non plastic components. There's also crinkly paper in the butterfly so the baby gets a sound effect when they chew. The fact that the butterfly detaches and can be washed is a big plus.

3. Haba Frog.  Just a fun little guy. The babeola liked to suck on the arms.

4. Haba kaleidoscope discovery blocks. Fun to look through and fun to watch mommy stack for baby to knock down.

5. The stellina by Selecta. A wooden chew toy/rattle. (Unfortunately due to this legislation, Selecta is pulling out of the US market.)

6. A bouncy seat. We have an older version of the Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium Bouncer that we really like. We also have a jungle/waterfall themed one that was fine as well. But the Ocean Wonders bouncy seat was our favorite.

7.Tiny Love Developlay Activity Center.This toy has two sides, one for infants and another side for older babies/toddlers. Allows for all sorts of hand-eye skills to develop and kept the babeola quite busy.

8.Munchkin Mozart Magic Music Cube.
This is a neat music toy that allows babies and toddlers to pick different instruments to play and exposes them to classical music. For us, this toy will get play for at least 1.5 to maybe 2 years so it's a good investment. Initially the babeola just watched the lights and music play when mommy pressed the buttons, now she actively plays with it, chews on the rubber corners and carries it from room to room.

 9. Baby Einstein Crawl Tunnel.  Man I wish we'd had this! I found it at Sam's Club well after the babeola started walking and was so annoyed because this would've been good for hours of fun. This would last from 3 months up to and possibly beyond walking (because hiding and crawling in tunnels is always fun). It is expensive so a cheaper option would be either cardboard boxes taped together or buy a simpler crawl tunnel like this.

10. Playmat of some kind. We don't have a favorite so no specific recommendation from me, but they are useful. I bet you could use the BE Crawl Tunnel above as a playmat.

11.Wee Sing Children's Songs and Finger Plays CD.  This is a great investment. It's hard to fill time with little babies and this CD will keep you busy. Also, you need to learn these songs too, so it's one of the few things that are not just for the baby. It comes with a book containing the words and sheet music and finger plays to all the songs. You will use this for years!

12. Play silks are fun and pretty and a 'formless' toy that allows babies and toddlers to use their imagination. You can buy plain ones and dye your own or buy from the mom-based business I linked to here.

13. A mobile. I can't find the one we had, which was a cheapy thing but had great graphics. Look for bold patterns, ideally in black and white as that's perfect for a newborn. I also bought a mobile attachment clip that allowed me to take the mobile from crib to bassinet to co-sleeper.

14. Unbreakable mirror. Babies love love LOVE to look at themselves. Even now the babeola loves to use this mirror. It can be used as a free standing mirror but also has ties for hanging it in a crib or, like we do, attaching it to our baby gate.

15. A swing. Any swing is fine, but I highly recommend you buy one with a high weight limit (30lbs or more) so you maximize its usefulness.

16. Books! I am a bibliophile and have been thrilled to share my love of books with the babeola. She's been turning pages on her own since 4 months and 'reading' to herself since 8 months. A few of our favorites...

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Peek-a-who? by Nina Laden
Tails by Matthew Van Fleet
Dog by Matthew Van Fleet
Crinkle Books
Cloth Books
Bath Books
Moo, Baa, La, La, La by Sandra Boynton
But Not The Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton
Belly Button Book by Sandra Boynton
Eric Carle's books
Dr. Seuss
Shel Silverstein's poetry (i.e A Light In the Attic)
Baby Faces
Tactile Books like Violet's House
Graphic books like Look Look by Peter Linenthal
 17. Some people get drums, we like tambourines. Lots of noisy fun!

18. A xylophone is a great toy too!

19. Blowing bubbles is an easy and inexpensive infant-parent activity. The rumor on the street is that Gymboree makes the best bubbles, but we've been using the off brand el-cheapo ones with no problem.

20. Walker to nowhere. The babeola started using this 'walker' as soon as she could sit and she still plays with the manipulatives today. The manipulative toys are well conceived and entertaining. This is one of the better 'baby holder' toys we have and it allows babies to practice standing and walking not just forward, but backward and sideways (the seat swivels). Crawling and pre-walking babies will use this toy to pull up and 'push' the chair around. The babeola often ran in fast circles squealing with glee.

To give you an idea of how prices have changed, this retailed for $89 last year. I've since seen it go as high as $265 and $199. Insane!


Hot Belly Mama said...

30 toys! That's a lot! lol. I think our kid will probably end up having five. I loved your list, because now I can keep certain items in mind. Thank you!

Jenners said...

This was a great list and I'm going to send it to some new mom friends. We had that Tiny Love two-sided thing and my son loved it. I really really like Tiny Love toys -- another one he liked was their Fruity Pals (Anna Banana). And we love so many of the same books and we still read them 4 years later. "Peek A Who" was a great favorite. I would also add "Pat the Bunny" as my son just ripped this books to shreds -- not by eating but by reading. A classic.

That tunnel looks like a blast.

I'm amazed how much toys have changed just in the four years since I have had my son -- I can't find almost half the stuff I got for him as they've all evolved. Some for better but some for worse.

Great post!