Toys will do much more than just entertain your sweet baby. A baby’s brain develops rapidly, and the right toys can stimulate that brain growth in positive ways. Younger babies need toys that assist in developing color and shape recognition, hand-eye coordination and an understanding of cause and effect relationships; while babies that are a few months older need toys that can teach them balance and mobility, manipulative skills, and imagination development. World renowned Dr. Sears says, “When choosing toys for a child, think carefully about the toy and the child. Choose toys that are developmentally appropriate, that build on skills the child already has, and provide a few challenges.”
Are you an expectant mother feeling super overwhelmed by creating a baby registry? Are you a mother who just saw a super mom post a picture of her 3 week old baby with intentionally placed educational toys in the background and stacks of site word flash cards all over the living room? Do you feel like you are a bad mother because your baby doesn’t have enough sensory stimulating and developmentally appropriate expensive toys to play with? Well, chances are you ARE a bad mother. I have done a lot of research on age appropriate, chemical/BPA free, energy efficient, stimulating toys made from recycled milk jugs… and from that research I have compiled a list of the safest, most beneficial toys that your baby is sure to love. Below, is a list of my top 15 must-have baby toys of 2016.
Expensive, hardback, paper books (much easier for baby to tear) that are on your baby’s Accelerated Reading level. It is so important to stimulate them within their ZPD (zone of proximal development) and to scaffold accordingly. It is imperative for your baby to follow the 5 finger rule: open the book with your baby, and have your 6 month old put a finger up for each word he/she doesn’t know. If your infant is holding up all five fingers, have them choose a different chapter book. After each book, it is always a good practice to review the 5 comprehensive stem questions of who, what, where, when, and why. When planning your nursery, make sure you don’t waste any extra space that you might have on anything useful like a dresser for extra diaper storage. Instead, buy a super expensive industrial-modern book shelf from Restoration Hardware, and fill it with 150 books that your baby will be sure to take extra gentle care of. *Note: bookshelf also works as a sharp cornered bumper while baby is learning to pull up and stand on his own.
2.) Plastic Treat Bags and/or Glue Sticks
When your baby is unable to walk on their own, and they are using a walker of some sort, it is always a good idea to leave fun and exciting items for them to explore at eye level. You can do this by measuring cabinets/benches/tables in your home, and figuring out which areas are the most accessible for baby. Next, take anything that you are spending time working on, for example, party favor bags and craft supplies for their upcoming birthday party, and place these in said area. Watch as your baby discovers exciting new textures and materials like plastic bags and hot glue gun glue sticks. Make sure that the plastic bags are not big enough for them to put over their head, but just small enough to stick completely in their mouths. Also, remember that it is character building for your baby when he/she cheats death by chewing on toxic glue sticks and surviving.
3.) Whisk w/ Ice Cube
This one is a total hit with babies of any age. If your baby is being whiny while you are spending several hours making pureed homemade baby food for them, all you have to do is throw various utensils down at them and let them play with the left over ice
that fell from the dispenser while you were making your mid-morning Moscow Mule (jk….mostly). Watch as your baby learns face-whisk coordination and develops spacial awareness by continuously trapping his tongue and fingers between the tiny metal whisk crevices. Your baby can also work on his pincer grasp by struggling to pick up slippery ice cubes for twenty whole minutes. *Make sure your dog is not in the area as your baby will most likely slap him right in the face with the whisk- as well as you, your husband, himself, and anything else that is in his line of vision.
[Similar items include spatulas, spoons, plastic tongs, etc…]
4.) Baby Wipes and/or Kitchen Spices
You might be asking yourself, “When will my baby ever find the time to play with both of these toys?” Friends, the answer to that is, your baby will stuff his mouth with baby wipes AND open a (taped shut) spice container full of cinnamon/shake it all over the kitchen and his pajamas in literally 3 minutes time. These toys are SO accessible and so very quiet, you won’t even realize it’s happening right at your feet while you’re cooking your baby’s scrambled eggs. It’s probably a good idea to keep the cumin, cayenne pepper, and chili powder EXTRA taped because your baby will have so much fun, he will surely come back for more at a later time (when you’re answering the door, loading the laundry, going to the bathroom, etc.)
5.) Sack of Limes
Despite the plethora of expensive, highly engineered, brand name toys scattered about the room, 9 times out of 10 your baby will discover their true nirvana in this sack of limes. You might try to take this toy away from your baby, well.. because it’s a sack of limes, but do NOT do that. This sack of limes has done what Fisher Price, Hasbro, Mattel, AND Lego could only dream of. Sometimes your baby will love this sack of limes so much that after dragging it through each room in the house for 45 minutes straight, he will actually scream bloody murder and cry inconsolably if you try and give him another toy to play with. Plus, this toy is versatile because there is always an organic option available.
6.) Important Documents and Bills
If you are a parent that keeps their important, confidential, financial documents and unpaid bills in a high enough area where your children can’t get to them and trail them through the house, then you really need to reevaluate your parenting approach. It’s important to introduce finances and responsibility to your children as early as possible, so consider letting them chew on your personal mail for a while. Besides, finding an unpaid bill three months past the due date underneath your couch with the corner chewed off is actually a good thing, because it explains why your water was shut off unexpectedly. (Just kidding that “never happened”)
7.) Toilet Paper
Toilet Paper is always a good option for many reasons. First, it is so easy to unravel and takes very minimal effort to drag several feet of it through the house. Second, it is easily digestible for when your child decides to eat 5 or 6 squares. Third, toilet paper play makes your baby more comfortable with bathroom essentials, which is beneficial for early potty training. Lastly, it also makes your baby more comfortable with TPing other houses and various forms of vandalism to public or personal property in general.
8.) Wax Paper
Like toilet paper, this is another toy that can be totally unraveled in a matter of minutes. In fact, an entire roll of wax paper can be completely unraveled in the time it takes for the baby’s mother to go to the bathroom to pee. This toy is a little bit more developmentally advanced, because the baby must learn how to keep his/her balance while manuevering through the kitchen on the wax paper. If your baby is a ninja, this toy can even be accessible from a cabinet in the kitchen WITH a safety lock on it.
9.) Shampoo/Soap/Lotion Cabinet
You might think your baby is missing, but have no fear- he/she is simply enjoying the number 9 most valuable toy on our list: the hygiene product cabinet. You might call for your baby, frantically searching in closets and behind doors- you might even check under the bed. The great thing about this toy is that there is no assembly required. Your baby can experience hands on learning and a quick lesson in the 5 senses if he or she is smart enough to figure out how to open your lice repellent shampoo/conditioner and rub it into the inside of the cabinet. It’s also nice to have a Jergen’s self tanning lotion in the cabinet for your baby to open in case you get a real pasty one.
10.) Doggy Door
Some people buy baby toys that require putting plastic blocks through corresponding holes. This is much like that, except better, because the block is your human child. Speaking of frantically searching for your baby, if you are wanting to totally lose your child for several minutes, our number 10 must-have toy should be your next purchase. The doggy door is revolutionary in many ways. It allows your baby to slip away and spend several minutes on the back porch all alone- teaching them many different lessons in survival, independence, and just loneliness in general. The doggy door is extra useful when your baby wants to sneak outside and play with the dog poop that has accumulated on the porch after the most recent thunderstorm (but only if you’re lucky enough to have a dog that won’t step foot in wet grass.) The doggy door teaches the baby the basic laws of physics, while also giving the mother a small heart attack.
HOT ITEMS RUMORED TO BE MUST-HAVES IN 2017:
Voted safest and most sanitary for your baby to enjoy!
*Barnes and Noble Clearance Item Storage Bins*
*J Crew Decorative Grass Display*