Christmas and Birthday Gifts for Babies
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A couple days ago I shared ideas for stocking stuffers for boys, and today I am putting together my best recommendations for baby gifts. I'm not talking baby shower gifts but birthday and Christmas gift ideas. Shopping for a baby can be hard, because I always want to choose something the baby can use right then and also something that will last. These are all toys that have lasted through four very busy and active boys.
18 Toys for Babies
Learning Cube - Learning cubes are so cool, and they are perfect for young children of all ages. My six and four year old sons still play with ours upon occasion. I highly recommend buying a wooden learning cube over a plastic one. The wooden cubes are sturdy and stand the test of time. Learn cubes provide opportunities for exploration since most of them have compartments to open and close, knobs to push and pull, beads to slide, and many more features.
Foam Building Blocks - We have two sets of foam blocks, and both are in near new shape even after years of play. Babies love to chew on them, toddlers get excited to knock down giant towers, and older children use them to play games with each other. In our case, those games typically involve the blocks being thrown across the room at each other. Since they are soft, they are the perfect indoor toy for throwing which makes these a life saver on a rainy day when my four boys are cooped up inside the house.
Mega Blocks - My next favorite blocks for babies are Mega Blocks. Very young children, older babies and young toddlers, are able to put these together. Before a baby can connect the blocks, parents can put several together for him to pull apart. These blocks are the perfect tool to start boosting fine motor skills.
Ocean Wonders Kick and Crawl Gym - We registered for one of these when I was pregnant with my oldest son seven years ago and received it as a baby shower gift. We only recently got rid of it when doing a big toy purge. Unlike most baby play mats this one converts to a tunnel make it last longer. It also rolls up really small for easy storage. Would you believe it is significantly cheaper than most popular play mats? When friends or family come to me when pregnant for the first time, this is one of my most recommended items. Here is a picture of JZ (now 6) when he was just a couple months old.
Colored Scarves - These open ended toys are fun for little explorers as well as toddlers and older children. They are used in music classes for babies and toddlers and are found in Waldorf and Reggio classroom. To really delight a younger child set up a small, child safe fan and point it towards the ceilings. Put one scarf at a time over the fan and watch it blow up into the air then float down slowly.
Musical Instruments - What child doesn't enjoy making noise? Babies are born explorers, and they love to find what sounds they can make while discovering cause and effect. I love sets like this that include a variety of instruments.
Cloth Books - When reading to young children it's important to allow them to handle the books and see the pictures and words themselves. Of course no one wants good books to be ruined. These cloth books are the perfect compromise. I still like to read good literature to my babies, but I always had a couple of these on hand while reading.
Nesting Cups - We use these cups all the time. They are wonderful in the bath tub, in sensory bins, in the sand box, or on their own. Even my older boys still like watching the way each cups pours or drips water and other sensory materials.
Ride On Toy - There are so many awesome riding toys out there, and most babies are ready for them shortly before they start walking. This particular truck is my favorite for babies who are not toddling yet, because it is really sturdy. Many ride on or push toys flip easily making it hard for an unsteady toddler to grab a hold and take a few uncertain steps. My parents bought these for our two year old twins for their first birthday. They didn't start walking until fourteen months, but they were able to pull themselves up and walk supported.
Sensory Balls - I love toys like this for babies. They are inexpensive and simple and provide sensory stimulation. When they lose interest in them, these types of balls are perfect for sensory painting.
Tunnel - My sister and her husband gave one of these to my oldest son when he was three and J-Bug was an infant. Both of them crawled through it all day long that Christmas, and all four of my boys giddily chase each other through it on a regular basis. It's folds up really thin, so it's easy to store when not in use.
Outdoor Swing - We bought a second swing when we had twins, and these were worth every penny. I can't tell you how helpful these swings were when my twins were infants. JZ and J-Bug could run around and play outside, and the babies could happily swing and watch them. Now at two years old they shout, "Higher Mama, higher!" when I push them. Money well spent.
Organic Edible Finger Paint - I prefer to make all the paint we use when my kids are babies and toddlers, so I know exactly what is in them. These organic paints would be my first choice if I wanted store bought.
Shape Sorter - A classic for babies and toddlers, shape sorters develop problem solving skills, introduce shape recognition, build fine motor skills and more. You can't go wrong with a shape sorter. I prefer the wooden variety.
Bag of Balls - These are the BEST. They are so much fun for gross motor play, sensory play both indoors and out, and learning through play.
Toddler Chair - We have one toddler chair that we had since JZ was a baby. Both of my older boys loved sitting in it as older babies and toddlers. Now we keep it by a bookshelf for whoever wants to curl up with a good book.
Linking Chains - These are a must have when I have an older baby/toddler. They are so handy to link toys and sippy cups to strollers or extra toys from play mats.
Jump-O-Lene - The bag of balls makes the ideal accompaniment to this inexpensive jumping toy. Even before my boys could jump, they loved laying in a bed of balls. Of course I was with them at all times. My twins played happily in the Jump-O-Lene long before they could stand while their older brothers ran around outside. I loved having a safe, contained play area for them where I could also stay close to the big boys.
What are your favorite baby toys? Do you have any that have been passed down through generations? What is your favorite gift to buy for babies?
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