Thursday , 24 April 2014

Fun for the first, second, and third year: Top Ten Baby & Toddler Toys for Holiday Shopping

top10orangeCompared to most gift-giving occasions, shopping for a holiday gift for a new baby can be refreshingly simple: babies don’t know what holidays are, and won’t be offended if, say, you pick out a sweater that doesn’t flatter their complexion. Their tastes are unformed, their opinions limited to “I don’t like cold / loud noise / hunger” and “I do like milk / warmth / my blankie / chewing on my fist.”

So you can please new parents and enthrall any baby or toddler with pretty much the same types of classic toys: teethers and stuffed animals, stacking toys and cause-and-effect toys, pounding toys, baby walkers, early blocks, and simple ride-on toys. Accordingly, most of our top holiday gift picks for babies and toddlers are items we’ve recommended before, with a handful of new favorites. They’re surefire tried-and-true kid-tested classics, and why change what works?

A key point to keep in mind when you’re choosing a baby gift is the age range – what interests a baby, and what will best suit their development, changes pretty rapidly in the first few years. It’s best to get a gift that the child will be able to enjoy right away, instead of something that the parents will have to tuck away in a closet for six months. However, nearly all of these gifts will start being fun when kids are pretty little, and extend up through the years, so you’re getting great value for your gifting dollar.

FOR NEWBORNS

sofie copy

Sophie the Giraffe Teether
For newborn – 9 months

From Boston to Berlin, Portland to Paris, Chicago to Copenhagen, babies love Sophie! The Vulli Sophie the Giraffe teether is hanging out in strollers and high chairs, nurseries and living rooms, with a baby chewing on her bendy limbs and knobby head. Made with light, squishy natural hevea rubber, the Sophie Giraffe teething toy is easy for babies to grip, irresistible to chew, and squeaks when squeezed. Every baby needs a Sophie – maybe two!

cody roy

Jellycat Charmed 15″ Cody Roy Gator Stuffed Toy
For newborn – any age

Every baby also needs a favorite stuffed toy. Chances are, plenty of plush toys already came along at the baby shower, but if they weren’t from Jellycat, they’re about to be outranked in baby’s affections. Jellycat plush toys boast the most velvety-soft fur and the most deliciously squishable plush bodies – it’s no wonder that they’re so frequently adopted as loveys. And aren’t they adorable? Cody Roy the Jellycat Gator is only one of many fantastic Jellycat plush toys in stock, so if you have a different species in mind, check out the rest of our selection.

 

FOR BABIES WHO ARE SITTING UP

 neotobbles

Neo Tobbles
For 6 months – 3 years

Tobbles are made to wobble and bobble, stack and wiggle and spin: these pleasantly-weighted semi-spheres appeal to both adults and kids with bright colors and a pleasant feel. They’re the right size for small hands, and encourage babies who are able to sit up to wiggle them, stack them, and knock them down.

poppop piano

Mirari Pop! Pop! Piano
For 9 months – 3 years

This toy delights kids with cause-and-effect play, musical play, and more! It’s a great pick for a baby with an older sibling, too, because preschoolers love this one as well, and it’s great for kids to play with together.

When you hit a piano key on the Pop Pop Piano, two things happen: you get a sound (a silly sound effect or a piano tone) and a rattling star pops up! Kids can play with the clear dome on or off – when you remove it, the stars fly out freely, and new crawlers and walkers will love chasing them around. Older kids will create their own ways to play as well. This is a terrifically versatile toy, and a really cool, stylish-looking one to boot!

pound tap bench

Educo Early Melodies Pound and Tap Bench
For 12 months – 3 years

Pounding the balls through the holes creates a musical surprise! On the way down, each ball rolls down a xylophone, creating a musical zing that will make toddlers giggle as they improve fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, and explore colors and music. The xylophone can also be played with on its own… and this toy provides the perfect outlet for that stage when toddlers want to bang on everything.

smartmax

SmartMax Basic 25-Piece Magnetic Building Set
For 12 months – 4 years

Sticking and un-sticking magnets is satisfying for any age (just ask the folks in our office, who have tons of magnetic fidget toys on our desks). With the SmartMax system, safely enclosed magnets bring the basics of magnetic building right down to your toddler’s level, and as their hand-eye coordination improves, they can start building simple structures. Add more SmartMax sets for even more fun!

 

FOR BABIES WHO ARE BEGINNING TO WALK

 plantoyswalker

PlanToys Baby Walker   
For 12 months – 4 years

This beautiful, colorful walker comes with tons of built-in fun: not only can kids who are just beginning to toddle around support themselves on this baby walker (and you can adjust the handle for height), but it’s also full of blocks to dump, stack, and pile! When they get older, the PlanToys Baby Walker is a great pretend-play toy – kids will pretend to “drive” it, or use it to push around their dolls and stuffed toys.

rody

Rody Ride-On Horse
For 12 months – 3 years

Ride the Rody rainbow! These colorful bouncing inflatable horsies are adorable and irresistible for indoor or outdoor play. Rody’s “saddle” is only 12 inches off the ground, making it easy for little bouncers to climb aboard, and they won’t need any encouragement to get on and get some exercise.

minikick

Kickboard USA Micro Mini 3-in-1 Scooter
For 12 months – 4 years

Notice how many of these toys for toddlers grow with your child? This variation on the ultra-popular Mini Kick Scooter lets you adapt it with a removable seat for toddlers, so they can scoot along with both feet on the ground. Once they’re up to the challenge, remove the seat and let them experiment with the low O-bar handle, optimized for small hands. Finally, switching to the included T-bar turns it into a regular Mini Kick Scooter, the scooter that’s so easy to ride that even preschoolers can surf the sidewalk!

happynavigator

Kettler Happy Navigator With Pushbar & Seatbelt
For 12 months – 5 years

Finally, a deluxe gift that will last for years: a tricycle that a toddler can start using today! With the easy push-bar and built-in rear navigation system, parents can push this Kettler trike as easily as a stroller. From there, there are a full variety of adjustments that you can use to adapt the Kettler Happy Navigator tricycle as kids grow and gain in coordination, until they’re pedaling around on their own.

Of course, since we specialize in all things baby-related, this list barely scratches the surface of our selection of great baby gifts. Our Infant Toys and Toddler Toys sections are brimming with adorable, high-quality toys that babies will enjoy, and that will enhance their development. Not sure which toy is the right fit, or looking for the shortest of shortcuts to the best baby gift for this holiday season? Contact us! Our customer service team is fully versed in everything that babies love, and they’ll make some great recommendations.

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