Playing is learning for children, and begins with your baby’s first grab for her first rattle. As she explores her baby toys (and your lap, and your face, and the living room floor), the world slowly but steadily comes into focus: sights and sounds begin to coalesce into meaning, sensory information becomes coherent, and she begins to understand how her body works, building the skills that lead to mobility and speech. Gazing at a spinning mobile, exploring cause and effect with a rattle, comforting herself with a cuddly lovey, chewing on a teether, and playing peek-a-boo with you all contribute to her development, and will keep your baby busy and happy.
The latest baby toys in our stores and at mbeans.com are selected for play value, developmental value, and quality, and they’re also very, very cute. Any of these items will make a great addition to your baby’s playroom, or a great gift for a loved one with a new arrival!
Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Activity Gym, $79.99, ages 0+
This play gym was one of my favorites at Toy Fair 2016 – there’s just something about a sleepy little moon with a face on it that sets off a “squee!” reaction for me. And as we’ve noted a few times in these pages, grey is the hot color this year: this color theme is downright hip.
Along with the lovely design, the Silver Lining play gym is loaded with sensory stimuli for your baby to explore, whether he’s getting a workout during tummy time or laying on his back grabbing for the dangling toys: a musical sheep, a light-up star, a squeaking cloud, a rattling bird, and a baby-safe mirror.
The new Skip Hop Moonlight & Melodies Safari Mobile ($64.99) echoes the modern aesthetic with more muted colors, but bolder patterns. Newborn babies have the easiest time seeing patterns of contrasting colors, so your baby will enjoy watching the striped owl, polka-dotted turtle, and other patterned animals slowly spin.
Kathe Kruse Nickibaby, $22.99
This adorable first doll has a floppy body that’s easy for babies to grasp, doubling as a snuggly-soft lovey and comfort item. It’s designed in the style of a classic Waldorf doll, with an intentionally simplified face – just a cute little smile to brighten your day!
Or, if you prefer baby toys with cute animal faces, the Kathe Kruse Towel Doll Lovey ($27.99) is equally irresistible for babies to snuggle and chew, and has an attached plush buddy: choose from a mischievous monkey or a restful sheep!
Meiya the Mouse Squeaker Toy, $17.99
Meiya the Mouse is the co-star of the adorable board book “A Day in the Park with Meiya and Alvin,” and she welcomes your baby to explore with a wry smile and a soft body. Her head is a squeaker, and it’s made with natural, safe Hevea rubber, perfect for your baby to squeeze and chew. For a slightly different look, the Meiya the Mouse Soft Toy ($19.99) features a brightly patterned print dress and a soft, floppy body, and the Alvin the Elephant Soft Toy ($19.99) is under-stuffed for baby snuggles as well.
Apple Park Organic Farm Buddies Plush and Blankies, $14.99
Choose from a variety of adorable animal friends, all crafted from top-quality 100% organic cotton: piggies, mice, and a very smartly-dressed French fox! All of these items use contrasting patterns and textures to grab your baby’s attention, and the blankies have knots at each corner to make them easy to grasp and chew.
Lamaze Munching Max Chipmunk, $17.99
This winsome little guy engages vision, auditory, and motor skills, and will make your baby giggle with a fun surprise: if you tug on the clip, Max vibrates while chewing on his acorn! The clip is made to attach to your stroller or diaper bag, so your baby can explore the textures of Max’s crinkly feet, the tags on his tail, and his bright patterns no matter where you go.
Lamaze Monkey Links ($19.99) are also made to travel: just attach them to your stroller or car seat with the fabric straps, and your baby will enjoy feeling their satin ribbon hair, and crinkling their patterned feet. The monkey in the middle rewards further exploration with a clicking, ratcheting noise when your baby tugs on its stretchy legs!
Tea Collection baby clothes, $22.50-$49.00
Or, for a total gift-giving change of pace, check out these adorable baby outfits! The designs are globally inspired, and the current collection draws from the designers’ travels through Japan, featuring giant robots, winsome bears, and a variety of gorgeous floral patterns. All items are made from top-quality, super-soft cotton, and are designed to let your baby move around freely, so they can play and sleep with equal comfort.
Don’t see the baby toys or baby gifts you’re looking for here? This roundup barely scratches the surface of our selection, and we love to recommend toys! Call us, email us, or just visit your nearest Magic Beans store, and our Toy Whizzes will help you find exactly what you need.