Best of the Best Baby Toys

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With all of the options out there for keeping little ones entertained, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Park Slope Parents members to the rescue, with recommendations for toys and play appropriate for babies in the under-one age range.

 

We’ve also got plenty more shopping lists for the other young ones in your life:

-Stuff for Baby (key provisions for newborns)

-Fantastic First Birthday Gift Ideas

-The PSP Gift Guide: 3s, 4s, and 5s

-The PSP Gift Guide: Tweens and Teens

 

Last but not least, if you’re not already a member of Park Slope Parents, join our community today to connect with Brooklyn families going through the parenting journey at the same time as you are!

 

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PSP may receive small amounts of compensation for purchases made through affiliate links in this post. We are a community-supported site, and we include these products because they've received positive reviews from our members.

 

PSP parents asked their baby groups about toys appropriate for the seven-to-eleven-month age range…

 

“What are folks’ favorite fun developmental toys that are also safe for a teething babe (avoiding plastic!). My seven-month-old explores everything with his mouth and engineers all toys and then moves on in a heartbeat and we need to keep up.”

 

“What are your babes’ favorite toys? S. has outgrown most of her infant toys and isn't quite ready for many of her new toys.”

 

 

Members suggest…

 

Activity cube.

 

Alligator push toy.

 

Ball drop and roll.

 

Beach tent for fun zone/toy storage.

 

Bead maze.

 

Big plastic comb.

 

Books. “She loves to hold them and turns the pages to study all the different pictures. She sometimes will start taking to her books.”

 

Boxes.

 

Chunky puzzles. “We have a bunch of Melissa and Doug chunky puzzles that N. (9 months) loves--there's a zoo animals one, an under-the-sea one and a farm one. Sometimes I show her the farm one as we read books about farm animals to connect those two concepts for her.”

 

Comotomo teether.

 

Duck teething toy. “He loves the duck from Oli and Carol. They have a lot of options safe for teething.”

 

Egg cartons. “Stash paper egg cartons in weird spots so when they find them it’s like a special surprise. All those nooks and crannies...good times.”

 

Expanding tunnel. “Great for small apts because it collapses into a really small disk that we just slip under the couch.”

 

Flappy the Elephant. “My 9mo son’s face lights up each time he plays with this elephant (has loved it for months and he never seems to get tired of it). Just wish it would loop for longer!”

 

Foam rollers.

 

Helium balloon. “We are getting a LOT of mileage right now out of a helium balloon tied to my 5.5 month old's ankle. It keeps him entertaining himself for pretty long stretches, and he's thrilled whenever we bring it out.”

 

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KiwiCo boxes. “We also have a KiwiCo kit that comes every other month that sends developmentally appropriate toys. I think the kits have been a hit with everyone I’ve talked to whether it’s KiwiCo or Lovevery.”

 

Little Tikes slide. “It seems huge in our small apt, but it’s really fun, and seems like a good thing to have during this pandemic winter.”

 

Lovevery subscription. “My baby is 7 months old and he is enjoying the Lovevery subscription boxes. They send you a box of age-appropriate toys every two months. He also has the gym, and the rattle is his favorite toy.”

 

“I just want to second the Lovevery subscription boxes!  I didn't have them for my son, and now I see how great it is for the second one.  Not super cheap but ultimately you don't end up having to buy a bunch of other stuff and importantly you don't have to think about it. Love it.”

 

“We love lovevery too! I got them starting at 1 year with my first (except play mat, which I got in the first few months) and am picking up a few things here and there for my 6 month old. I’ll also note they are very easy to sell so the upfront cost is high but if you’re willing to put a little time in you can sell very easily!”

 

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Measuring cups, pots and pans, mixing spoons, spatulas, and colanders (they make great hats!).

 

Mega Bloks cars.

 

Montessori coin box.

 

Plastic veggies. “I. is also 11 months and LOVES the basket of plastic veggies her grandparents got her for Christmas. They're brightly colored and small enough for her to pick up.”

 

Scraptopus stuffie.

 

Stacking cups. “The best. She loves to play with them on her own and with us. Also so cool to see the development of her understanding how things fit together and relate…”

 

Taggies book. “My 7 month old is obsessed with tags - to her  it’s the most exciting part of any toy. So I got her a taggies book and it’s true love.”

 

Wooden keys. “Both my first kid (2.5yrs) and now my 7mo were/are obsessed with these wooden keys. The keys are great for chewing. The rope is an interesting texture in the mouth. They’re loud when shaken. What more could a baby want?”

 

 

TIPS from members on introducing new toys and revitalizing old ones:

 

“She seems to enjoy things we interact with frequently. When I introduce a new toy, I find that sometimes it’s helpful if I model play and exploration first.  I also try to find new ways to play with ‘old’ toys to keep things interesting!”

 

“It seems like their tastes change almost hourly. We have also been trying to find new uses for toys that we have already especially if they can somehow be used as an instrument or make a sound touching something else (S. has decided she is a musician).”

 

“I've found that rotating her toys helps a lot; when something she hasn't seen in a week pops back up it's exciting all over again (we are absolutely doing this with a bunch she got for Christmas!).”

 

 

For younger ones, here are playtime recommendations for babies in the two-month age range:

 

Apps

 

BabySparks. “I also subscribed to an app called BabySparks for my first, and it was helpful to get ideas of developmental activities. It was pretty pricey, though.”

 

Kinedu, which has activities personalized to your baby’s age and needs.

 

Playfully. “Another resource I've found helpful is the ‘Playfully’ app. They have a 7 day trial, which I'm on right now and debating about paying for it after that, but they've got some wonderful videos of activities you can do with your baby, mostly with the things you'd already have.”

 

Wonder Weeks. “One other resource is either the Wonder Weeks book or the Wonder Weeks app. The overarching concept of Wonder Weeks has apparently been debunked, but they offer different developmentally-appropriate play/activity ideas for babies as they age. So far, they seem pretty intuitive (one example is they suggest that you rest the baby on your thighs so it’s facing you and you tell a story or just talk), but I am finding it helpful to have an idea bank.”

 

Toys

 

Activity gym. “When he was too little to reach it I’d put him on the boppy lounger - he was trying to hit the hanging toys by age 6 weeks. We also got some attachments that are longer than the Fisher Price gym and have stuffed animals attached - much more fun to grab than hard plastic.”

 

“I want to second the activity gym plug! We have one and my kiddo never seems to tire of hanging out there, even though we use it multiple times a day, every day. She has found different parts of it engaging as she’s aged.”

 

“My guy also has gotten a little bored with his activity gym. We were given these supplementary attachments for the gym - they're longer than the ones that come with the Fisher Price gym, so he can lay there and put the hanging stuffed animals in his mouth - he likes these much better.”

 

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Jolly Jumper. “My (nearly) four month old absolutely LOVES her Jolly Jumper! We use it multiple times a day for her to exercise her little legs. It’s super convenient because you can attach it to any door frame with molding and leave baby to it for 15 minutes (keep in mind it is not a toy but an exerciser and BB will get tired!) I simply keep an eye on her and have TWO FREE HANDS to do other things! Miraculous!”

 

Lovevery subscription. “We started the Lovevery subscription and there are some fun play things in there — there’s a new kit for every 1-2 months that correlates with age based development (also a guide in there for parents!). Been a nice addition to our repertoire.”

 

Mirror. “We have a super basic plastic mirror that we prop up and my little guy loves doing tummy time and looking at himself.”

 

Play mat. “I bought the Lovevery Play Mat a few weeks ago. It's far more expensive than other play mats, but I find that the different "zones" keep my little one occupied.”

 

Stacking toys. “My 4 month old can't get enough of this Lamaze stacking pyramid. It is light enough and big enough that he can pick it up, and the rings each have their own texture. It's tough because he still can't sit on his own, so he plays with it on my lap.”

 

Sensory toys. “My 16 w/o loves this thing. He can hold it for a long time and it’s fun to look at.”

 

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Other activities and play ideas

 

Dance party. “This is the most fun and can be done standing (also great exercise), sitting or on the lounger.”

 

“Make a Spotify playlist and sing and/or and dance around!”

 

DIY crafts and activities: “If you're a bit of a DIY person, or just to get some ideas, this instagram account is great. You have to scroll through the saved story highlights, but they are organized by age and the 5 month one is great.  Also great ideas for older kids.”

 

Early potty training: “If you want an age appropriate activity that really teaches your baby an important skill, try elimination communication (EC), which is baby potty training. As soon as they wake up, take off their diaper and hold them in a little squat position over a potty or the toilet or anywhere you’re comfortable with pee/poop landing. And when they go, make a sound that they will learn to associate with the act of going!”

 

Music classes: “My baby and his nanny are going to Nikos Kids music class in the park! My nanny swears by it!”

 

“I found this music class--I had seen them in the park and googled to find them. They have sign-ups now for the fall. Our daughter is a bit too young (11 weeks), so we're going to wait until the spring, but I think it would be great for slightly older babies.”

 

Hootenanny Brooklyn is doing both online and outdoor music classes in the park starting this week. I signed up Andre (14 weeks) for an online class.”

 

“Our little guy loves going to watch The Buttons who rotate every Wednesday & Friday between McCarren Park in Greenpoint & Prospect Park. Likely best for older babies (but really, for anyone who enjoys music)!”

 

Walk around and observe: “Another simple one is to walk around with the baby and just narrate what you’re seeing and doing. As I understand it, this promotes language development. I also like it because I sometimes run out of things to talk to her about, and this is easy fodder.”

 

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As one member relates, “I think the main thing is that this early in their development [two months] you don’t really have to do much more than snuggle them and let them have tummy time. But speaking as a type A person, I have a deep need for structure and organized activities or I end up feeling like I’m ignoring my kid.” If you relate, hopefully the above ideas will provide some quality playtime and bonding!