Each of these toys, in different ways, saved my sanity during the first year(s) with my child. From baby to toddler, here is an evolving list of the Top 25 toys that I have found to be most useful and practical for my baby and toddler (toys that my baby actually used and loved) – starting at newborn, to baby and to young toddler (Ages 0-24 months). These toys bought me extra time to, say, make myself a sandwich.
Top 25 Must-Have Baby and Toddler Toys
Link: Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes
Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes
Our babysitter has the Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes, and my daughter gets very, very upset when I have to give the toy back to our babysitter when I pick my daughter up after work. It plays music and i think baby’s and toddler’s love it because it’s also easy to hold and carry around.
Age When Baby Will Start to Love It: 6-months
Link: Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Click ‘n Learn Remote
Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Click ‘n Learn Remote
Sensory Development Chime Ball
Babies love to pull on the tabs on these Mary Meyer Taggies Plush Toss the Taggies Chime Ball, and they are so soft and fun to play with. We received one as a gift and when my daughter was a baby, she would love to sit and play with the tabs, and now that she is a little toddler, she loves to hug it. It makes a great pillow for mommy if you want to lay on the floor with your baby too.
My mom purchased a similar activity table to the EverEarth Garden Activity Cube from Pottery Barn Kids, and my little one goes nuts with happiness every time she gets to play with this at Grandma’s house. It’s great for when your little one is able to sit up on his own.
Kick and Play Baby Gym, by Fisher-Price
The Oball is great for those tiny little fingers because it’s an item that they are actually able to grasp with those tiny little fingers. The was the first item that our daughter was actually ever able to hold. She loves it. It’s costs about $4.99 and is a toy that is worth every penny. I also talk about this toy in my article Top 25 Must-Have Newborn Baby Items. The Manhattan Toy Winkel is also great for your little one to wrap their hands around, and it rattles slightly too. Overall, my little one seemed more impressed with the Oball.
7. Little Giraffe Finger Puppet Book
Little Giraffe: Finger Puppet Book
The Little Giraffe Finger Puppet Book Little Giraffe: Finger Puppet Book is great if you want to see your baby or toddler fascinated by a book, then you need to pull out this finger puppet book. My little one gets so excited each time we pull this book out. She kisses the giraffe every time. The author makes other finger-puppet books as well. You may also enjoy Top 10 Baby Books if you want to see more of the best baby books.
9. Happy Giddy Tunnel
Link: Melissa and Doug Happy Giddy Tunnel
Melissa and Doug Happy Giddy Tunnel
Once your baby learns to crawl, she will love to crawl through a tunnel! They sell these in just about every store that also sells kids’ toys. Here is a link to one on Amazon.com, made by Melissa and Doug if you are interested: Melissa and Doug Happy Giddy Tunnel.
Link: Fisher-Price Luv U Zoo Jumperoo
Fisher-Price Luv U Zoo Jumperoo
Link: Munchkin Bath Letters and Numbers
Link: Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Fun with Friends Musical Table
Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Fun Activity Table
The Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Fun with Friends Musical Table is the best activity table out there that I have found. Unlike other activity tables, the Laugh and Learn Fun table has multiple settings (Play, Music, Spanish, Learning Time), so it keeps your baby occupied for longer. You can remove the legs for baby to use it during the Sitting phase as well. The is one of those “Keep Baby Busy, Keep Mommy Happy” Toys. I also talk about this toy in my article Top 25 Must-Have Newborn Baby Items.
Link: Sassy Ring O’ Links
The Sassy Ring O’ Links are great for attaching toys to strollers and many other things too. Baby’s love to play with these things. Toy links are small enough to keep in your purse and pull out for brief entertainment for your baby while you are grocery shopping.
14. Poppin’ Play Piano, by LeapFrog
Link: LeapFrog Poppin’ Play Piano
Poppin’ Play Piano
The LeapFrog Poppin’ Play Piano toy is great for a baby who loves to play music. It has multiple settings (which is great) and keeps baby entertained for about 20-minute increments in my experience.
15. Dino Walker
This toy is called the Fisher-Price Go Baby Go! Stride-to-Ride Dino. This friendly little dinosaur helped teach my daughter to walk, and now, she jumps up and down nearly every time she sees the thing (I have to hide it in the closet sometimes if I know I won’t be able to supervise her with it). I love this thing.
White on Black Newborn Book
The book White on Black will entertain a newborn (as much as a newborn can really be entertained). You can see pictures of my newborn infatuated with black and white images at Simple Way to Entertain a Newborn; I just used my iPad and downloaded PDF images black and white from Google, to my iPad, that I thought my little newborn might like. If you don’t have an iPad, then you could also Google some black and white images, and just print them! It was a hit with our little one! You may also enjoy Top 10 Baby Books if you want to see more of the best baby books.
Pour and Float Froggy Bath Toy
This is the coolest bath toy of all time for your child once your baby or toddler is able to sit up in an adult bath tub. The FUN Interactive Frog Bath Toy for Toddlers squirts out water and sings, and your child will love it. We bought it from Barnes’N’Noble, but they also have it on Amazon.com. I’ve also just recently seen this toy at Target and Walmart.
18. Animal Magnets
Link: Melissa and Doug Animal Magnets in a Box
Melissa and Doug Animal Magnets in a Box
If you have a toddler and would like to get work done in the kitchen, then animal magnets are the way to go. My little toddler is entertained by the Melissa and Doug Animal Magnets in a Box for at least 30 minutes, especially if I play and talk along with her while a cook. I love these because I can keep an eye on my little one (as opposed to her wandering off in the living room and getting into something). I also love these magnets because they don’t have tiny little stick-on magnets like others do (so I am not worried about choking). These are great.
Link: So Big! (Sesame Street) (Sesame Beginnings)
Elmo and Elmo Book
If your toddler is as crazy about Elmo as my child, then you can’t go wrong with Elmo. I liked So Big! (Sesame Street) (Sesame Beginnings) a lot when my little one was around 9-months-old, because it helps teach the adorable trick of “How Big is the Baby?” I highly recommend pairing off any Elmo book with a Stuffed Elmo (see more about the power of Elmo over toddlers at Top 5 Toys for Young Toddlers).I wish that I could understand the magical, mesmerizing powers that an Elmo Stuffed Animal somehow has over children. My daughter has been in love with by Elmo ever since she was 9-months-old, and Elmo continues to be her favorite toy now that she is 14-months-old.
Car Seat Arch Toy
Entertaining your bored, cranky baby in a carseat can be a lifesaver. Your little one can bat away with her hands and make noises with this toy. This sure came in handy when my baby was 6-months-old (especially when we were grocery shopping). A popular choice seems to be the Tiny Love Take-Along Arch; we purchased the Bright Starts Take Along Carrier Toy Bar and were very happy with it (it’s also about $5 less); however, the Tiny Love Take-Along Arch seems to provide a lot more variety. If I could do it over, I would have purchased the Tiny Love Take-Along Arch version.
Link: Baby Buddy Secure-A-Toy
The Baby Buddy Secure-A-Toy is an amazing invention that prevents your baby from losing toys when riding in the stroller. I love these things.
Stuffed Animal and Toy Organizer Net
23. Little Readers Chair
Link: Fantasy Furniture Roundy Chair Gingham
Little Reader Chair
Our 18-month-old daughter loves her little reader chair. We received one from Pottery Barn Kids (as a gift), but Amazon.com has a cheaper alternative (the Fantasy Furniture Roundy Chair Gingham). You will have quite a few options to choose from for a chair for your little one.
24. Suction Spin Wheel for Highchair
Link: Sassy Developmental Wonder Wheel Suction Toy
High Chair Toy – Suction Wheel
The Sassy Developmental Wonder Wheel Suction Toy will keep your baby occupied at his high chair for a solid 5 minutes while you prepare a meal. That may not sound like much, but if you have a hungry baby and still need to get his meal ready, then that five extra minutes can mean a more peaceful meal preparation experience for you and for baby while you heat up the veggies and pasta. The Sassy Developmental Wonder Wheel Suction Toy suctions to the tray of your plastic high chair (TIp: The high chair tray must be squeaky clean in order for the suction part of the toy wheel to effectively stick to the high chair). If you pair this suctions pin wheel with the bungee sippy cup cord (see How This Small Idea Solves a Big Sippy Cup Problem), then you’re feeding sessions will go much more smoothly.
Link: Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Apptivity Case: iPad Edition
iPad Protector Case
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