Blankets, bodysuits and layette are among the most gifted items to new parents and although they are very much needed, babies grow incredibly quickly which is why entertaining, practical and useful toys/gear make such great gifts. Round out your registry with these great gifts that will not only keep babies entertained, but will help them reach physical milestones.
Although I am an avid babywearer and carry my son around most of the time, there are times during the day where I just need to put him down. Bouncers are ideal for situations like this, in fact I like to call our BabyBjorn Babysitter Balance my “invisible babysitter.” This fantastic (and portable) seat from BabyBjorn has three different positions for sleep, rest or play and with every movement your child makes, it bounces. Because the motion is generated by your baby and not a motor, it’s gentle. You can also create motion by pushing down lightly on the top of the seat. This rocking motion is great for fussy babies and keeps them entertained when you need to get a few things done. And when baby falls asleep, the rocking stops. Best of all – no batteries! (There is also an organic version in addition to their super fun Retro collection!)
As your baby grows, you will need to integrate some tummy time in their daily routine. This is a fun and important way to help them strength in their neck and helps them to begin to learn movement and balance. The very best way to integrate this important time is with an activity mat like Skip Hop’s Treetop Friends Activity Mat. Not only does this visual play mat provide a soft surface, it offers plenty of fun features such as crinkly textures, mirrors, squeakers and five hanging toys to keep your little one engaged.
Parents who are sticking to an individual nursery theme decor-wise will really appreciate the Treetop Friends collection. Skip Hop has several lines of matching collections that offer everything from crib bedding to toys, making these great for custom nurseries.
If you prefer an organic version, miYim’s Jungle Play Mat is an adorable and gender-neutral version. It incorporates a comfy pillow for propping, as well as fun features like a mirror, crinkle noises, and squeakers. I like that it rolls up and ties shut, and includes a carry bag which makes it great for bringing to Grandma’s or playdates.
Out of every stuffed animal we have, my son’s favorite toy is his teething blanket. giggle’s take on this is their Better Basics Striped Blanket Friend is half-bunny, half-blanket. The corners are knotted providing nubs for gnawing on during teething and you can rest easy knowing that the toy is safe as it is made from soft 100% certified organic cotton.
Tips For Choosing Useful Toys For Babies
Design – Parents who have put thought and effort into a custom decorated nursery will really appreciate gear and toys that go with their decor or theme. If there is a product you like, ask the sales associate if it comes in a different color or style to match. Lots of companies have neutral products that go with virtually any space, color and print in mind.
Practicality – Think versatility and practicality. Stuffed animals are lovely, but why not choose something that is multistage or multipurpose – teething toys, activity toys even sleeping aids like the Sleep Sheep are great options to consider.
Quality – Quality, quality, quality! A toy or piece of baby gear that is purchased from a store you trust is important. They’ve done the research for you and know “the best of the best” from the not-so-great. Quality products are also less likely to be recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).