Silver Spring, MD, November 16, 2012 – Toys are ever-present in the lives of most children, but not all are created equal. Here is a list of the top ten toys for infants 6 months to a year old.
Laugh & Learn Fun With Friends Musical Table by Fisher-Price
The Laugh & Learn Musical Table is great for children who are just starting to stand with support. It features a play station at each corner of the square-shaped table: a phone, a piano, a computer and a book. They teach words related to each of the activities, like numbers, colors, on and off. The table has a bilingual mode that will cause the table to go through its activities in English and Spanish.
The design, with four wide legs, creates a stable toy that is safe for young babies who cannot stand without support. It is also sturdy enough for your little one to pull himself up on without worry of it tipping over on him. The only problem with this table is before long you will be singing along.
My Pal Scout & Violet by Leapfrog
Chances are your child probably has countless stuffed animals already, he may even have one of the other singing models out there on the market. If you receive another singing puppy this year, return it in favor of LeapFrog’s offering. My Pal comes in two color options: green, named Scout, and purple, named Violet. While the color may be different for your little boy from that of your little girl, the content, right down to the voice is the same.
But what is exciting and notable about My Pal is that its content is customizable. My pal is designed to interact with you computer and the LeapFrog website. Through this process, you can choose your child’s favorite color, animal, food, and songs and My Pal will incorporate them into his programming. My Pal will even learn your child’s name, so he is directly addressing your little one. This kind of personalization endears My Pal to your child. And as your child’s tastes change or if you become tired of hearing the same songs over and over again, you can change them.
LeapFrog’s customer service is also exceptional. Add to that the fact that in 2009, the year of release, My Pal won Toy of the Year from BabyTalk Magazine and was a Best Pick for New Product by Dr. Toy, and you can be sure that you have a sure-to-please gift.
Catch-Me-Kitty by vetch
Sometime around 7 months most kids start making efforts to become independently mobile…yes, that means crawling. And while there are all manner of toys out there designed towards helping motivate babies to crawl, Catch-Me-Kitty by v-tech is one of that will last past your child’s crawling months.
Catch-Me-Kitty is a toy cat that runs away from your baby, and it does not simply keep moving. Cat-Me-Kitty has a sensor which tells it when you child is near telling it to move so you child will chase it. It also has three buttons on it which teach numbers and shapes. This is a good toy for babies that are either learning to crawl or walk, and creates a fun game of tag for older children.
Laugh & Learn Cookie Shape Surprise by Fisher-Price
Shape sorters start becoming relevant at this age as babies begin to enjoy putting things in containers and taking them out. While there are many different shape sorts on the market, this one is a good option at a younger age. Many of the traditional shape sorters have a lid that fastens on the container that allows only the correct shape to pass through. While this provides an appropriate challenge for older children, for very young children, this task simply becomes frustrating leading to a toy that sits on the shelf unused.
The Laugh & Learn Cookie Shape Surprise has a lid that comes off offering a wide open whole that the shapes can be take out of, or put in through, and indeed is intended to have shaped dropped in through the top as well as pushed through the specific shape holes around the side of the cookie jar. When shapes are dropped in through the top or pushed through one of the shape holes, the cookie jar talks. It has 2 play modes: singing and counting/shapes.
This kind of response to your child dropping the shapes through its open top helps provide interest in the toy when they are young, and as they age and are able to take on the more complicated task of matching the shapes to their correct holes, while the counting and shape mode helps teach them those key concepts.
Having a Ball Giggables by Bright Starts
The Having a Ball Giggable is a fun toy designed for sitting and crawling babies. Each ball is designed to look like an animal; there is a tiger, cow, chick, frog, pig, and an elephant. As the name suggests the animals giggle as they roll across the floor, and their silly sounds are likely to make you child giggle as well. They are designed to encourage your child to chase the ball across the floor and they push away early, which make for good encouragement for developing crawlers. The Having a Ball Giggable was named the 2011 Toy of the Year by American Baby and is small enough that it would make a good stocking stuffer.
Bruin Melody Teething Keys by Toys ‘Я Us
These are a Toys ‘Я Us Exclusive, but I think are worth noting. Once teething starts, babies put pretty much everything into their mouth. Since Mommy’s keys become a favorite toy early on, getting a set of toy keys seems like a no brainer, and there are a range of them available. You can find the over-sized colorful plastic keys, you can find ones that are more realistic, all the way up to ones that look metallic so better to fool the highly demanding baby. However, if your baby does not mind substituting a toy for the real thing, why not get a set that’s designed to be chewed on, since they are going to wind up in his mouth anyway.
This set of keys includes three keys and a key ring that plays music when pushed. At about 30% less than the cost of a similar set made by Fisher-Price, this is a toy that you will get plenty of use out of since it serves multiple functions.
First Bead Maze by Melissa & Doug
You have seen the Melissa & Doug bead mazes. They are large and seem to be a staple of pediatrician waiting rooms. Kids love them. The bright colors and the beads on wire tracks make them fun to explore and play with, and a plus for parents: since the beads are threaded on the rails, there is no clean-up when the kids are done playing.
A perk to this bead maze is that it is much smaller than their other products so it is a good size for a very young child. It also comes with suction cups on the bottom of the base. These are great for attaching the maze to a tray table on a high chair to distract a baby while you are cooking, or they attach firmly to sliding-glass doors, which can encourage babies who are starting to walk to stand on their own in order to play.
Pull-A-Tune Xylophone by Fisher-Price
This is a toy in Fisher-Price’s Classics line. Since its first appearance in toy stores in 1957, the Pull-A-Tune Xylophone has been found in generation after generation of toy boxes. Musical toys are always a favorite of children and toys they can interact with and create that music themselves are especially popular. Since research suggests that playing music for themselves, versus simply listening to it, can increase rhythm and coordination in children, and, as they age, improve math skills, adding a toy instrument to the toy box early has positive long term benefits.
Since babies have little coordination at this young, the ability to play “music” is limited, but with xylophone is perfectly suited to their wild banging motions and will adapt with you child and they develop the finesse to hit on bar at a time. The Pull-A-Tune Xylophone has an octave of bars, each bar painted a color across the rainbow, beginning at red and ending with dark purple. The striker is attached to the body of the toy by a chord and doubles as a handle and pull robe. It is durable and will be a relevant toy for years.
Having a Ball Bunch of Balls by Bright Starts
A little past halfway through your baby’s first year he will begin to like playing with you, and balls are popular toys that help in development of gross motor skills as well as coordination and dexterity. They can be rolled, tossed, and kicked. Bright Starts, by packaging multiple baby-sized balls in the same package at a low price has created a product that parents will love. These balls are colorful, light-weight and are just the right size for infant hands. They can be tossed without fear of hurting baby or denting furniture, and with 16 balls in a package, there are enough that having 1 or 2 get lost under the sofa or behind the desk is not going to put a damper on the fun. The packaging doubles as a storage container that makes taking the balls to a park, a beach, or grandma’s house just as easy as cleaning up when your baby is finished playing.
Bubble Oodles by Gymboree
Bubbles? Why are bubbles included on a list of top 10 toys? Because these are not your run of the mill bubbles. They are not the kind of diluted dish soap in a colorful plastic bottle with a flimsy dip stick that creates large bubbles which pop in mid air. These bubbles float on the air currents for longer than you will believe is possible. They will land on hair, clothes and the floor giving your little one fun targets to pop. Part of the reason these bubbles last the way they do is that they are made from sugar rather than soap. This also means that you do not have to worry about your baby trying to catch them with his tongue.
The Bubble Oodles kit contains the blower and a bubble tray, as well as 4oz of their bubble solution. The blower is not anything like the plastic wands you are used to seeing in bubbles. It is a cone that is topped with a dispenser that blows five small bubbles at a time. It takes a little practice to figure out how to blow the best bubbles, but once you do, you will be surprised how far a little of the bubble solution goes. Since the blower and tray are super durable and intended for long-term use, you can buy refill bottles without having to buy an entire new kit.
Please note, the age advised by Gymboree is 3 and up. This age is when your child will be able to blow the bubbles himself. But at 6 months of age, bubbles are amazing to your child. He will want to try to reach out and catch them, which helps develop hand-eye coordination and watching them float through the air actually helps develop eye tracking ability. Once your child learns to crawl, he will crawl across the floor to pop the bubbles that land, and once he can walk you’ll be delighted as he runs into the clusters of floating bubbles laughing.
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