Best Toys for Babies: Holiday Gift Guide

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With Little Sister being our third child, we have been around the block when it comes to toys, going through just about every toy imaginable in our nearly 7 years of parenting.  I can tell you one thing:  a lot of the toys are just plain not worth it.  They are plastic junk that eat batteries and don’t hold the attention of our kids longer than the entirety of the musical diddy incessantly playing…that, for the life of us, we can’t find the “off” button to.

In honor of this, we’ve compiled our list of best toys for babies.  These baby toys are simple and as natural as possible.  Below are some of my favorite “toys” for babies…some we have, some others we know have (and love), and some we want.  :)

 

sensory ball Best Toys for Babies:  Holiday Gift Guide

 

CaaOcho Baby – Natural Rubber Sensory Ball

 This awesome sensory ball is made with all-natural rubber and food-grade paint, which means it is 100% safe for your baby to put his/her mouth all over!  When the ball twirls, the colors make for a fun sight for baby as well.

 

bead maze Best Toys for Babies:  Holiday Gift Guide

Melissa & Doug First Bead Maze

This toy has been played with all 3 of our kids and most recently has saved dinnertime for our family.  Little Sister (8 months) is not crazy about sitting in her highchair unless she has food being shoveled into her mouth.  This keeps her occupied while the rest of us eat and chat…and the suction cups keep it from being thrown on the ground (like every other toy we have tried to give her).  Not to mention, the beads are great for hand-eye coordination and fine motor development!

sophie the giraffe Best Toys for Babies:  Holiday Gift Guide

Sophie the Giraffe

Sophie wasn’t around when our older two were babies, but she has become a beloved member of our family since Little Sister’s birth!  She is great to chew on (especially with teething) and her neck is easy to hold.

Haba clutching toy Best Toys for Babies:  Holiday Gift Guide

HABA Clutching Toy

This simple toy is great for keeping little hands busy (hello church or doctor’s office) and it can also be helpful for teething babies.  If you have a baby who loves to grasp your necklace or bracelets, this is a great toy for him/her!

Melissa and Doug Farm Puzzle Best Toys for Babies:  Holiday Gift Guide

Melissa & Doug Jumbo Peg Farm Puzzle

This puzzle has (miraculously) survived all three kids and is one of our favorites!  I love this puzzle (more than the other few varieties) because it helps reinforce animal sounds, which I think helps a great deal with language development.

Stack and Smile photo blocks Best Toys for Babies:  Holiday Gift Guide

Stacking Photo Blocks

These are just the coolest things ever and they are on my list for Little Sister this Christmas!  Research has shown that babies prefer to look at the human face more than anything else…so why not let them play with faces!  :)  The great thing about this toy is that you can easily adapt it for the age of your child!  Once he/she has outgrown looking at photographs, put alphabet letters or numbers in there and use them to make a game.  The possibilities really are endless!

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Hape Wonder Walker

This toy would be great for babies approaching their first birthday.  It is wooden, so it won’t fall apart, but offers fun activities on its side for stationary babies as well!  The little storage shelf in the front makes it fun for babies to take items around the house with them.  :)

Are there any toys you would add to this list?  What was/is your baby’s favorite toy?

Show-and-Share Saturday Link Up!

There were lots of great ideas shared last week.  Here are just a few:

 

Turkey Feathers Number Matching Game 300x400 Show and Share Saturday Link Up!

Tot Schooling shares this Turkey Feathers Number Matching Activity!

 

 

 

Exploring Lines 300x400 Show and Share Saturday Link Up!

I LOVE this idea for Exploring Lines from You Clever Monkey.

 

 

 

Woven Christmas Tree 300x534 Show and Share Saturday Link Up!

Learn how to make a Woven Christmas Tree from Buggy and Buddy.

 

 

 

Have an idea or activity to share??? Just link up below!

Next week I’ll be sharing my favorites from the ones you submit!

*By linking up, you are granting me permission to use and/or repost photographs from your blog.



Mess-Free Pumpkin Play for Babies

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Little Sister has become quite curious over the last few months.  Combined with the fact that she is now mobile,  life has gotten much busier!  She loves exploring different textures (and ultimately putting them in her mouth).  I thought she would enjoy feeling the pumpkin “innards” but I really didn’t want her eating it.  After the boys and I carved their pumpkins yesterday, we put all of the pumpkin guts into a gallon-sized baggie for Little Sister to play with.  :)

We laid the bag flat and then taped it on a window for a vertical light-table effect.  I was inspired by Toddler Approved‘s Simple Toddler Play series on Instagram for this activity!

 

IMG 3306 Mess Free Pumpkin Play for Babies

 

 

 

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Of course, the bag inevitably ended up in her mouth as well.  :)

 

 

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Little Brother wanted in on the fun too!  And just in case you were wondering, the term “mess free” no longer applies once your 4-year old is involved.  ;)  Shortly after this picture, the bag broke open after he tried to stomp on it (go figure) and pumpkin guts ended up on the floor!

 

 

IMG 3337 Mess Free Pumpkin Play for Babies

 

 

 

Check out more fun activities for babies here.  

 

Show-and-Share Saturday Link Up

Happy Saturday! I hope you had a great week. There were so many great ideas shared last week! Here are just a few:

Sensory Pumpkin Craft title 2 tall 300x395 Show and Share Saturday Link Up

A Little Pinch of Perfect shared Create a Sensory Pumpkin.

 

halloween sensory noodle play activity for kids 300x428 Show and Share Saturday Link Up

This Halloween Sensory Noodles Play from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tail looks like fun!

 

halloween 1024x1024 300x300 Show and Share Saturday Link Up

Halloween Slime from My Big Fat Happy Life.

Have an idea or activity to share??? Just link up below!

Next week I’ll be sharing my favorites from the ones you submit!

*By linking up, you are granting me permission to use and/or repost photographs from your blog.



Silly Putty Melting Jack-O-Lantern

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We made homemade silly putty this week and created our own melting pumpkins!  This was also a great time to discuss the 3 different states of matter (solid, liquid, and gas) and point out that silly putty is neither one!  I am planning to have this at one of the center activities for Big Brother’s fall party, along with some examples of the states of matter in gloves.

 

Here’s what you’ll need:  Elmer’s Glue, Borax, water, food coloring for the homemade silly putty.  Please note:  There is some controversy surrounding Borax.  Based on my research, it is safe as long as it isn’t ingested.  Just be sure your child washes his/her hands after playing with it.  If you still aren’t comfortable, use one of the other recipes for making silly putty.

 


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To make the jack-o-lanterns, you’ll also need wiggly eyes, wood beads, mini pony beads, and green pipe cleaners.  We received all of the necessary supplies compliments of CraftProjectIdeas.com.  

 

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We followed the directions on WikiHow to create homemade silly putty.

 

 

IMG 2399 300x450 Silly Putty Melting Jack O Lantern

1.  Mix 1/4 cup of glue and 1/4 cup of water until it is completely combined.

 

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2.  Add food coloring.  We used red and yellow to make orange.  :)

 

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3.  In a separate bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of borax with 2 tablespoons of water until the borax is dissolved (if it isn’t dissolved fully, your silly putty will be grainy).  Combine both of the mixtures and it will start to congeal.  Remove the solid mass from the liquid and knead until smooth.

 

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4.  Make your jack-o-lantern using the silly putty and the bead, pipe cleaner, googly eyes, and mini pony beads.

 

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All ready….

 

 

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…several seconds later!

 

 

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I stored the jack-o-lantern sets in baby food containers.  They were perfect!

 

 

The Science Behind It:  Silly Putty is not a liquid or a solid:  It is considered to be a non-Newtonian fluid, which acts as a liquid over a long time period but as a solid over a short time period of time.

 

 

Check out more fun fall-themed activities here.