Many people have noticed when they come to visit that we don’t have millions of toys for our baby and the toys that we do have are mostly wooden with no sounds or flashing lights. It is not that we are trying to deprive our baby of toys, but after years of teaching children and not using props in my theater classes, I came to realize how an over abundance of toys, can overstimulate kids, when they are just starting to notice so much around them.
Wooden toys are sustainable and last a long time. They are eco-friendly too! They may cost more, but if you take care of them right, they won’t break. I like knowing that they are quality toys. They have a classic, timeless, feel to them. It is harder for them to be damaged and they are easy to clean. Wooden toys are also versatile and can be used as babies grow and their imaginations expand. They are also great for interaction and social skills and creativity, as they discover new uses and scenarios for each wooden toy. They aren’t too loud and they are non-toxic.
We chose not to give our baby plastic toys because some can have BPA, lead, and other harmful chemicals in them, especially at the age where he puts EVERYTHING in his mouth. I also try to find toys made in the USA or Europe and that are dyed with non toxic paint or vegetable dye and made with unfinished wood or with non toxic clear finishes. I think this will be hard to sustain as he gets older, but for the toddler years, I would like him to play with these toys at home and when he is out, he has free rein to play with anything he comes across. I try to buy other toys made with silicone, rubber, or cotton, as I find those to be the safest materials.We also created a “yes space” for our baby using a metal gate play yard and our Cream Haus mat and all of his favorite toys in this organic cotton basket. It is pretty simple, but he loves to play alone in it or with us and any one who visits loves playing with him in there too. Here is a great article describing what a “yes space” is. I also am trying to take a more minimalist approach to life, so these toys are helping with that!
Another tip I’ve read about plastic toys is to look for toys that are BPA, Phthalates, and PVC free. Toys made from plastics #2, 4, and 5 are considered safer choices. Green toys is one of the better plastic toy companies out there.
So without further ado…here are my baby’s favorite toys and some I hope to buy in the future. I have spent a little too much time researching toys, so I hope it is helpful to you.
I consider these a toy because he loves them so much and still plays with them. I can’t go anywhere without my teething necklace. He also loves the banana teether (We have two), Blue Anchor, Sili Paw teethers, and baby fruit teethers.
Chomp Chomp-This is what we named this Alligator Pull Toy. My baby is technically too young for this toy, so I never leave him unsupervised with this toy, but he absolutely loves him and I do a lot of dramatic play with it, especially about how biting hurts. I love the company, Plan Toys, that makes these toys.
Green tones Dog Shaker-He is fascinated by dogs lately, so he loves this toy. He loves that he can shake it and it makes noise too. It is small enough to fit perfectly in his hand.
Double Bubble Wooden Bead Maze- This one is really fun. You can connect it to a table with the suction cups underneath it or even to a book. I like to put it on his high chair if he is finished eating and wants to play, while we finish eating.
Camden Rose Car-My baby loves this car. I make a sound like I am starting the engine and he always laughs. He loves when I pretend to drive it around and say beep beep, when books or other toys are in our way. He now makes the car sounds himself.
Stacking Ring-He loves this toy. I think the wooden stick that you stack on is dangerous, if you do not supervise your baby, so I either supervise him with that or just let him play with the rings. We have created so many fun games with these rings and they are fun to chew on and also by Plan Toys.
Manhattan toy Skwish Natural Rattle and Teether Grasping Activity Toy- This one is great as a teether and as a rattle and was one of his first wooden toys, but he still uses it now.
Organic Wood Montessori Baby Rattle- He loves this one so much and it is great for car rides. He also uses this as a baby rattle. We recently went to see a jazz band and he played along to their music with his rattle.
Haba Clutching Toy- He loves just holding this one or throwing it.
Haba Teether Cuddly Rainbow Round-He loves this for sensory play and also to play it like a drum.
To be honest, books are his FAVORITE toys. He actually has ate paper from a few of them (SMH). I only let him play with the board books, while watching him, since he likes to eat them. These are his favorite board books…
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes-This is such a beautiful story about all different babies from around the world. I love that it celebrates diversity and our differences. I have read it since he was born and he never gets tired of it.
Where is Baby’s Belly Button?- He loves lifting the flaps of this book and learning the different body parts.
Dear Zoo Book-This is another lift the flap book full of zoo animals and he especially loves the surprise ending.
Indestructibles: Baby Faces-Since he was eating the books, I bought this book which is indestructible, as the title describes. It is a great one for teaching about emotions. They are chew-proof, rip-proof, and drool-proof.
Goodnight Moon- This one is a classic and I love the colors of this book for especially when he was younger.
Chicka Boom Boom- My baby absolutely loves this book. He cracks up when he hears Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and he loves the colors of the book.
The Pout Pout Fish- My baby really enjoys this story about a glum and gloomy fish. I love to read it to him when we go to the beach.
I Love You Because You’re You-This book is so sweet and really expresses all the words I want to tell my baby.
Moo Baa La La La- This is a cute book that teaches the animal sounds. He really adores this one, so much that he ate some of it.
First 100 words- He has loved this one since he was younger and especially loves the page with babies on it.
Little Horse Finger Puppet Book- He loves this book and the horse seems real to him. He loves chatting with him, as we read along.
Noah’s Noisy Zoo- I can’t tell if he loves this book because of the name or the animals.
Toys I Want to Buy in The Future
Pickler Triangle- This is great for climbing and for developing motor skills.
Camden Rose Play Kitchen- I would love one like this for our baby boy. I like knowing that it is made in the USA. The price tag is high, so the other option would be to find someone who can make one like this.
Plan Toys Camera- Our baby boy always seems ready to smile for the camera (as in iphone camera) and I would love him to know what a real camera looks like. I think he will love this toy in the future.
Hape Activity Play Cube- He loves these activity cubes at storytime.
Hape Wild Animal Puzzle - I think this will be cute as his first puzzle, since he loves animals.
I hope this blog post helped you a bit and wasn’t too overwhelming. I would love to know what toys your babies and children love!