Back in February, I wrote a post on our Favourite Toys for the First Year.
Though it hasn't quite been a year, I feel like it's time for a toy update.
I've been spending a good bit of time browsing the internet and thinking about holiday and birthday gifts. Having a January baby it seems that we do the majority of our toy shopping at this time of year. Last year our goal was to get The Bean toys that he would remain interested in over the course of the year and/or toys that he would grow into. His interest in different toys has fluctuated throughout the year, but overall I think we did fairly well. We've found that rotating what we have out for him to play with helps keep things interesting, though he's also figured out that he can just open his closet and point to whatever it is he wants us to get out for him. Too smart, that one. ;)
His favourites from last December to now have been:
TOYS FOR PRETEND PLAY
Play Kitchen and Food
-We got The Bean the Melissa and Doug Deluxe Kitchen Accessory Set as well as a few sets of Melissa and Doug food for Christmas and birthday gifts last year. Though he's not able to use them independently yet, I particularly like the food that velcros apart when you "cut" it and imagine that he and Sprout will get a lot of use out of them over the years.
-We have this kitchen. Actually, this wasn't a toy that we purchased. It's not even a toy that we thought about buying last year, but then sometime in the spring, once The Bean was toddling around and getting a lot of enjoyment out of his play food etc. we thought it'd be a great addition. I was browsing online (from Amazon to Craigslist) and hadn't really decided. Then I saw this one on our neighbour's lawn. I snatched it up, took it home and bleached it, and that was that. (Not that we could have afforded it, but the Camden Rose kitchen would be my dream play kitchen.)
Doll and Stroller
We bought The Bean the Petit Calin doll from Carolle and a small blue stroller. He likes to push Jean Luc (the doll) around, so I am very glad we thought to get the stroller. I don't think he'd be nearly as interested in the doll without it.
The Bean actually ended up with quite a few of these, some gifted and some hand-me-downs. The
Sesame Street Ride-On School Bus was a surprise from Grandma and Grandpa and has been a HUGE hit. He also has a Cozy Coupe and Radio Flyer Steer and Stroll Tricycle that he also loves, though they are large for inside toys. The one piece of advice I would give someone looking to purchase a pushable tricycle for their little one would be to get on that comes with a seatbelt. It's quite unnerving to have The Bean jump on and off the tricycle while pushing him down our fairly well-trafficed side street.
Not much to say on this one. It's a gift Jen really wanted to get him last year and he has enjoyed it. I like that it stores so compactly. It's also ALWAYS on recommendation lists from Occupational Thearapists as it encourages crawling which is so important for cross-coordination.
As far as The Bean is concerned, our couch cushions (and chairs, and ottoman and toybox etc.) also make a great gross-motor toy.
I read positive reviews of the Fisher Price Laugh Learn Love Puppy when browsing last year around this time and put it on The Beans "wish list". He has gotten a lot of use out of it and now even sings some of the songs it plays.
The LeapFrog My Discovery House was a toy I really wanted for The Bean. I liked how it had so many elements that helped develop fine motor skills. Initially some were too difficult for him to use on his own, but now he can use all of them. Another big plus of this toy is that it is very portable. It has come on most, if not all of the trips we've taken this year.
The LeapFrog Fridge Farm is another hand-me-down that has received A LOT of use. I really like that it "accepts" mixed up pairs (the commentary is quite funny). With a correct pairing it will give a few animal facts and if you push the button with no animals in place it plays a variety of songs, which is, of course, a big hit with our music-loving boy.
The Bean actually received two busy boxes last year. He really seems to like the phone and the buttons that play music on this one, and he also plays with the tracking thing, pop up, and shape sorter on it. His other busy box has a bead maze on top of it, which he also really likes now that he's able to manipulate them.
Other favourite fine-motor toys/ activities include his piggy bank and more recently, a collection of various (non-breakable) jars and lids that we put together for him. (He particularly likes it when we hide things inside the jars that he has to open and discover.)
Other, more "general" toys that The Bean has enjoyed playing with over the course of the year include balls, cars, basic percussion instruments and, if you would call them a toy, books.
He's only recently become interested in the puzzles, latch board and lock box we have for him.
Blocks and Duplo still aren't a huge draw.
This year we're trying to focus even more on toys that encourage open-ended play. I think as The Bean gets older, this is and will continue to become easier. At the beginning of the year he was still in a very concrete stage of development, but over the past few months has started to engage more and more in imaginative/creative/open-ended/pretend play. I'll post about some of the things that he'll be getting for the holidays and his birthday soon. :)