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Who knew that someone so tiny can come with so much stuff –certainly not my husband and me! When we moved into our 4 bed, 3 bath house we thought we had space to spare, especially with an entire room dedicated to a future tiny human. However, by the time we had everything we thought we needed and everyone told us we needed, we had filled that room and then some. Some of the stuff people gave us/said we needed ended up being wonderful and other things aren’t so necessary. Below is my review on what common baby toys are really necessary. Make sure to also read my review on nursery items here. You can also see what is worth registering for and what isn’t here.
– Green: Definitely recommend purchasing
– Yellow: Might be good to have
– Red: Don’t bother
Bumbo Chair: Rating Red
I didn’t have one of these
Infant Play Mat: Rating Green
I didn’t think we needed this before our son was born. However, when he was about 3 weeks old, we were tired of holding toys over his head for him to look at. We got a play mat that has toys overhead and is designed for baby to lay on. They make ones with things for baby to kick to make lights and music. However, the one we got was basic and quiet. It worked great, and we used it all the time until Paxton started rolling over. This is the one we had.
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Teething Toys: Rating Yellow
Every baby is going to teeth at some point. During this time chewing on things will be a favorite activity. Teething toys come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and textures to provide relief to sore gums. My son will chew on the teething toys if I give them to him. However, he is just as happy chewing on a wooden block, a spoon or anything else he gets his hands on (cell phones are a favorite teething toy). As long as he has something he can stick in his mouth, he couldn’t care less if it’s designed for chewing.
Foam Mats: Rating Green
These are perfect to have until
Activity Table(s): Rating Green
You don’t need these until your
Walker: Rating Red
The walkers where you put your
Push Toy: Rating Yellow
If you really wanted your
Exersaucer: Rating Green
This is a must-have for your sanity. I said you don’t want walkers; however, the beauty of this is that it’s like a walker but doesn’t move. I highly recommend getting one that allows your baby to jump up and down in it. This is a great way to get out some energy in a baby that isn’t mobile yet. It also works to briefly contain an older baby. I put my son in it when I need a minute of him not getting into things. He gets bored more quickly than when he was younger, but I can usually buy myself at least 5-10 minutes. This one is similar to ours.
nimals: Rating Green (in moderation)
These are the quintessential childhood toy. Stuffed animals come in so many cute, cuddly styles. Babies love them to play with. I have a couple that my son likes to push his head into when he gets tired, and I keep one handy to entertain him while he’s on the changing table. They can also be used to decorate your nursery. However, the number of stuffed animals can grow quickly if you’re not careful. If you have stuffed animals, you will also want to get an animal net like this one.
Important Note: Make sure not to put anything, including stuffed animals, into bed with a baby less than a year old.
Miscellaneous Electronic T
oys: Rating Green (in moderation)
There are a ton of choices when it comes to plastic toys that run on batteries to entertain your little one. These often play music, talk and light up. They can be great fun, but you will get tired of listening to them no matter how cute the music sounds in the store. Make sure you have toys that don’t require batteries on hand for when you need a break from the same song over and over.
Miscellaneous Wooden T
oys: Rating Green
These are great because you don’t need batteries, they are sturdy, they make good chew toys for teething babies, and they don’t make as much annoying noise as the electronic toys above. My son loves playing with/chewing on wooden blocks. An activity cube is also a hit. I really like the Melissa and Doug toys. There are so many cute wooden options that are built to last. This one that involves pounding is next on our list because our son loves to pound things these days.
Rattles: Rating Green
These toys are great for younger babies to practice picking things up, gripping things, passing items back and forth and the cause/effect of shaking. They come in a variety of designs ranging in loudness. I suggest a few different designs. Ones with big holes are easy for younger babies to hold and thicker ones are great for older babies who want to use it to pound on things.
Books: Rating Green
There are so many benefits to be gained from reading to
Dump Bucket: Rating Green
This is my take on the sensory bin concept. I renamed it the dump bucket because my son loves finding it and dumping everything out to find the perfect item to play with. You can read how I put this together for less than $10 here.
Ottoman Storage: Rating Green
With all these toys, you are going to want some storage. I have a couple of these ottomans that are perfect for storing toys. They look nice with our living room décor but hold quite a bit. They can also double as extra seating when people are over, cat beds, and my son enjoys using them to pull up on.
You likely noticed that I rated many of the above items as Green. I’m a big fan of the variety of toys and then I switch out the readily accessible ones periodically. I find that providing toy variety for my son sometimes is helpful for keeping him distracted so he doesn’t get into things he shouldn’t. However, if you prefer a more minimalism concept, you can cut out many of these items in favor of letting baby play with pots and pans and other safe household items.
Do you agree with my assessments? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments.
For more great information on what baby items you need and don’t need, check out these posts!
- The Real Registry Checklist
- 10 Tips for Choosing Baby Clothes
- Where Did All
thisStuff Come From? – Nursery Edition
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Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Mom, wife, veterinary pharmacist, equestrian, ice cream lover and occasional hot mess