Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

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Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

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.

Rating Scale

–       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 initially.  However, when my son was about 3 months old, he wanted to be sitting upright and had pretty good head control.  However, we had to hold him in that upright position.  I decided a Bumbo chair would be perfect for allowing him to sit on his own some.  In reality, the baby has to be pretty close to sitting up unassisted to use the Bumbo chair, and the legs are tight enough that my son’s legs barely fit by that point. It took up space in our living room and got used a handful of times.  I think my cat used it more than the kid.  Totally not worth getting.  My husband renamed it the ‘Dumbo chair’ because he wasn’t impressed. If you want to see what you are missing, you can view it here.


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.

Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

Foam Mats: Rating Green  

These are perfect to have until baby starts crawling.  You can buy mats in bright colors and patterns designed for kids, but they can be pricey.  Instead, we bought a package of foam mats from Costco for $12.  These were a plain black and could be wiped off easily.  We set them up on our white living room carpet and made that Paxton’s main play area.  They provided an extra layer of cushion for a baby just learning to sit unassisted and made for easy cleanup for spit-up and milk.  We didn’t get these until our son was about 5 months old. However, they would have been great to have from the beginning. 

Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition
My son playing on his foam mats.  

Activity Table(s): Rating Green

You don’t need these until your baby is a little older, but they are great for 6+ months.  I really like the designs where the legs are detachable. We had one that we used for a few months without the legs once my son could sit up, then when he started standing, we added the legs.  Now at almost a year, he loves crawling over and pulling up on it to play.  The music and lights are favorites.  We got one that sings/talks in both English and Spanish. When I get tired of listening to the ABC’s in English I switch to Spanish.  We have this one.


Walker: Rating Red

The walkers where you put your baby into them and they have wheels are not recommended by the AAP because they can be dangerous by allowing really little babies to get into things and fall down stairs.  There hasn’t been shown to be any benefit from using these.  Therefore, these walkers should be avoided.  This is the type of walker that isn’t recommended.


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Push Toy: Rating Yellow

If you really wanted your baby to have a walker, for older babies, compromise and get a push toy. These are designed to be used as baby is learning to walk.  They can still pose dangers, but by the time baby is using them, they are already crawling and pulling up on things.  I have a wooden one by Melissa and Doug (you can see my video on it here).  There are also options that have activity things on the front to play with while sitting like this one.  I rated this as yellow because I think it’s good for my son to practice walking and to experience the cause/effect concept of pushing it. However, he wouldn’t care if he didn’t have it.  Here is the toy we have.


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.


Stuffed Animals: 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.

Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

Miscellaneous Electronic Toys: 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.

Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

Miscellaneous Wooden Toys: 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.

Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

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 baby right away.  When baby is really little, you can read whatever you want.  Baby just likes hearing your voice.  However, as baby gets older and more active with better eyesight, you will want books with bright pictures.  Board books are great because they are hard to destroy and brightly colored.  Touch and feel books and ones where you press buttons for sounds are also great options to keep baby engaged.

Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

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.

Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

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.


Final Thoughts

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!

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Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

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.

22 thoughts on “Where Did All This Stuff Come From? – Baby Toys Edition

  • December 6, 2018 at 11:51 pm
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    This is such a great a great! I found it really helpful to brainstorm what else my son might be wanting! Side note: wenhabe the same exersaucer. It seriously is a lifesaver to be able to get some things done and let him bounce away.

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    • December 7, 2018 at 10:21 pm
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      Thanks! What toys are great and which aren’t has really taken a lot of trial and error.

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  • December 7, 2018 at 4:50 am
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    I love that you rated each thing with green, yellow, & red! So creative and this article would be so helpful to new moms 🙂

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    • December 7, 2018 at 10:20 pm
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      Thanks! Being a new mom is complicated enough. I wanted to make this as simple as possible.

      Reply
  • December 7, 2018 at 5:51 pm
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    I love the way you rated each item with a color because it definitely helps new moms figure out just want they need to register for. It truly is amazing how much stuff accumulates when you have a baby. As my daughter grew, she just turned 2 in October, she is accumulating even more stuff. I am constantly trying to remove/donate extra things that she isn’t particularly interested in, especially now that we are expecting a second bundle of joy on December 31! The one thing I did when purchasing/registering for all the baby things for my daughter was choose neutral items that a boy or girl could enjoy. We knew we would definitely have two children so going the neutral route helped us save money and get more use out of the baby toys and gear. Great post and thanks for taking the time to put it together! By the way, your son is adorable!

    Reply
    • December 7, 2018 at 10:18 pm
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      That’s a great idea to go with neutral items so they work for multiple babies. I find that a lot of boy stuff could be neutral, but so much girl stuff is very girly. Congrats on your soon-to-arrive new babe! December 31 is my son’s birthday. Are you having a boy or a girl?

      Reply
  • December 8, 2018 at 1:23 pm
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    We have had a lot of these as well. Some were necessities for us that were lifesavers, while others could have certainly been skipped!

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    • December 9, 2018 at 1:18 am
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      You learn so much as a mom; it makes me want to share it with everyone who is pregnant!

      Reply
  • December 9, 2018 at 6:46 pm
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    I agree with most of your ratings!

    I LOVE the black foam mat you got, I wanted something neutral colored like that but couldn’t find anything. I got stuck with a black and white with the alphabet on it which I found obnoxious but dealt with it because we have hard floors.

    Reply
    • December 9, 2018 at 11:45 pm
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      I wanted a mat, but wasn’t desperate for one. When I found that black one at Costco, I couldn’t pass it up. The crazy patterns and alphabet ones are a bit too much.

      Reply
  • December 11, 2018 at 7:06 pm
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    Oh my goodness, yes! There are so many toys out there and picking the best ones and even the ones that are actually necessary can be hard. I agree with most of your recommendations on here and it only gets worse as they get older. They want everything and you have to determine what to say no to and what is ok. It is hard!

    Reply
    • December 12, 2018 at 12:02 am
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      It’s definitely easy to fall into the trap of ending up with way more toys than you need! When my son is old enough to start asking for toys, I’m likely going to be in trouble.

      Reply
  • December 11, 2018 at 8:11 pm
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    I agree with everything you said! My son is older now and he doesn’t need most of this stuff anymore. Now I’m trying to pick out toys that he’ll like—the truth is he spent an hour playing with a lint roller this morning! 🙂

    Reply
    • December 12, 2018 at 12:00 am
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      Good to know that even as they get older random household things still make for good entertainment!

      Reply
  • December 11, 2018 at 8:50 pm
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    This is a great article. Very truthful! Although, I have to disagree on the Bumbo. We have one with a tray and we bring it with us to restaurants instead of using the dirty germ infested high chairs that are provided. It is very convenient.
    Also, we got an excersaucer that converts into a table for when she out grows it! Double duty toys are always good!
    Thanks for the good read!

    Reply
    • December 11, 2018 at 11:59 pm
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      Thanks for the comment! I have a travel high chair, so I’ve never tried using the Bumbo seat that way. I can see how that would be helpful. I’ve never heard of an exersaucer that converts into a table. That sounds really cool!

      Reply
  • December 11, 2018 at 9:26 pm
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    Great ideas! Expecting baby #5 I’ve learned that less is more when it comes to kids! There are only a handful of things that have proven to be super useful, and my kids often had more fun with pots and pans than anything else. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • December 11, 2018 at 11:58 pm
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      Wow, I’m sure you are a pro by now! I keep imagining how much easier the second one must be because of everything I now know.

      Reply
  • December 12, 2018 at 4:04 am
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    My daughter has most of these toys!! It is good to see that we are not the only parents that have to decide what is necessary and what is not so important!!

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    • December 12, 2018 at 5:21 am
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      I think every new mom has to go through it initially! I’m hopeful that I’ll get better at predicting what is necessary and what isn’t as time goes on.

      Reply
  • December 12, 2018 at 4:06 am
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    I loved this post! This would be so helpful for a new mom struggling to decide what to buy. I hate how marketing plays on a new mom’s emotions and makes it seem like everything is a necessity. It’s so not true! I agreed with so many of your ratings. What an awesome post!

    Reply
    • December 12, 2018 at 5:19 am
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      Thanks for the support! It’s so hard as a new mom to sort out what is marketing and what is truth.

      Reply

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