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You are probably wondering, ‘this is no holiday season so why a gift guide now’?
Trust me, when you have a baby or are friends with someone who is about to pop or has had a baby recently, no matter the time of the year a gift guide for the baby is very essential, especially when it comes to toys.
P.S: I wrote this post back in February but never got around to publishing it, so here goes…
When was my baby boy this little? 😮 Aarush was about 6 months when we clicked this picture. He was so fascinated (and still is) by the new Peekaboo toy his uncle bought him.
Before becoming a mom, I would always feel lost trying to pick up a useful gift for my friends’ babies. More often than not I would just end up buying clothes, and honestly, they aren’t the most useful gifts since these little humans outgrow them so fast (believe you me, some of my baby’s clothes have gone straight from the hanger into a keepsake box because those brand new clothes don’t fit him, sigh!).
Plus, I would always want to buy gifts that either entertain the baby and/or contribute towards his development, and clothes hardly fit that criteria. Back then, the problem was also that I wouldn’t know how to go about it, there are way too many baby toys and suggestions out there, just like anything else. But there’s never an easy way to tell which ones are actually good and useful, unless, you are a parent and know the toys your baby loves, or have spent hours on the internet researching baby toys, or both (which is mostly the story in my case now, haha).
So, here’s a list of toys my baby, Aarush loves. And honestly, he didn’t care so much for any toys until at the beginning (except to put them in his mouth of course) but that changed slowly after he turned 6 months old, now we clearly know what his absolute favorites toys are. Some of these toys are actually gifts that he received from family and friends. And I love all these people for buying ‘em toys for him, cuz no number of toys are enough to help with his development and to keep this little bundle of energy occupied (and each day a different toy helps us get by another feeding session, if you know what I mean haha).
1. PEEKABOO ELEPHANT: This one’s a HUGE hit with Aarush, in fact, it’s a huge hit with everyone in the house because this Peekaboo Elephant is that cute and a life saver (remember all those feeding sessions I just talked about ;)). The Elephant is a gift from my brother (my baby’s favorite uncle who showers him with innumerable toys/gifts and visits every so often). And I didn’t even have a clue about this toy or how amazing and adorable it is as I hadn’t read about it on any website or seen any of my friends’ babies play with it. So kudos to my brother for finding this one (and he isn’t even a parent).
2. BABY EINSTEIN: I think that the Baby Einstein (I still do not know why it is called that BTW) is one of the most popular toys among all babies. It’s entertaining, small and goes with us everywhere.
3. JUMPEROO: I must say that this is one amazing toy! This little guy loves to be on the jumperoo and if we let him, he will continue to jump forever without ever feeling tired. Sadly, he has already outgrown it – he is so tall now that he stands flat even on the 3rd setting and can no longer use it (wish they made a bigger version). Jumperoo is one toy that we all dearly miss, cuz to us parents it was also the only toy that could contain Aarush in one place for a bit 🙁
4. MUSICAL RHYMES BOOK: My little one is way too fascinated by its music and talk. He spends hours turning pages and pressing the buttons. ‘Here we go round the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush…’ is what has replaced all the other Bollywood numbers that would play in the background at home (and my head).
5. BALLS, BLOCKS & FARM ANIMALS SET: This 20-piece squeeze, stack and play set is another favorite with my babe because of its interesting texture and shapes. But for the most part, he just loves to endlessly chew on it.
6. BOOKS / PLUSH BOOKS: Though my baby hardly focuses on the book during reading time he is quite attracted to the different colors and shapes in them. He already has at least 3 dozen books in his ever-growing library collection. Plush books are another hit as he loves to touch and feel the different shapes and flip the pages as they do not hurt him like the hardcover books do.
7. MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS: Aarush loves anything and everything music, so we even let him play on my actual musical keyboard and I’d say he is quite the pianist at home. His uncle also bought him a guitar for his 1st birthday and it is totally winning right now. P.S: Musical instruments are great but please be mindful before buying any kind of musical toys or any toys that make a sound in general, because, you know, parents have to bear the brunt of it (as that sound can soon feel deafening to the ears, no kidding :-/).
8. TEETHERS: Aarush got his first set of teeth when he was 5 months old which means he started teething much before that. So teethers have been great not just to play but also to soothe his painful gums.
9. BATH TOYS: Aarush loves the water and he can spend hours in the bathtub playing with his bathtime buddies. Or, maybe it is because he can never get tired of chewing them, hehe.
10. BALL: Any ball of any size and shape is attractive to my baby. It’s super cute to watch the chasing game, aka him pushing the ball away as he tries to grab it with his tiny hands. But if it’s a tiny ball he has already learned to hold it in his hand and spin it across the floor.
11. ACTIVITY GYM: After his Dock-A-Tot (read more about it here), the activity gym is where he
spends spent most of his time. It is was like his own little haven in our living room – his expeditions began and ended there, it’s as if coming back home after a long and tiring day of work.
12. LAUGH AND LEARN PLAY HOUSE: This too is a gift from one of our friends and is a huge hit with this babe. The opening/closing of the door, and going in from one side/coming out the other can be quite a neverending game for Aarush! Starting with initially pulling himself up to stand to now pushing it hard enough to topple it over, he’s mastered its ways.
13. ZANNY ZOO WOODEN ACTIVITY CUBE:
Yet to buy him one Bought it for his 1st birthday! I have bought the Zany Zoo for a lot of my friends’ babies as it was highly recommended by another mom friend. And given my babes love for all things animals, I already know that he will love it.
14. RATTLES: Again, anything that makes some sound and is colorful always gets Aarush’s undivided attention, even if it’s for just a few minutes. And rattles fit that bill perfectly for him, they too, like Baby Einstein are small and easy to carry everywhere.
15. STACKABLES: These are a must-have baby toy! And my little one is slowly getting inquisitive about the stackable toys, they are no longer just things to put in his mouth. It is so much fun to
make him hold these tiny objects and help him stack ‘em one on top of the other now watch him aggressively and endlessly push the stack piles we make, one destructive kid I tell ya haha.
16. ALPHABET PLAYMAT: This one is probably one of the very first gifts every baby gets. When Aarush used to stay put in one place (which seems like a really really really long time ago), the alphabet mat is where he would spend a good part of his day. And now, even though he is hardly ever in one place for more than a few seconds, I try to teach him letters pointing to the playmat when we spend time in his room.
Bonus: Let’s call this The Venetian Toy, The Gondolier… No one bought this for Aarush, this was something that the hubs bought for me when we were in Vegas several years ago. Who knew it’s actual use/job is to sing ‘o sole mia’ while feeding a stubborn baby hehe.
P.S: I just remembered as I wrapped up this blogpost that the Activity Cube is another great baby toy. I had picked one up from Target years ago for our friends baby (long before I became a parent) and apparently it was one of his favorite toys. I have looked for that specific one over and over since Aarush was born but I have just not been able to find it in any store, sigh!
There you have it, these are Aarush’s favorite toys and are great gifts for any baby! And these toys are not just fun but also helps enhance the babies creativity, imagination and help with his development one way or another.
And I am sure there are going to be several follow up posts to come as he grows older and his collection expands, so stay tuned…
If you have other favorite toys your baby loves then please tell me in the comments below because I am constantly looking for more options for Aarush.
“The littlest feet make the biggest footprints in our hearts.”