Infant to Age 2
If you’re shopping for your own newborn or the parents of a new baby, there are plenty of gifts that will be special playtime favorites.
Sing to Your Baby
What it is: A book and CD set for new parents, complete with lyrics in the book and background music on the CD.
Why we like it: This warmhearted, beautifully crafted book-and-CD set, created by stalwart children’s music duo Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer in consultation with psychologist and educator Laura G. Brown, encourages new parents to commune with their babies through music and their own loving voices, gentle touch and eye contact. No need to be self-conscious or worry about being perfectly in tune, say Fink and Marxer. Parents can learn the pair’s tuneful, gentle “love songs and sing-plays” by heart, or they can sing along with the CD, where each song is duplicated in both male and female vocal ranges.
What it is: The trike, which can be used both indoors and outdoors, progresses through six stages as your child grows and his needs and abilities change. It begins as a stationary rocker with two possible positions and transforms into a push-along, a push-along ride-on, an independent ride-on and a scooter. The Smart Trike features a washable, padded seat cover, a relining supporting backrest, a rocking base with quiet anti-skid wheels and a removable parent handle.
Why we like it: For parents of a new baby, this gift will be much appreciated. It’s sturdy, meaning it will last through multiple transformations that will fit all of the stages of walking and riding for young ones.
What it is: 22 wooden blocks that double as rattles
Why we like it: Testers jumped right into building skyscrapers and whole villages, putting the steps in front of the buildings and adding the roof. The rattle inside of the blocks made for a fun addition to play. “Instruments!” exclaimed one boy when he heard the rattle. A great gift for city dwellers.
What it is: A ride-on toy in the shape of a pink pig, complete with sturdy wheels and handle
Why we like it: The casters allow riders to move forwards and backwards, scoot sideways, and run rings around obstacles in the way. The surface easily wipes clean. And did we mention that this ride-on toy is absolutely adorable?
3D Softy Animal Ride-On
What it is: Another ride-on toy, this one is made of foam and is good for scooting
Why we like it: Its small profile makes this an easy favorite. It’s not big and bulky, so it’s easy for little ones to maneuver. It’s even so lightweight that they can pick it up with one hand and carry it wherever they want to go. And when they drop it, whether on their own feet or their brother’s feet, it doesn’t really matter, because it’s foam! A bargain that won’t scratch walls or furniture.
What it is: A sleek, modern take on stacking blocks. These are balls with a scoop shape cut out, allowing each ball to sit within the one below it
Why we like it: Toddler testers have found a ton of things to do with these Tobbles. They stack them, knock them down, spin them, roll them, carry them around and, yes, throw them. From a learning perspective, this toy encourages everything from sensory exploration and hand-eye coordination to motor skills and visual spatial awareness.
What it is: A toy car and truck made from eco-friendly materials
Why we like it: To children these are just two really cool cars to push around. The blue truck hauls a sleek red “hot rod” on its back, and has a flatbed that tilts up to allow the car to roll off. But to parents, these are prime examples of the rugged indestructibleness that all toddler toys should have.