Posted in Parenting

Musts & Busts: Baby Toys

As a new parent, it can be quite a daunting task to pick out great toys for our little ones.  I mean, we all want the best for our children and the different toy companies put in lots of money to convince us that they have *the* product.  But what’s the real deal?

A while back, I asked some of my fellow bloggers to share with me some of the best and worst baby toys out there and now, I want to share that list with you.

Baby Toy Musts (in no particular order)

1.  (DK) Board Books

Image borrowed from
Image borrowed from

Amanda from Writing in White writes:

By and large though, the best “toys” (and I hesitate to even call them that) are books. [My son] never tires of them. They’re his go-to when he ready to play, tired and wanting to rest, for bedtime, or simply just to sit in mommy’s lap and flip through again and again. To be even more specific, books with real photographs enthrall him. Anything with an actual picture of a baby makes him light up – he will even kiss the pages of his favorites! DK publishing makes the best ones – board books that teach them colors and words, with some versions having the touch and feel option, as well.

2.  The Baby Einstein musical turtle


This is a submission from Georgia over at McKinley Milestones and one I was going to suggest as well.  Here is why she loves this toy so much:

I have chosen this as a best toy because as we know babies/infants love things that are musical and light up. This toy helps them to create music themselves and associate lights with sounds. There are five buttons that represent different musical instruments. The music played is classical. You can press one button or all five to hear single instruments, or all instruments playing together.

3.  The classic Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box Caterpillar

Why Georgia thinks this is such a great toy:

It is a classic toy for kids under and up to 12 months. It’s pure excitement and joy to watch something pop out of a box.  It can also turn into a peek-a-boo game. “Where is it?” …..”there it is!’  They make many different kinds of jack in the box’s now, but the one that McKinley had was a “Very hungry Caterpillar” and the caterpillar popped out.  It was nice to have a toy that she could associate to a book that we read.

4.  The Crawl Along Snail by Fisher Price

Crawl along snail

Here’s why this toy makes the musts list according to Georgia

This toy lasted us for a good 7 months! In the beginning it was a great toy because it had a mirror for McKinley to look into and of course the snail lights up and plays songs. As McKinley got older however, the snail would crawl along with her as she pushed it. The reason I am voting this as a best toy is because it lasted the longest.

5.  The Fisher Price Discover ‘n Grow Kick and Play Piano Gym

Image borrowed from
Image borrowed from

I wrote about this product before and I still think it’s a great one.  In a nutshell, it has a good variety of music and it can be used with newborns, infants and toddlers (it is a 3 in 1 toy).  For more info, you can check out the post I wrote on it a few months ago.

6.  Duplo blocks

Image borrowed from
Image borrowed from

My little guy has been playing with these for a couple of months now.  At first, he would look at us build and then promptly destroy our creations.  Then, he started exploring the blocks, touching the smooth and textured sides, putting them in his mouth.  Recently, about a month ago, he started being able to pull two blocks apart and then put them back together.  It really is a great learning toy and it will definitely grow with him.

Baby Toy Busts (in no particular order)

1.  Plastic toys with noisemakers

When writing about these, Amanda explains that this type of toy becomes quickly overstimulating for her son and puts a dent in his naps.  They also have the added benefit disadvantage of driving her nuts.  I think the following sentence illustrates well why plastic noisemakers just aren’t wonderful for babies in her experience:

Give the boy a bowl and a spoon and he can make a symphony. Give him a plastic noisemaker and he just may cry.

2.  The Fisher Price iPhone Ring Holder

iPhone case

Sounds like a good idea at first glance, right?  Georgia explains why this isn’t such a great toy:

This toy I rated the worst because I felt our money was wasted.  It literally didn’t serve a purpose.  While the idea is great, and you can use the iPhone in the case, it’s annoying to put in and take out. If your baby has actually touched an iPhone prior to using this- then they already know that they are somehow not using it.  Kids are to smart!  Also, it’s probably not the best for kids to get lots of exposure to screen time anyways.

3.  The Baby Einstein Bendy Ball

Bendy Ball

Though this toy was rated as a top toy, Georgia explains that her daughter just didn’t get it.  In fact, she never played with it.  Though it could be pushed around or shaken like a rattle, it doesn’t light up or do anything special.

4.  The Playskool Squishy Critter Lion

Image borrowed from
Image borrowed from

Besides the fact the it only produces the same two sounds over and over and over (and over) again (a “rawwwr” and a giggle) while being pushed, it’s pretty useless.  It’s actually rather heavy for an infant (granted, the goal is to push it around, not lift it) and, well, it has pretty much been sleeping in the toy box ever since we received it (despite the fact that I took it out numerous times to try to get Little Dude to play with it).

That’s all for today.  A BIG thank you to Amanda and Georgia for their contributions!

The next group post will be posted on November 15th and will be on teething toys and relief (anything from amber necklaces to homeopathic remedies to teething gel and advil).  I would love to hear from you again.  What were the best teething relief options you’ve used?  How about the worst?  Just send your suggestions to mommytrainingwheels (at) gmail (dot) com.


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Thirty-something year old discovering the joys and bumps of motherhood.

18 thoughts on “Musts & Busts: Baby Toys

  1. Erg!! I totally forgot about this topic! I meant to email you but (poof!) it was erased from my thoughts somehow. I am sorry. 😦
    I will write down te teething one so I don’t forget!

  2. There was a mom on Facebook that asked about good toys for 2 year olds so I told her that mine loves fir cones, sticks and rocks. The next day she had a great post about her kiddo repeatedly filling a bucket with cones. Best toy ever 🙂

  3. Love this – thanks for including me. I think I’m going to get one on those cute jack n the boxes!

    I would love to see a post like this on Christmas gifts for one year olds. I have a feeling a lot of useless stuff gets purchased when we could be stuffing stockings full of sticks and cones (loved that idea)!

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