Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Holiday Gift Guides for Baby, Toddler and Beyond! {Or What My Boys Are Getting From Santa...}

Babies can be difficult to buy for, especially if you don't have much experience with the age of the baby in question or if it's been a few years since you've stumbled into a toy store. Or, perhaps you're like me, a mom of three and you just can't remember which baby liked what toy and at which age. 

All babies grow and mature differently but listed below is just a handful of gift ideas for the 6-12 month old. This age is all about encouraging mobility, interacting and communicating as well as engaging both those fine and gross motor skills. Babies at this age are very busy- both in mind and action. Some may be learning to crawl, some may be in the throes of teething or learning to sit unassisted and some might even be taking their first steps. 

Here are a few toys that have always been fan favorites in our household. We already own many of these toys but there are a couple listed below that just might find their way beneath our tree for a certain baby brother Collins. 

1. Winkel Rattle and Teether - Easy to grasp with one or both hands and made from brightly colored BPA-free plastic, this toy is visually appealing and safe to teethe on with it's continuous tube construction. We've been through many a Winkel (mostly because we take them everywhere with us and proceed to lose them) and this is one toy I never think twice about replacing immediately.  

2. Mozart Magic Cube  - An interactive toy made with soft round corners introduces babies to music and sounds at an early age. On the plus side, sounds mimic the noise made by real instruments and they aren't as annoying as some other musical children's toys on the market. 

3. Classic Baby Beads Wood Rattle - Another Manhattan Toy fan favorite, all three of my boys loved these teething beads made from renewable rubber wood. Made with non-toxic paint these are safe for mouthing as well as banging against any object within arm's reach.   

4. Musical Lion Walker - Designed to help develop support and coordination, this toy is suitable for sitters, standers and walkers. With bright lights, sounds and engaging hands-on activities, this toy helps teach baby cause and effect all the while encouraging them to move. 

5. Bumkins Waterproof Sleeved Bib - BPA-free, easy to adjust, wipe clean and machine washable, I just love these bibs so much, specifically their Junior Bib. It has these handy dandy "sleeves" that slip over your baby's arms which helps keep the bib in place even with the sneakiest of eaters. This might be a totally lame gift idea but needless to say, my baby is getting three new Bumkins bibs in his stocking this year! 

6. Musical Farmyard Cube - With 3D fabrics that crinkle, knot and mirror as well as four fun melodies, this toy is great for encouraging baby's senses, both fine and gross motor skills, as well as promoting movement and communication. Not only do we love this toy for when baby is learning to sit but it's also been great for encouraging mobility. 

7. B. One Two Squeeze Blocks - Hands down my favorite stacking blocks in the history of stacking blocks. They are textured, stack-able, squeeze-able and float-able. We have sets for home, the car, the bath as well as the beach!

8. Jellycat Puppy - The sweetest stocking stuffer, Jellycats are some of the softest stuffed animals on the planet. Each of my boys has a monogrammed Jellycat Bunny from Peekawhoo and it has quickly become their most-loved lovie. This puppy will be given a new, loving home inside of Collins' stocking this year. 

9. Converse Chuck Taylors - I don't know about you, but baby and toddler Chucks get me every time. There are few things cuter than a baby in Chucks and this year Collins will be getting his very first pair from Rack Room Shoes. Made from lightweight canvas, these shoes are perfect for tiny, growing feet!  

And just when I thought it was difficult shopping for the baby, I'm quickly reminded that it's a bit more difficult shopping for two and four year old little boys. There isn't a whole lot that my boys need this year and truth be told, I'm not sure how many more 100-pc toy sets I can pick up from my living room at the end of every day. Santa's mission this year is to keep the pieces to a minimum and although one of the items on their list is piece-heavy, you'll quickly notice that everything else is not. Not to mention that 3/4's of EVERYTHING on this list is KID-POWERED. How awesome is that? Here's what the boys will find tagged with their names and sent from Santa, with love: 

1. Razor Jr. Kiddie Kick Scooter - I've read excellent reviews on this scooter for introductory riders and this is something that each of the boys actually asked Santa for this Christmas. They already love to spend their days outside tooling around on their bikes and after falling head over heels for our neighbor's Razor Jr. I knew this was something that they would love to have! I might also throw in some knee and elbow pads...  

2. VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels - Train Station Playset - The VTech Smart Wheels sets were a HUGE hit in our house last Christmas. Not only do we own the Construction and Airport sets, but we also have the deluxe track and no joke, my boys will spend anywhere from 1-2 hours playing with them. This year we will be adding to our collection with the train station as well as a handful of new cars (namely the police car, tractor, fire engine and helicopter). I love that these cars and trucks are kid-powered and don't move electronically around the tracks.

3. Waba Fun Kinetic Sand  - We have experience with two other brands of kinetic sand, neither of which promises to not spread all over- a characteristic that I'm looking forward to seeing hold up in the hands of my two heathens! However, since we already have the Tupperware boxes to play in and hoards of cookie cutters, rolling pins and other toys to help mold and create with, I figured we'd give this new brand a try. After all, we really did have so much fun playing with the other brands and it'll be nice to "bring the beach indoors" during the cold winter months!   

4. Pete the Cat's Sing-Along Story Collection - In our house, we absolutely love Pete the Cat and I'm so excited I stumbled across this mash up of our favorite songs and our favorite cat.   

5. Magformers - Sure there might be anywhere from 30-60 pieces in any given Magformers set but this toy came highly recommended for my two busy builders. With wheels that move and two very active imaginations, I cannot wait to introduce this creative and inspiring toy. It will be a nice change from all the Legos, that's for sure!

6. Wooden Engines & Train Cars  and Mountain Over Pass Set - My boys started playing with their beloved Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Multi-Activity Table shortly after each of their first birthdays. Each year, I try to update their set with at least once new piece of "equipment" whether it's a new set of passenger cars, a drawbridge or in this case, a mountain overpass and addition engines. I love watching their imaginations at work at the train table and it's a gift that keeps on giving year round.  

7. Converse Chuck Taylors - I don't know about your family but growing up, I always ended up with a pair of shoes underneath the Christmas tree. Sometimes it was out of necessity, but more times than not, it was that one pair of (insert that year's trendy shoe to be had) that I lusted over ever since seeing the other girls at school wearing them. Subconsciously, I've continued the tradition with my own children and each year they find their own new pair of kicks beneath the tree. A sucker for Chucks, the big boys will also find their very own pair of Converse beneath the tree from Rack Room Shoes* I just love the deep pop of purple these casual kid's sneakers will provide with any play clothes ensemble!

8. LeapFrog Learning Games  - We are always on the go and when the boys were gifted with their LeapPad2 Learning Tablet last Christmas, they became instant companions in the car and on the move. While I do love being able to hop on the computer and download new games for them, it's been a while since I've done that and I know the boys will be super excited to see a new learning game (or two) stuffed into their stockings. Whether we're heading home to New Jersey or waiting to see the doctor (which, let's face it, we do every month during cold and flu season) our LeapPads are constant companions.

*Rack Room Shoes offers on-trend footwear for the entire family! It's a website that I visit constantly, mostly because I love their every day "BOGO 50% off" promotion on ALL styles. It's a great one-stop shopping tool that allows me to buy footwear for the entire family without having to search various websites for the popular styles from baby to adult. The Rack Room Rewards Program allows customers instant savings while other perks include discounts, coupons as well as $15 in rewards for every $200 spent. I did not receive financial compensation for this post but did receive product in exchange for my honest thoughts as provided above. 

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  1. They will love the Magformers! And I can't wait for our Smart Wheels train station to be unwrapped... Ty held the firetruck today at the store about about threw a fit when I had to put it back on the shelf. :)

  2. This is going to be so helpful for me as the mom of an eight month old boy who has no clue what to get him! He did get that exact Jellycat puppy (with monogram!) from Peek A Whoo for his six month birthday though! ;)

  3. just you do what every mother wants. Take the child (or children, as the case may be) out to breakfast and let us sleep in. playard by thebabyguides

  4. It' actually a great and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.


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