July 2018 Moms

Product Spotlight 2/26: Toys!

This is a place for FTMs to ask questions and S+TMs to share the wealth of knowledge they've accumulated on baby products. Each week we'll spotlight a new category of product to help streamline and make it easier to refer back. This week it's.... toys! Playmats, gyms, activity centers, rattles, stuffed animals -- you name it! (We'll have another thread later dedicated specifically to teething, but feel free to include those items here as well.)

Please use the prompts below to try to share as much relevant info as you can in a format that is easy for those reading to absorb/respond to. If you'd like to recommend/ask questions about more than one product, please copy/paste the prompts as needed.  

For S+TMs: 

  • Any specifics that may differentiate your preferences:
  • Favorite [toy]:
  • Link/picture:
  • Cost (either actual dollar amount, or just $, $$, $$$, etc.):
  • Age appropriate for:
  • What you like about it:
  • What you don't like about it, if anything:
  • Is there a [toy] you don't have but are considering? Why?:
  • Is there a [toy] you've tried that you absolutely hate? Why?: 
  • Additional thoughts on [toy]?:

For FTMs

  • [Toy] you're interested in:
  • Link/picture:
  • Cost (either actual dollar amount, or just $, $$, $$$, etc.):
  • Any questions about it/them for S+TMs?:
Old links here in spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1nhSR3UAwJx8UitC9b2hRx57c4hHkK6BU679FjqXMeHQ/edit?usp=sharing

Re: Product Spotlight 2/26: Toys!

  • I second what @wildtot said.  We didn't have a ton of baby toys and the few that we had, my son didn't play with that frequently.  They are really more into just exploring the world around them.  The toys we did have that he liked were Skip Hop I believe.  
    <3 Married 6.12.10 <3
    DS 11.8.12
     Baby GIRL! due 7.4.18
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  • SmashJamSmashJam member
    edited February 2018
    I second others, that DS didn't really get into toys for awhile, but once he was I noticed it was colorful things that made noise. The Oball rattle, which was pretty fun for him up close bc of the sound, was a fave. We had one of those teething "blanket" toys that crinkled and was really bright (what he liked when he was super tiny) and had the hard plastic corners, which he like when he was older and teething. Other than that really any noisemaker or anything that included contrasting colors and moved or had textures.

    He did like the play mat toys once he started grabbing at things, and MIL got him a kick n play piano which he loved to hit with his feet and then also his hands once he was propping himself up.

    ETA:: more description.
  • +1 for @wildtot. In the 1st year I got a lot of use out of a kick piano mat, play mat, and his jumper/exersaucer thing. All of those together probably cost $100 but I can say we used it all. Plus a handful of shaker/sensory toys were well loved, especially for on the go. He had one plastic red lobster that he wanted to carry around and chew on all the time. 
    After that they start to develop personalities and preferences, and you’ll have a better idea of what to get to best suit your child. For us now that’s anything dinosaurs and cars. 
  • The piano kick play mat is the best, my son loved that thing as a baby. Also I recommend the V-tech cube...around 5-6 months it helped my son learn to sit up. Nothing else really stands out in my mind as a toy a baby needs, aside from just a lot of things they can chew on for teething, and things they can shake/rattle for developing motor skills. Aside from that, the world is their toy, and they get so much entertainment out of just observing their surroundings and interacting with people. 


  • +1 for the piano kick and play & the oball rattle.  Exersaucer is also great once babies are mobile to put them someplace safe while you're getting ready, bringing in groceries, etc.  I bought one used for only $25 and used bleach wipes all over it.

    We're also in love with the Baby Einstein Sea Soother - I just bought another one for this baby. A sleep consultant recommended it for my cousin so now all of us with babies and preschoolers have them.

    Oh - and the soft crinkly books that have teether type edges would keep her entertained in the car for 30-45 minutes at a time, which was a miracle for her attention span.
  • don't spend a lot on toys, they won't play with them :P 
  • Agreed with the above... no need to buy toys now like, at all. The best stuff to buy now for the upcoming year IMO would be a sit me up chair, a walker/bouncer or a play gym! :)

    My 20 month old had way too many toys that I've already tossed, and her FAVORITE things are kitchen utensils, pots and pans, and baby dolls. Who knows what your kids will like til they're way older! :)
  • I don't plan on even buying toys for a while. I guess I figure baby will be entertained by things like his/her own hands for a while, and random kitchen things like a silicon cup seem to be interesting enough for my friends littles, plus there will be no stopping my mom from buying stuff so I'll save the money for other things. Other than maybe a play gym, not planning on buying things, seems the collection of toys grows no matter what anyway. 
  • I agree on not buying many toys.  My son's faves were:

    This Manhattan Toy Winkel: https://www.amazon.com/Manhattan-Toy-Winkel-Sensory-Teether/dp/B000BNCA4K/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1519758599&sr=8-2&keywords=manhattan+rattle

    Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle and Sensory Teether Toy

    Activity Garden -- He started playing with it at 6 months and still plays with it now (21 months) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C2P6VWW/ref=od_aui_detailpages00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Little Tikes Activity Garden Baby Playset

  • runsomewhererunsomewhere member
    edited February 2018
    I'm just going to list some things we used and liked.

    The babycare play mats are amazing. Easy to clean, safe and pretty big. DD loved it for tummy time, starting rolling, sitting and exploring. I usually hate stuff that makes my home look like a day care but we loved this product. 

    Smart Noggin NogginStik Development Rattle
    Everyone told me this is a must have, I thought it was kind of dumb but got in anyways, DD loved it and learned how to grasp things really quickly with it. It is a hard rattle and she would occasionally hit herself in the face with it which made me feel bad.

    Image result for violet the dog
    She still loves Violet

    Image result for einstein bouncer
    This is how I cooked dinner most nights starting at 3 months. 

    Sorry if this is huge.
    BabyFruit Ticker
  • I have 2 playmats, got both at consignment for $20 total. One is the kick piano thing. That's pretty much as far as we're going with toys, and we'll probably get one of those bouncy chairs only when he is big enough. We have a couple of rattle toys as well but so far we haven't spent much at all on toys. Totally agree with @runsomewhere about the house looking like a daycare, haha!
  • My son's FAVORITE toys (he started playing with it around 6 months) was his FP Activity Table. You can remove the legs if your baby isn't standing/pulling up yet. It really helped my son with sitting, pulling up and standing on his own. I highly recommend this table....might be something to consider for Christmas for these July babies.  :)


  • @runsomewhere Violet and Scout are my go-to shower presents for people! My nieces and nephews LOVE theirs. My 8 year old niece still sleeps with her Violet and listens to the music for sleep. It obviously is now just a bed time comfy piece, however it's worth it! 

    Babysizer Geeky Pregnancy Tracker

  • This might be a UO, but we have both the LeapFrog Violet and the Fisher Price version.  I prefer the FP one! The songs and sayings are cuter IMO.  I also think the way she says "Charlotte" is creepy.  hahaha
  • I thought of a "toy." We had the below portable sound machine on DS's carseat. It was amazing at calming him down when he was just a fuss for no reason. 


  • My son's FAVORITE toys (he started playing with it around 6 months) was his FP Activity Table. You can remove the legs if your baby isn't standing/pulling up yet. It really helped my son with sitting, pulling up and standing on his own. I highly recommend this table....might be something to consider for Christmas for these July babies.  :)


    Gosh Sloan loved this thing! And the songs got stuck in my husbands head . Still to this day he will randomly sing one of them . Haha
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