by Bethany McDaniels
It's almost time for Santa's helpers to wrap gifts for the babies and toddlers in their lives.
The sheer variety of toys that line the toy store shelves can be overwhelming!
What are the best choices?
What do kids like?
We've taken some of the guesswork out of baby toy selection for you and come up with our top 10 gifts that are fun and educational for the baby on your list!
There is something for everyone, no matter what you can afford. What's most important is you and your family connecting!
1. Gym Mat/Activity Center, such as the "Tiny Love Gymini Activity Gym, Super Deluxe Lights and Music." There are many to choose from but the important thing is that these toys offer a lot for baby to do "grow" into it. The Tiny Love center includes lights and music. This will capture baby's attention in so many ways that you may get a chance to put the baby down for a few minutes! (Average price: $49 - $69)
2. Jump-A-Roo jumping toys. These types of toys have also been around a long time and they only get more exciting every year. Not only do they help strengthen baby's leg muscles, they keep baby entertained and help them sit upright so they can get a whole new view of the world! Rather than have the mechanism hanging from your doorway, this stand-alone version can go with you anywhere. (Average price: $69 - $119)
3. Lamaze Play & Grow Take Along Toys such as "Jacques the Peacock." These offer bright colors, multiple textures and sounds. And the best part is that you can take them along and attach them to cribs, car seats and the like. They are tactile, soft and pliable toys that you can wash at home and don't need that "extra care" that some toys do. Lamaze is a trusted label too! (Average price: $12 - $17)
4. Fisher Price Little SuperStar Musical Stacker. Four sparkly stars light up and play music as your baby stacks them. This helps baby learn to grasp and stack, enhancing fine motor skills, tactile and auditory skills, develop hand-eye coordination and learn to distinguish between sizes. And when baby places the stars on the stacker or merely rocks the stacker, baby is rewarded with 5 classical music selections and children's songs. Even the post lights up! Part of the "Dance baby Dance collection, the age range for this toy goes up to 36 months so baby will get a lot of use from it for a long time to come. (Average price: $15)
5. Activity Center such as the "My Busy Town Activity Center" and the "Toysmith Zoo Activity Center." These centers or cubes offer multiple sides of activities including curvy wire rides, peek-a-boo doors, spin and match animals, turn and learn ABC word tiles, and racing vehicle rollers. Bright colors and patterns stimulate all of baby's senses and allow baby to practice and enhance their fine motor skills and begin to recognize language patterns. 16"H x 12"D x 12"W (Average price: $59 - $110)
6. Little Tikes 5-in-1 Adjustable Gym. This is an activity center that helps to develop baby's coordination and movement skills by capturing his or her attention with lights, sounds and colors. It features 3 parent-selected play modes: “motion activated,” “songs” or “piano" and a sleep mode to save on battery life. And it will grow with your baby as it transforms into 5 different play centers! (Average price: $49)