Christmas Gift Ideas For Babies and Young Toddlers 2014
Learning, for babies, is all about play. Through play, babies learn new skills that help them grow and develop. Children learn more in the first three years than they do at any other time of their life. At birth, they are totally dependent on their carers to provide and do everything for them. By three years old they will be very independent, managing complex physical skills like catching a ball and riding a trike and will have developed the ability to recognise shape, colour, numbers and letters.
Babies reach different milestones at different ages and that is absolutely fine. What's important is that your baby is encouraged to practise the new skills that have been acquired. Choosing the right toys for the right stage of development will give babies the opportunity to further develop these skills. Babies use all of their senses to explore the world so good toys will be tactile, imaginitive and challenging. Here are some of the top educational toys for babies that will make fantastic Christmas gifts for a baby or toddler. These toys are sure to stimulate little ones and help develop all of these emerging skills.
Blocks are one of the best educational toys you can buy
1. Uncle Goose Classic Embossed Alphabet Blocks ABC
This building block set is a timeless classic from Uncle Goose that will last for a very long time. This set consists of 28 durable wooden blocks. Each block has four uppercase letters, a number or math symbol and a beautiful animal picture painted on it with non-toxic ink. Made in the USA, you can be sure of the high quality products and workmanship that have went into making this lovely classic toy. Babies will enjoy exploring the blocks as soon as they can hold objects in their hands. Older babies and toddlers will have great fun building towers and even more fun knocking them down. Children will love using the blocks to make words and produce number patterns when they reach that stage of development. It really is a toy that grows with your child. It will also last for many years to give enjoyment to subsequent children, nieces and nephews.
Parents on Amazon gave this toy overwhelmingly positive reviews, with all ratings being four stars and above and a whopping 90 percent giving it a five star rating. Parents consistently said that they were delighted with the high quality of the blocks and the superb play value that they offered.
Overall Score - 5 out of 5
2. Tolo Toys Rolling Shape Sorter
This is a brightly coloured rolling shape sorter, recommended from age 1 to 3 years. However, babies under one year will enjoy using it as a rolling toy and it will encourage them to develop their gross motor skills. They will also enjoy exploring the six different coloured shapes, which also make a rattling sound. Babies from one year onwards will start to explore the other possibilities of this versatile toy. The shape holes are colour coded to correspond with the shapes, which will help your young child identify the correct opening to put the shape in. This is an excellent toy for developing shape and colour recognition, fine motor skills and physical dexterity. It has been very highly reviewed on Amazon with almost everyone rating it with five stars. Parents commented that this toy would keep their children amused for quite long periods of time and provided excellent play value.
Overall Score - 4.5 out of 5
3. Fisherprice Precious Planet Kick and Play Piano
This is a great musical toy that will keep your baby amused and stimulated. It's a versatile toy that can either be attached to your baby's crib or played with on the floor. This gives it a longer life as it is ideal to use as a crib toy in the early months and as a floor toy when your baby gets a little older.
Parents who have tried and tested this lovely baby toy said that their babies enjoy hearing the musical sounds and lights that are activated when they kick their feet against the piano in the crib. Babies from about 6 months will enjoy playing with it as a floor toy. It helps their physical development as babies will be encouraged to push up to see and touch the colourful animals. Later on, babies who can sit unaided will be delighted to find out that they can activate musical notes and tunes by tapping the soft piano keys.
Many of the parents who reviewed this toy mentioned that their babies enjoyed playing with the piano well into toddlerhood. The Fisher Price precious planet kick and play piano really does represent very good value for money given the fact that it will encourage your child's development from birth to toddlerhood.
OVERALL SCORE - 4 out of 5
4. LeapFrog Learn & Groove Musical Table
This fun, interactive toy has a range of activities and over 40 melodies and which will suit various ages and stages of development from 6 months up to 3 years. Your child will have lots of fun exploring the 15 activities which are designed to help develop memory and listening skills and is also provides a good introduction to learning numbers 1-10 as well as shapes and colors. Parents reviewing it on Amazon said that it was a fun and engaging toy that had become a favourite with both babies and toddlers.
Overall Score - 4.4 out of 5
5. LeapFrog Spin and Sing Alphabet Zoo
This lovely toy will help babies develop motor skills as they spin the wheel again and again. In music mode the wheel plays the alphabet song and the lights flash as it spins. It can also be played in letter or animal mode which will help your child learn the alphabet and the names of 26 animals from Alligator to Zebra. When your child spins the wheel, it will sound out the letter or say the name of the animal that it stops at. This is a fun and engaging educational toy which will entertain your child from 6 months to 3 years of age.
Parents commented that this was a very durable toy that remained in excellent condition, even after being bashed about. This meant it could be passed down to siblings to play with.
Overall Score - 4 out of 5
A final word
All of the toys above have been highly reviewed by parents on Amazon. They are durable, high quality, fun, educational toys that will help babies reach their developmental milestones. They are all made by reputable toy companies such as Fisherprice and Playskool so you can guarantee the safety and quality of the products. So next time someone asks what to buy your baby for a birthday or Christmas present, why not consider one of these excellent toys?
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