Best Toys For Infants 0-6 Months

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Christmas is just around the corner, and I’m already thinking about the items I want to put on Buddy’s wish list. Any time I’ve gone to buy things for Buddy, I’ve always looked for ideas from other moms. When buying toys, I want things that will entertain Buddy for a long time (at least 15 minutes in one setting) and will last for a long time (at least 6 months, and for older age toys, preferably at least a year). These 10 toys were Buddy’s favorites as an infant, and several are even still being enjoyed today at 19 months.

Disclaimer – this article contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you choose to purchase an item using these links, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting my family. 

1. Freddie the Firefly

firefly

Freddie was Buddy’s first toy. The back side of the wings are black and white patterns, and he loved looking at them as an infant. As Buddy got older, he loved all the sounds the firefly makes (crinkly wings, squeaker, jingles) and all the textures on his body. The rings at the bottom were also fun for him to pull. I love that the ring at the top made it easy to clip Freddie onto the diaper bag or stroller. Buddy loved this toy from 0-14 months, and I was really sad when he outgrew it.

2. OBall Rattles

oball-rattle-collage

We have a lot of different OBall rattles, and we love them all. They are easy to grab, and there are lots of different parts to look at. Buddy still plays with the OBall car, and I’m sure he will continue to do so for a long time. We have played with these from 1 month – 19 months.

3. Kick and Play Piano Gym

piano-gym-collage

This piano gym was Buddy’s favorite activity for a long time. There was one point in time that we loved this so much that a friend loaned us another one so we could have one on each floor of our house. Buddy loved kicking the piano and making music. He also loved all of the dangling objects. We still have this out in our family room, and Buddy still likes to play with the keyboard. So far it’s lasted us from ages 1 month – 19 months.

4. Indestructibles Books

These are the best books for travel! They take up literally no space in the diaper bag, which is amazing. They were also the first book that really held Buddy’s attention (at about 3 months). We have a couple with animals and some nursery rhymes as well. Right now Buddy is obsessed with books, so these are great to throw in the diaper bag any time I know we’ll be waiting. (Am I old fashioned in wanting Buddy to be doing something besides looking at my phone in a doctor’s office?) We were introduced to these at age 3 months and we are still loving them at 19 months.

5. Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium

When Buddy was smaller, he really loved watching the fish when he was awake and in the crib. It was great for holding his attention while I used the bathroom or threw in a load of laundry. Buddy still has it in his crib, but he doesn’t look at it as much anymore. I would recommend it for ages 0-12 months.

6. Sophie the Giraffe

sophie

Buddy was very picky with his teething toys, and Sophie was one of the only ones he liked. Thankfully he is done with teething, but he still likes Sophie and her squeak. I love that Sophie is the perfect size to throw in the diaper bag and is easy to clean. I would recommend Sophie for teething infants (for us that was 6 months – 18 months).

7. Hello Baby Mirror Board Book

It might be the reading teacher in me, but I wanted to read with Buddy as a newborn. The Hello Baby Mirror Board Book has high contrast pictures that are interesting to newborns. There are many different books in this series, but I liked this one the best because of the mirror. Buddy liked the mirror a lot. We enjoyed this book from ages 0 – 9 months.

8. Taggies clip toy

elli-taggies-toy

We named our Taggies clip toy Ellie, and she went everywhere with us during Buddy’s first year. Buddy loved the crinkly fabric and the silky tags. I love how easy it is to bring Ellie along because she takes up very little space. I would recommend Taggies toys for ages 0-12 months.

9. Exercise ball

I bought an exercise ball towards the end of my pregnancy, and thank goodness I did. Bouncing on the ball was the only thing that would calm Buddy down. Beyond that, bouncing on the ball together is an activity that we continue to do together. I would recommend an exercise ball for any age.

10. Fisher-Price Deluxe Bouncer

monkey-bouncer

We used this bouncer at my cousin’s house on Buddy’s first road trip. He loved it so much, we ended up taking it back home with us. Buddy wasn’t into swings, but he loved the bouncer because he could move it himself. He outgrew it at 6 months, but he loved it so much, I had to put it on this list. I would recommend it for ages 1-6 months.

Stay tuned for more recommendations for older infants. And if you have any ideas for great toys for 18 months – 2 year olds, I’d love to hear them!

Fall Sun Catchers

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I wanted to make sun catchers with Buddy this summer, but we never got around to it. A few weeks ago, it occurred to me that it would be really cute to make fall  sun catchers. However, our October has been crazy, and we just didn’t have time. This week, Buddy was sent home sick from school, which meant that we had extra time at home with nothing to do. So we finally got around to making  fall sun catchers.

While Buddy napped, I prepped the materials. I cut red, orange, and yellow tissue paper into small squares and put it in ziplock bags. Next, I used a crayon to draw a pumpkin and some leaves on black construction paper, and then I cut them out. Since it’s almost Halloween, I decided to make the pumpkin a jack-o-lantern. The shapes were put on top of a large rectangle of Contact paper. Then, I used painters tape to keep the edges of the Contact paper from curling up.

suncatcher-prep

Once Buddy woke up, I put him in his highchair without the tray. We started by just putting orange tissue paper on the pumpkin. Buddy was a little unsure at first, but he quickly decided that he liked putting the paper on the sticky surface. He started with a few squares at a time, but towards the end he was grabbing large handfuls of tissue paper and throwing it all over the paper. After the pumpkin was mostly covered, we moved on to the leaves. I had to thin out some of his tissue paper clumps, but the majority of the color was done by Buddy. Once we were done with the tissue paper, I put another layer of Contact paper on them and cut out the shapes.

pumpkin-suncatcher

Buddy had a great time with this activity. It was the perfect easy craft to break up a long sick day at home. I’m sure we will make sun catchers again. Our final products were nice enough that I plan to save them and put them up again next year!

finished-jack-o-lantern

final-product

If you have any other easy fall crafts, I’d love to hear about them. I’d like to try something Thanksgiving related in the next few weeks.

 

Fun Fall Outings for Young Kids

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Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the changing seasons and the many colors of fall. I’m lucky enough to live in the Midwest where there are plenty of orchards and pumpkin farms to visit this time of year. During the last month, our weekends have been completely packed with fall fun! Here is a recap of what fall outings have been the most fun for Buddy.

Apple Picking

picking-apples

We met up with some friends at an orchard and pumpkin farm at the end of September. Originally, I wasn’t planning to do apple picking with Buddy, but I’m so glad we did. He loved the train ride out to the orchard. (He’s very into tractors and trucks right now, so it was really fun to see a real tractor in action.) Buddy had so much fun helping us pull apples from trees! I didn’t think he would be able to eat a whole apple, but he actually ate an apple and a half! We had a blast.

Pumpkin Patch/Farm

goat-smile
We actually went to several different orchards/pumpkin patches with farm animals and family activities. Buddy absolutely loved seeing farm animals, and the farm we went to with a petting zoo was his favorite! He LOVES farm animals and has started to say names/sounds for different animals. He liked exploring pumpkins as well. The pumpkin farm we visited in mid October was very picked over, so if you plan to get a pumpkin, go early.

Fall Colors Hike

fall-walk

fall-walk-with-mom

Every year, Hubby and I take a fall colors road trip. Now that we have Buddy, we spend less time driving and hiking, but this is still an important fall activity for us. Buddy loved seeing all of the fall colors and playing with the leaves. He really enjoyed walking through the leaves as well. Buddy is too little to remember last fall, so everything is brand new to him. I tried to let him just sit in the grass and explore to his heart’s content.

Football Game

football-family

I have to admit, football isn’t an important fall activity for me. However, it is very important to Hubby and Buddy too. We took Buddy to two basketball games last year, but this fall was his first football game. Buddy enjoyed watching the people around him and the band too. We did have to pull out some of our airplane toys (see blog post here) to keep him entertained by the end of the game. It was a fun thing for us to do as a family, and I’m sure we’ll do it again next year.

Local Fall/Halloween Celebrations

cubs-costume

The zoos near us have fall celebrations, and it’s a fun excuse to go see the animals. (Have I mentioned how much Buddy loves farm animals? Between the farms and the zoo, we saw farm animals four weekends in a row!) Our town just had a Halloween celebration, and we had a blast seeing police cars and fire trucks. Buddy met several of his friends there, so that made everything even more fun for him.

Are there any other fun fall outings you suggest for a little one? Our weekends are mostly open between now and Thanksgiving, and I’d love more ideas for fall fun.

 

Window Finger Painting

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When I saw the blog post about mess free paint bags on Parenting Chaos’s blog, I knew I wanted to give it a try. I love finding activities where I already have all the materials at home. For this one, all I needed was a ziplock, some paint, and painter’s tape.

I put some red, yellow, and orange paint in the bag because I was ready for fall. (If you notice, Buddy is still in shorts and short sleeves. It’s been so hot here!) I used painters tape to tape it to the sliding glass door in our kitchen.

window-painting

Buddy wasn’t sure what to think of the paint at first. However, once he saw me draw some lines in the paint, he was very interested. Buddy had fun pressing his hands into the bag and seeing the prints. He also enjoyed picking up the bag of paint and squishing it.

pulling-off-paint

paint-streaks

This activity didn’t hold Buddy’s attention for too long, but he did enjoy with it. I think  once Buddy is a little older, this will be even more fun for him. If you have any other ideas for finger painting, please leave a comment. I’m always looking for new ideas!

Best Toy Free Ways to Entertain a One Year Old

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Buddy just turned 17 months yesterday. (Where has the time gone?) As Buddy gets older, he’s become more vocal about his preferences. He wants to eat his favorite foods and nothing else. He wants to read the same books over and over. And he wants to decide what to play with. (Ah… life with a one year old.) The interesting thing is, right now, Buddy doesn’t really want to play with toys.

The bookshelf in Buddy’s room has four bins of toys. One bin has electronic toys, two bins have non-electronic toys, and the final bin has non-toys. Buddy’s current favorite bin by far is the bin of non-toys. (The electronic toys bin is his least favorite bin, which is interesting…) I’ve blogged about some of these repurposed-for-fun activities before, but I thought it might be handy to have several of these ideas in one place. I’m sure I’m not the only mom constantly on the lookout for new playthings that already exist in my house.

Pom poms

Buddy practicing pouring with pom poms.

Buddy practicing pouring with pom poms.

There are a million ideas on Pinterest for toddler pom play for a reason. Toddlers love pom poms. The cup of poms is usually the first non-toy of choice for Buddy, and we’ve played with them in a lot of different ways. We’ve pushed them into a snack container and put them through paper towel tubes. We’ve even done a small portable pom container on an airplane. Right now, Buddy loves pouring them into containers, on himself, or on me. He sometimes puts them into an ice cube tray and then pours them on himself. The trickiest thing about poms with this age is they look tasty, so they must be closely supervised. The rule at our house is if the pom goes in the mouth, they are put away for the rest of the day.

Pouring poms is so much fun!

Pouring poms is so much fun!

Straws and a water bottle

water-bottle-straws

Putting straws in the bottle requires a lot of concentration.

I go into more detail about this activity in this blog post, but I just cut straws down to fit in an old water bottle. Buddy can play with these for a long time. He loves the sound they make when they’re in the bottle. Sometimes, he hands the bottle to me to blow across, and he loves that noise too. This was a great travel activity for us last weekend. I always drink out a water bottle when I travel, so I just packed the straws and used the water bottle once I was done with it.

Lids and containers

container-hat

Wow! This is so much fun!

Sometimes we play with lids and containers together, and sometimes we play with them separately. Buddy loves putting things into containers and using them as drums or as a hat. He also enjoys trying to put the lids onto the container.

Playing with lids is a great high chair activity.

Playing with lids is a great high chair activity.

Pans

Listen to that noise! It's great!

Listen to that noise! It’s great!

We have an old cake pan and an old muffin tin that live in Buddy’s room. Usually we use the cake pan for magnet play, like we did in this Chicka Chicka Boom Boom activity. However, sometimes Buddy just likes to bang on it like a drum or put other things into it. The muffin tin is usually used for putting in balls or animals like we did in this activity.

Getting ready to pour out the balls.

Getting ready to pour out the balls.

Cotton balls

Look at these snowballs!

Look at these snowballs!

These actually don’t live in Buddy’s room because they leave lint all over the carpet. But they are a lot of fun, and Buddy loves playing with them. Usually, we do this as a transfer activity between two bins.

Water

Cups and water are so fun.

Cups and water are so fun!

We have played with water outside in our water table, as well as inside in pans. (The picture above is from our Making Rain activity.) Buddy is especially excited about pouring water out of a cup, and he can do this forever. It can get messy, but it’s always worth the hassle.

Of course, Buddy still  loves playing with actual toys, but most of the time, the above items are his first choice. If you have any other ideas for untraditional play items, please leave a comment. I’m always looking for new ideas.

 

 

Open the Barn Door Animal Activity

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Disclaimer – this post contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you choose to purchase something using these links, I will receive a small commission. 

Even though my themed summer days are over, I still want to do some Time to Read Tuesday activities. Right now, Buddy is really into lift the flap books, so I chose Open the Barn Door to read. Buddy loves the flaps and the animals in this book! We read it together before I showed him the animal activity.

I put together a farm play area with some farm animal toys, the bucket from our Fisher Price Baby’s First Blocks, and some “hay” made of shredded paper. Buddy loves his farm animal toys and putting things in different containers, so I knew he’d enjoy this activity. I wasn’t sure how he’d react to the shredded paper, but I thought it would be a fun sensory activity for him.

Buddy was excited when he first saw the farm scene, but he wasn’t sure about the shredded paper. He started by just pulling out all of the animals out of the paper. He didn’t want to touch the paper at all! As he pulled out the animals, we talked about the animal’s name and found it in the book.

Animal activity first

Wow! Look at all these animals!

Checking out the cow in the book.

Checking out the cow in the book.

After I pulled out the red bucket from the paper, Buddy immediately started filling it up with animals. His favorite thing to do with these animals is to put them in their tube and spill them out again, so I figured he’d be interested in doing that with a different container. He spent a lot of time filling up the bucket with the animals and pouring it on himself.

Animals in bucket

I was amazed that Buddy wasn’t interested in the paper at all. We did our activity in the kitchen because I expected a huge mess. In fact, if I hadn’t interfered at all, Buddy would have just played with the animals and ignored the paper. But I wanted Buddy to explore in the paper, so I took his animals and buried them in the “hay”. He initially was nervous about digging in the paper to get them, but eventually he started having fun with the paper too.

Having fun with shredded paper

Playing with paper

Paper everywhere

In the end, it did make a mess, but it was easy to sweep up. Buddy had a lot of fun with his animals and a new sensory material. If you have any other ideas for sensory bins, please share in the comments. I hope to do another one soon.

Easter Egg Musical Shakers

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The first week of school is finally over, and things are starting to settle down. Thankfully, that means I’ll have a little more time for fun, new activities with Buddy and blogging about them.

I first made these Easter egg shakers last Easter. He loves anything that makes sounds, so I filled his eggs with different materials. (I knew if he found eggs and they didn’t make sound, he wouldn’t be interested in them.) I filled the eggs with different materials. Some had a couple bells, some had pony beads, and some had rice. Buddy loved them and were a highlight of our Easter celebration.  At the time, I sealed them with Gorilla Glue, but Buddy broke into all of them. Since the fillings are a choking hazard, I had to put them away until they could be fixed.

Easter

Buddy last Easter. He’s so little here!

Last weekend, I finally got around to fixing the Easter Egg Shakers. I used superglue to seal three of the eggs. The other two eggs were left empty, so Buddy can take them apart and put them together. I put all of the eggs in an old egg carton because I know how much Buddy loves putting things in containers.

Buddy was so excited to see the eggs, and he immediately started shaking them. He loves the different sounds they make! He was a little disappointed with the empty eggs, but it was fun for him to figure out which ones were musical.

Egg shakers

Buddy really enjoyed putting the eggs in the egg carton and taking them out again. He also liked opening and closing the carton. The egg carton definitely enhanced his playtime with the eggs.

Egg sorting

After a little while, Buddy  decided to start pouring them over his head like he did with the balls in the muffin tin. (Is it just my kid that thinks this is fun?)

Pouring eggs on head

Buddy and I had a lot of fun with the eggs, and the egg carton made them easy to store until our next playtime. Hopefully, I’ll be able to fill the last few eggs with different sounds soon.

Repurposed for Fun: Balls in a Muffin Tin

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Buddy and I went back to school this week, which means we have less time to do fun activities together. However, I do want to continue finding fun new activities for him. Today, I pulled out an old muffin tin and some of Buddy’s balls. Buddy loves balls of all kinds, but these Bright Start balls and the Munchkin bath balls (affiliate links) are his favorites. I put one ball in each cup, and then I handed it over to Buddy.

Balls in Muffin Tin 2

Lately, Buddy has been putting his balls in a small plastic boat or a cup and pouring it over his head. (It doesn’t make sense to me, but when you’re 16 months, it makes perfect sense and it’s hilarious.) I was curious to see if he’d do something similar with a full tin of balls, and sure enough, that’s what he did first.

Muffin tin on head

Buddy had a great time! He loved putting the balls in the tin and pouring them out again. He also loved hearing the balls rattle around in the tin. Buddy handed the tin to me several times because he wanted me to put in more balls.

Putting balls in tin

Spilled balls

We have a separate bin for untraditional play things in Buddy’s room. I put the muffin tin there, so it will be quick and easy for us to grab when we want to use it again. (We have a nicer one I use for baking. This one is almost only used for play.)

Do you have any other ideas for play using a muffin tin? If so, please share in the comments. I’d love to hear them.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Magnet Activity

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Disclaimer – This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. 

For this week’s Time to Read Tuesday, I chose an activity for the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. We hadn’t read this book in awhile, so I thought it would be fun to pull out to reread. Originally, I saw the idea of using letter magnets with a cut out tree on I Heart Crafty Things’ blog. I already had magnetic letters, construction paper, and an old pan, so it didn’t take long to put this activity together.

I started by grabbing an old pan from Buddy’s room. We already use this pan for play purposes only, so I wasn’t worried about wrecking it. Next, I sketched a coconut tree onto construction paper and cut it out. (I didn’t have brown paper, so I had to use white for the trunk.) I’m not the best artist, but I figured my picture would be just fine for Buddy. Finally, I used double sided tape to make my tree stick to the pan.

Buddy and I read the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom together before we started the activity. I pointed out each letter while reading the book and again at the end of the book. Then, I gave Buddy the pan and magnetic letters. We have played with magnets many times before, so Buddy knew how to stick them to the pan. However, since these magnets were new for Buddy, he was really excited about them.

Letter magnets

As Buddy pulled out each letter, I said the letter. I made some of the letters “run to the top of the coconut tree”. We also said “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” a few times as we were pulling out the letters.

Letter magnets 2

Buddy played with these magnets for a really long time. He loved them! Eventually, he decided he was more interested in the tree and pulled it off of the pan. While this wasn’t part of my intended activity, Buddy enjoyed it.

pulling off paper

I’m sure we will do this book and activity again when Buddy is older and understands the letters. With an older child, I would match the letters to the pictures in the book. However, I didn’t do this with Buddy because I knew it would be too much for him.

Washing Toy Cars

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On Water Wednesday, I wanted to do a new water play activity. I saw the idea of doing a car wash on Things to Share and Remember. Buddy loves playing with water and cars, so a toy car wash seemed like a good thing to try.

To create the car wash, I put dish soap and water in a glass baking pan. I did this so I could easily pour out the soapy water at the end. The washing tools we used were a sponge cut in half and a microfiber towel. Since Buddy still crawls everywhere,  I put everything on a towel to make it a little more comfortable. I set up our water table as well, because I figured Buddy would eventually want more water to play with.

Car wash set up

Buddy was very interested in the bin of cars, but he wasn’t sure what to do with the water at first. After I showed him how to wash the cars, he was interested in trying.

washing cars

I was glad I cut the sponge in half, because the smaller sponges were easy for Buddy to hold. Playing with the sponges was Buddy’s favorite part. He’d never held a sponge before, and he spent a lot of time just squeezing the water on his leg.

washing cars 3

It was great to have a sitting water activity, because it allowed us to play for much longer than if we’d done it in the water table. When Buddy got antsy, we stood up and played in the water table. When his legs got tired, we sat back down with the car wash. Between the two activities, we played for more than an hour.

water table play

We love our water table (affiliate link), and the rain cups from the making rain activity continue to be one of his favorite water toys. These cups moved from the water table to the car wash, and Buddy loved making it rain on the cars.

Overall, it was a successful Water Wednesday, and I hope to do a car wash again soon. We might even try washing some animals or other plastic toys. If you have any fun water activities, I’d love to hear them.