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Toy Recommendations?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
We don't want piles of toys, but we'd like to add a couple quality ones - right now she plays a lot with books, stacking cups/measuring cups and chews her Sophie giraffe (yay, teething!). It's difficult enough to wade through all the toy options, then add in that the age recommendations don't always apply...

Since she's not "typical", I was hoping you guys might have some recommendations. She is 6 months old, very mobile (crawls) and is beginning to speak (cat, woof woof, hi, mama). She ADORES music - us singing and my husband playing guitar.

Any ideas? Thanks! smile.gif
post #2 of 24

Actually, I recommend the same toys to everyone.... Wooden Blocks, dress-up items, something that rolls (though it could be anything from a car/train to a wooden animal on wheels,) something soft (doll, stuffed animal,) kitchen toys. Simpler the toy the better. You want a lot of room for imagination and toys that can be mixed and played with together. I'd avoid academic toys unless it's something simple like an abacus (which my own kids really did love at the time.)

 

I will say that my own kids loved "little people" if you are looking for a more mainstream toy. We had the barn and an ark I think.

post #3 of 24

Yaaaay for Sophie!!!  joy.gifAnd I hear ya on the age recommendations eyesroll.gif - and it's hard not to get swept away, when you know you want a tailored list, but toys are everywhere!

 

DS is 14 months now, and the best toys we have are hands down wooden blocks and trucks.  He has alphabet blocks and building blocks (arches, cylinders, etc.) that he adores.  A wooden cement truck is a favorite, as is his wooden block train (if she isn't super into vehicles, per se, I have seen some cute wooden rolling animals).

 

Other than that, he continues to love anything salvaged from the recycling bin (paper towel tubes, glass/plastic bottles, cereal boxes, almond milk jugs, etc.).  I think when he was about the age of your DD, he really got into taking caps and lids on and off of things - including child-proof caps bigeyes.gif - and other fine motor stuff, like putting holly berries or dry spaghetti into narrow-necked bottles, sorting small things in bowls, etc.  

 

Sensory bottles are also a cool idea for the wee ones (that still mouth things!) - you can put food coloring in water and add oil to the bottle - they can shake it up and watch it separate.  You can add glitter or a thousand different things - just glue the caps on if she is good at getting them off!  You can google it for lots of ideas.

 

Musical instruments are huge in this house - any kind of simple drum, the Melissa and Doug band in a box, or any homemade instrument (rice in a bottle, wooden spoons, pots and pans, beans in a box taped shut - some of those need alot of supervision, but easy to make).  DS is a dancing machine these days, constantly requesting the iPod, but he's always loved music and will make it with anything. smile.gif

 

DS loves to "sort" the laundry and his cloth diapers - and pull everything out of our drawers - so maybe a pile of playsilks or small clothes in a basket for that purpose.  He's been really into "helping" with household chores like vacuuming, washing dishes, etc. for a while now, but you've still got a bit for that - it's great though, no toys needed! winky.gif

 

A wool felt ball would be nice, too - light and soft and easy to handle.  I do notice the natural materials get played with a ton more in this house!  And tons and tons of books, of course - including some lift-the-flap books - DS loved those at that age.

post #4 of 24

Also, this probably totally depends on your kid and how she is wired, but DS really has no tolerance for toys that are meant to be used one way (stacking rings, wooden puzzles, plastic thingamabobbers that do x if you do y, etc. you name it).  

 

He could have a BLAST stacking, organizing and rearranging soup cans in the cupboard - but if we gave him one of those one trick ponies, instant dust collector - the more open-ended the better, for sure! 

post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Awesome, thanks guys, wooden blocks sound perfect - is there a brand you've had success with? (like one that survives a gnawing baby smile.gif)

(pickle, the caps thing reminds me- I stuck some measuring spoons in a plastic tube thinking she'd like to shake and roll it, she just sat with it until she popped the end off and got the spoons out! Wait...I think I've told this story? Oh, well!)

And thanks for the encouragement that all our homemade, improvised "house stuff" toys are a-ok smile.gif
post #6 of 24

Uncle Goose makes some great ones - all different varieties, upper and lower case, Spanish, etc. (we have the classic kind - uppercase letters, numbers, and pictures of animals).  They are a great size and excellent quality - easy to hold and gnaw on, too big to choke.  

 

We got our building blocks used (I think they said they were from Land of Nod originally - can't find them now...), but these are similar: 

 

http://www.google.com/products/catalog?client=safari&rls=en&q=building+blocks&oe=UTF-8&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=12762119303488624901&sa=X&ei=5BTrT6zvHIeE8ASTp9DXBQ&ved=0CH0Q8gIwBA#ps-sellers

 

They have some smaller colored pieces mixed in, too (some of those I've kept hidden for now just for size/choke hazard).

 

I remember that story! smile.gif  That is so awesome.  I love the cool ways they surprise us and how their lil minds work and grow.

post #7 of 24
My DD(7 months) loves balls, blocks, musical instruments, stacking cups and rings, empty containers,
and a bead maze. Since yours is already using some words I might also consider a doll with blanket and bottle or some dishes to play with?
post #8 of 24

How about an ipad?  My 7 month old loves our ipad.  It's great because it can grow with them.  My 3 year old is learning how to write her Cyrillic letters with some app my DH downloaded (it's great because my DH and his family speak Russian, but since I can't read it I can't help her with the letters).

post #9 of 24

I agree with the recommendation of providing the same open-ended toys that you would for any child.  My (probably gifted) DD1 was speaking in simple sentences at 7 months, but she still liked the same toys that our other (non-talking) baby likes.  We have a prepared environment with things like blocks, silks and rattles and it's generally enjoyed by all babies regardless of what milestones they're meeting.  We've really liked the haba brand blocks.

 

Also, I would be really careful not to saddle a baby with a gifted label until they're in a place where it actually matters.     
 

post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks, guys! As Pickle mentioned it's hard to get a tailored list when there's so many options!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoGoGirl View Post

How about an ipad?  My 7 month old loves our ipad.  It's great because it can grow with them.  My 3 year old is learning how to write her Cyrillic letters with some app my DH downloaded (it's great because my DH and his family speak Russian, but since I can't read it I can't help her with the letters).

We have two in the house and they are fantastic! She loves Peekaboo Barn and even Garage Band lol! That's really neat that yours is using it with Russian, I'm so grateful for what tech empowers us to do! (like take a million baby vids on our iPhones :D)

Quote:
Originally Posted by freestylemama View Post

Also, I would be really careful not to saddle a baby with a gifted label until they're in a place where it actually matters.     
 

Don't worry, it's not about labeling - it's about avoiding the pitfalls my husband and I encountered as gifted kids! :)


Edited by Cathlin - 6/27/12 at 11:08am
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by freestylemama View Post

I agree with the recommendation of providing the same open-ended toys that you would for any child.  My (probably gifted) DD1 was speaking in simple sentences at 7 months, but she still liked the same toys that our other (non-talking) baby likes.  We have a prepared environment with things like blocks, silks and rattles and it's generally enjoyed by all babies regardless of what milestones they're meeting.  We've really liked the haba brand blocks.

 

Also, I would be really careful not to saddle a baby with a gifted label until they're in a place where it actually matters.     
 

 

(bolding added)  This would probably be a really great topic for another thread.  This is OT, but as another new mom who is often checking out this forum, I do feel it is relevant.  There are young babies who are exceptionally bright, meeting milestones early, etc. (whose parents were often both labeled "gifted") - yet calling them gifted can push alot of buttons.  I think parental intent is huge in this regard - whether it's coming from a place of observation and wonder or a spirit of measuring sticks and competitiveness.

 

I understand not wanting to label a baby anything (I hesitated for a looong time to call DS "high needs" or "spirited" - but it really helped me understand him and find appropriate resources!).  They are babies after all - and little blossoming individuals.  I also understand that testing can be helpful later on for schooling options and for parents to better understand their kids' needs/strengths.  But sometimes I feel this forum is in danger of turning into a place where people are intimidated to post unless they have numbers and testing and pieces of paper backing their "right" to the label.  It can get weird.

 

Maybe we should just call these advanced, precocious kids "bright" or something else?  "Gifted" seems to be a really loaded term.  As someone who grew up with that label, I really don't think it's a big deal, provided the parents are coming from a good, healthy place.  shrug.gif

 

I'm all for parents understanding IQ scores and the definitions of HG/EG/PG and whatever if it really, truly helps their child or is necessary to gain better education options - but I also think this testing and classification of children, dropping them into little boxes based on testing, is pretty artificial and clinical.  Quantitative measures shouldn't exclude qualitative observation - especially of something as fluid, varied and impossibly complex as human intelligence and abilities.

post #12 of 24

Sorry OP - we cross posted (and I'm stepping off my soapbox now - back to toys!)  smile.gif

post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathlin View Post

Don't worry, it's not about labeling - it's about avoiding the pitfalls my husband and I encountered as gifted kids! :)

 

As another former gifted kid (though I don't remember my fave toys at six months), I can say that my favorite toys were not very different from what everyone else was playing with.  I just played with some of them differently.  

 

That's why open-ended toys are so awesome, because everyone plays with them at their own level (or depth!).   

 

With blocks and wooden trains, I was likely building a scene from a book I'd read when I was 3, while my preschool classmates had never heard of it -- but we were both playing with the same toy, together.

 

My daughter loved the Fisher Price Little People because her imagination outstripped her motor skills.   They were chunky and appealing and let her act out all kinds of imaginary scenarios.    Later, she shifted to Playmobil and appropriated all her brother’s pirates to add to the princesses her uncle bought for her (brother gave them up willingly because he was far more into Lego). 

The best stuff, though, was all open-ended.   Blocks, trains, animal/people figurines, dolls and bears. 

 

At six to twelve months, though?   The best toys are still grownups.   Silly faces, blowing farts on tummies, peekaboo, and singing.   You might invest in some music that’s good for singing out loud and dancing to?   My kids grew up listening to what we usually listened to, but I went looking for things that weren’t kid music exactly, but were more kid-accessible, with good melodies and comprehensible lyrics and a steady rhythm.  

 

Smaller (but not choking-hazard) blocks-- that small pudgy fingers can grasp, manipulate, and stack

 

I also have a pretty strong belief that babies and toddlers and preschoolers need full-body, all-senses, 3-dimensional experiences and play FAR more than they need screens or electronics of any kind.   I didn’t touch a mouse until I was 16 years old; it certainly didn’t stop me from being very, very facile with all kinds of computers and technology, and a child who isn’t proficient with computers at 2 isn’t at some huge disadvantage in the 21st century.   To fully support the developing brain, children need everything stimulated, not just their eyes.  There’s a huge difference between learning to hold a crayon or pencil and making real lines on physical paper vs. tapping a screen or clicking a mouse, and the kids I know who *didn’t* have as much access to tech as small children have become middle schoolers who … well, I’ll just say that they seem to NOT have been damaged by not having lots of screen and computer and ipod time.  

post #14 of 24

I guess, I just don't get what a gifted baby would need that's different from a non-gifted baby.  If it matters, both my husband and I were considered gifted at school, so I'm also a "formally gifted kid".  My parents didn't treat me differently than my sister.  They followed both of our leads and encouraged us in our interests.  We've both been successful adults, so I think their approach worked well.
 

post #15 of 24
I agree with the others. I think all babies and toddlers benefit from high quality, open ended toys, gifted or not. Once your child gets a little older, you will want to pick out toys that build on specific interests, just like for any kid. How your kid plays with the toys might be different, but the actual toys will likely be the same.
post #16 of 24

check out play at home mom: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Play-at-Home-Mom/174614952594331

great ideas for all ages, but the baby ideas are quite different then traditional ways to engage/ inspire babes.
 

post #17 of 24
Play silks
Wooden blocks
Peg puzzles
Balls, bean bags
Art supplies (fingerpaint, play dough...)
Schleich animals
Wooden picture tiles & dominoes
Felt play food (or wood, if you prefer - but we preferred felt)
Musical instruments
And more play silks!
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by spedteacher30 View Post

I agree with the others. I think all babies and toddlers benefit from high quality, open ended toys, gifted or not.

 

 

Agree with this.  

 

Aim for sturdy, open-ended toys that will grow with your DC.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by expecting-joy View Post

Play silks
Wooden blocks
Peg puzzles
Balls, bean bags
Art supplies (fingerpaint, play dough...)
Schleich animals
Wooden picture tiles & dominoes
Felt play food (or wood, if you prefer - but we preferred felt)
Musical instruments
And more play silks!

 

Great list.

 

As babies, my DD liked blankets and pillows of different fabrics (silky, soft, velvety, courdroy, velvey, crinkly, etc).

 

A mirror

 

blocks

 

play animals (fabric and harder materials)

 

strings of bells ( we used to put them on DDs ankles and let them jingle away as babies)

 

music CDs

 

stacking cubes/buckets/boxes

 

bucket type toys (put things in/take things out)

 

Shape sorter

post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much!! Her bday is Dec 26 do we're trying to be very edited in our toy selection - we've a big family, Christmastime will be a deluge!

We got her a shape sorter on Saturday, she figured it out the same day! I guess that's a good example of what I meant with my q - age recommendations stink! (the shape sorter was for 12+ months). We got the Tolo one, she really likes checking out the different sounds the shapes make (each has a different rattle), I recommend it if anyone is looking for one.
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathlin View Post

Thanks so much!! Her bday is Dec 26 do we're trying to be very edited in our toy selection - we've a big family, Christmastime will be a deluge!
We got her a shape sorter on Saturday, she figured it out the same day! I guess that's a good example of what I meant with my q - age recommendations stink! (the shape sorter was for 12+ months). We got the Tolo one, she really likes checking out the different sounds the shapes make (each has a different rattle), I recommend it if anyone is looking for one.

 

 

There are a lot of Tolo- but most have 3-4 shapes. They say age 1-3, but ones like the roller one look more like infant toys (6-18 m), the ball one is a bit harder and I would likely safely 9+ m. That is just from my preschool teaching perspective. Try a harder one!

 

This is a great one from Tupperware- ages 6m + but has 10 shapes AND it builds strength to open.

 

http://www.amazon.com/TUPPERWARE-Shape-O-Ball-Toy/dp/B000QE87FK/ref=pd_sim_t_2

 

 

OR this 18 shape by Playskool

 

http://www.amazon.com/Playskool-Busy-Basics-Fitter-Colors/dp/B00000IW2S/ref=pd_sim_t_1

 

 

Sometimes the age suggestions are way off and sometimes they are fairly OK, it depends on why they put the age. It could be for fine motor- for the kids that would play with it MOST would need the skills in place for cognitive and fine motor. Some kids will have cognitive skills to solve it but not fine motor and others may have the fine motor but not the cognitive. The age on the box is when the vast majority of kids would have all skills needed so keep that in mind when looking at a toy.

 

Also any toy with small parts will say 3+ or 4+ (depending on size of pieces)  due to choking hazards. This is completely to keep kids safe. A child that does not put things in their mouth may really enjoy some 3+ toys long before they are 3.

 

 

 

As for gifts : I would suggest making a 'wish list' for your DD if you have specific toys or other things you would like to offer if family members ask (we keep a running one on Amazon for grandparents and family since our DDs tastes are eclectic and often above/below age-standard predictions. It also help make sure that books are ones at their level and/or we dont already have!

 

Or even magazines like BabyBug, Animal Baby (my kiddos LOVED magazines even as babies! Those two are for ages 1-3) or passes to Children centers (museum, hands-on, Little Gym, Gymboree, etc) are good if you are worried about too much stuff. We live in a small space so we are always trying to make conscience choices on play toys.

 

 

Other ideas:

 

play crawl tunnel (my older kids still play with it!)

 

tent

 

small ball pit (very good for sensory and easy to deflate and store)

 

large magnets (animals, transportation, etc= Melissa and Doug carry a good line. They are way too large to put in mouth and are easy for small  hands to manipulate. They are also good for older kids to play with!)

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