I know that a lot of people are working on a very different income level then normal but for those that are looking for ideas on how to keep their little ones occupied during all this time at home I thought I would start a series on recommended toys for different ages. These recommendations come from personal experience as well as from my experience with my daughter receiving rehab for torticollis as an infant. (Disclaimer: thriftyflordiamom.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com). If interested in the products click on the picture for a link to Amazon.
1. Baby Gym
So for those who are not familiar a baby gym refers to a mat with an overhand from which to hang toys. My personal favorite is the Skip Hop Explore & More Amazing Arch Baby Play Mat Activity Gym. While this baby gym is more expensive than several of it’s competitors I do feel it is worth the splurge due to the fact that it contains so many different functions compared to other baby gyms. The entire baby gym arch moves positions and comes down all the way to the side allowing your infant to look at the toys more closely in sidelying and during tummy time which works on core and neck strength. Regular baby gyms with stationary arches only encourage play on the infants back which is a position that most infants already spend a lot of time in. This particular baby gym also includes a mirror which can be a great source of motivation during tummy time as well as encouraging self awareness and social skills.
2. Plastic Links
My next suggestion would be plastic toy links such as those pictured below. They can be used in coordination with the baby gym listed above to bring toys down even lower and to add your own high contrast baby toys. They can also be used in coordination with your car seat or cart cover.
3. Soft Toys
To build upon the recommendations above I would also recommend 2-3 soft hanging toys. My first pick in this area would be Lamaze Freddy the Firefly. This was a direct recommendation from my daughter’s physical therapist and became a quick favorite. It crinkles, includes a small mirror and rings, all things that encouraged my little one to reach and grasp.
Other recommendations would be for high contrast toys which can be used with small infants while their vision is more limited. I personally like the Baby Einstein Primary Pages High Contrast Book as it also encourages an early love for reading.
My daughter also loved to look and coo at a stuffed zebra that her grandmother had purchased for her. Even at only two weeks old I could prop it along the edge of her bassinet for play time and she loved it. As with all infant toys I would only recommend that this be used for supervised play to avoid unintentional airway obstruction.
4. Ball Drop Toy
I purchased a ball drop toy after seeing my daughter respond well to it at physical therapy. This was a toy that I struggled to find used and wound up being one of the most expensive infant toys that I purchased for her. The particular one that we used was the Fisher Price Roll-a-Rounds Swirlin Surprise Gumballs. It was a great toy for us as it encouraged sitting, reaching and pushing on the lever. She loved the songs and lights which seem to motivate her to play. I also used the gumballs as a separate toy for tummy time by rolling the balls slightly away from her to encourage reaching in supine and unilateral upper extremity propping to encourage weight shifting prior to crawling.
This particular toy appears to no longer be in production. I have seen it at my local used children’s store if you are able to wait for things to open back up. If not I found a similar version on Amazon by clicking the image below.
5. Wrist/Ankle Rattles
I chose these wrist/ankle rattles due to the high contrast colors. We had a similar set when my daughter was an infant which encouraged extremity movement and her attempting to bring her hands to her mouth.
6. Ring Stacker
This classic toy was such a favorite in our household that I now often purchase it as a baby shower gift for friends. The large rings are just the right size for the baby to grasp and shake. They can encourage sitting, reaching across midline and bringing hands to the mouth. It also works on hand eye coordination and cause and effect.
7. LeapFrog Learn and Groove Musical Table
There are a wide variety of these type of tables on the market. We received this particular one as a baby shower gift and it wound up being perfect for us. The biggest advantage of this particular table was the removable legs. I used it with her as a young infant by removing all the legs and placing the table on the floor for her to look at and listen to as I placed her on a swiss ball to encourage tummy time. As she got older and stronger I would have her prone prop on elbows with two legs removed in order to encourage her to lift her head. Later I placed it flat again to encourage trunk control during sitting and reaching.
As my daughter got older I replaced two legs in order to encourage tall kneeling.
Finally as she got older and stronger I placed all the legs back on the table and we used it to encourage pulling to standing and cruising.
8. VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker
I found one of these at my favorite used children’s store when my daughter was about 6 months old. We first used it with her sitting in front of it and pushing the buttons. She particularly loved the little phone. How is it that babies always seem to understand how phones work? It also encouraged wrist extension while working on a vertical surface which helps later in lift with things such as writing. Later she used it to push prior to learning how to walk on her own. You can find one on Amazon by clicking the picture below.
What toys does your infant love? Any other thoughts or suggestions. Leave us a comment below.