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There’s no shortage of options for presents, but we’ve curated a list of our favorite toys that help kids learn and grow while they’re having fun. Everything in this collection has overwhelmingly positive reviews and wholesome objectives. Enjoy!
1. Inspire future architects and construction workers with an endlessly fascinating set.
These Mega Bloks can be built and rebuilt as a child grows and changes interests. The set comes with 80 blocks in five different colors. The set encourages creativity and hands-on exploration as kids choose what they want to build (and figure out how to build it). The best part is that it’s compatible with any other Mega Bloks sets, so collections can grow and masterpieces can become more intricate.
2. Help the toddler in your life take one of their most important steps (literally).
The VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker coaxes children onto their feet with tons of fun features. As toddlers push along with this handy walker, they’ll have all sorts of musical and educational games to play on the way to their next destination. The walker has two colorful spinning rollers, three shape sorters, and three light-up buttons. A telephone offers a fun way to learn important communication skills, and there are over 70 sing-along songs and sound effects. And for all the exhausted parents out there—this product comes in easy-to-open, frustration-free packaging.
3. For a slightly different take on sit-to-stand toys, here’s another option from VTech.
The Sit-To-Stand Ultimate Alphabet Train grows alongside your child. Younger children can play with the train or ride on the seat; when they begin to walk, the seat transforms into a wagon for hauling toys around the house. The side of the engine features 10 interactive activities that teach letters, numbers, colors, and more. The set includes 13 double-sided letter blocks that the train counts as you drop them down the chute. Have fun role playing with the walkie talkie and get inspired with over 100 songs and melodies.
4. It’s never too early to start training for the Olympics (or maybe just high school track and field).
This activity gym from Bright Starts offers a multitude of activities in one cute, contained area. If you know parents with a tiny-home mentality, this is the perfect gift. The walls can go up or down depending on the activity, meaning the gym works great as a tummy-time mat or a ball pit. Speaking of which, the set comes with 35 colorful balls, a bead chaser, a musical elephant, a baby-safe mirror, and interactive crinkle fabrics. And with all the time baby’s going to spend in this gym, parents will be glad to know it’s machine washable.
5. Sometimes you can’t beat a classic.
The Sit ‘n Spin from Playskool is as old school as you can get. Children twirl themselves in circles as fast or slowly as they choose on this absorbing toy. The look and style is the same as the ones from your childhood, but Playskool has improved the mechanics so this incarnation spins more smoothly. This fun and nostalgic toy promotes good balance and coordination as well as an active lifestyle from the earliest stages.
6. After an action-packed day, little ones need a whole lot of sleep.
This Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother plays 10 classical melodies as well as gentle ocean sounds. Motion and light effects help little ones slowly nod off for naps or bedtime. This handy machine has four soothing modes and volume control to achieve the perfect ambiance for every baby. It fits onto crib rails with a universal crib attachment.
7. Babies and toddlers love making noise and getting into a rhythm.
These Rattle ‘n Rock maracas are the perfect catalyst for waking up a child’s inner drummer. Toddlers will have no trouble gripping and shaking these musical toys with soft pom-pom bottoms. The maracas are filled with colorful beads that make a gentle rattling sounds as baby shakes them. These toys are easy to clean and promote sensory and gross motor skills.
8. Let baby experience the thrill of a swing in the safest way possible.
Little Tikes Snug ‘n Secure swing has redundant safety features to keep children safe. With an easy-in T-bar and stay-put shoulder straps, you can be confident that baby is safe as they experience flight for the first time. This classic toy is made in America and can be installed inside or outdoors. As children grow, the T-bar and straps can be removed, increasing its lifespan as a child’s favorite toy.
9. Just because they’re too young to ride rides at an amusement park doesn’t mean they can’t build one of their own.
The Loops and Swoops amusement park playset gives children the power to create an exhilarating theme park. As children send the two roller coaster carts around the park, a variety of fun interactive features are triggered. Lift a ramp at the end to send coaster cars flying when they reach the bottom. This set encourages creativity and helps strengthen dexterity and hand-eye coordination. It’s also a heck of a lot of fun.
10. Kids won’t get bored anytime soon with this awesome variety pack.
The Roarin’ and Rollin’ Oball gift set has four unique toys to fascinate babies. The toys are designed so that even the tiniest of hands can easily grasp and explore them. These toys are perfect for teething and traveling. The set includes a rattle and roll car, the Oball classic, a roar-o-rattle, and the clickity twist.
11. Let’s not forget how much a good toy can improve bath time.
This floating octopus comes with three rings that can be tossed onto the tentacles for a fun and stimulating game. It’ll improve hand-eye coordination and distract from the not-so-fun aspects of bath time. Having a trusty friend in the bath can help kids look forward to baths instead of dreading them. This BPA-free product is irresistible to kids and makes a fun pool toy as well.
12. Kids still love tea time, but the toys have improved dramatically.
A musical rainbow tea set from LeapFrog makes tea time an even more joyous occasion. The set lights up in six fun colors and plays seven different tea-time songs. As kids pretend to prepare tea, the pot makes realistic gurgling sounds. The sing-along songs teach manners and greetings and encourage children to share. Find out for yourself why this awesome set won the 2013 Practical Pre-School Award.