Did you know that within each of the 15 MPMK 2016 Gift Guides, there are several mini-gift guides?
Actually, let me back up a second and say how much I’ve enjoyed all the feedback I’ve been getting from all of you on this year’s guides.
As you know if you’re a regular reader here, our mega gift guides are a true labor of love. I spend A LOT of time researching and putting them together.
When the work is finally over and I start to get feedback that they’re truly helping parents to find high quality, engaging and stimulating toys it feels great. So THANK YOU!
All of that being said, I do realize that the gift guides are a lot to take in- detailed descriptions and age recommendations of over 400 toys, books, games, and more takes some concentration to get through.
I’ve heard from several moms in fact, both via email and in real life, who have already spent a good hour or two immersed in them.
So this year, I thought I’d try to help you guys navigate the guides even more by highlighting some of my favorite parts. That’s where those mini-guides I was referring to above comes in.
Over the next few months, I’ll be stopping in every once in a while to showcase a favorite section from one of the 15 guides. My hope is that it will help you find the perfect gift for under the tree this year.
Today I’m starting with the 6 – 12 month old set.
Keep in mind that this is just one section from our Best Toys for Babies and Young Toddlers Gift Guide (0 – 24 months) and be sure to click through for more great finds!
Ready? Here we go…
Ages 6 – 9 Months
Melissa & Doug Deluxe Bug Jug Fill & Spill Soft Baby Toy $17.49 (6 months – 3 years)
It’s truly mystifying how endlessly entertaining putting things in and taking them out again is to babies. On top of that, these bugs provide lots of opportunities for sensory exploration. They’re multi-textured and rattle, jingle, squeak and crinkle in little hands. All those textures and grip-able legs help develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, plus the self-storing set is great for travel.
Learn & Groove Musical Table $39.99 (6 months – 6 years)
This toy has lots of ways for baby to interact and I love that the legs allow babies to play while seated but later transition to a table they can use standing. This was a favorite of both of my kids once they started pulling up and at 7 months, baby M was already playing on it while standing with assistance or while sitting on his own on the floor.
Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes
$7.39 on sale $5.99 (6 months – 2 years)
You know those lovely early months when many babies scream just about the ENTIRE time they’re in the car? This musical toy that’s easy to hold and has button big enough for baby to push on his own was the only thing that ever got my kids to stop – it was worth it’s weight in gold I tell ya. It was also great for getting my babies’ attention in times of non-stress.
Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Puppy’s Remote $8.88 (6 months – 3 years)
This looks like it serves a similar function as the Take Along Tunes and also gets great reviews. With this one, baby can learn about numbers, opposites, colors, greetings and first words. Buy one of each and keep one in mom’s car and the other in dad’s just to mix it up. You won’t be sorry.
Infantino Textured Multi Ball Set $7.99 (6 months – 4 years)
Balls are excellent for open-ended play and motor development for babies and younger toddlers – truly, every child should have a set. The varying textures, colors, and sizes of the balls in this pack make them extra great for sensory engagement.
Babybug Board Book Magazine Subscription $24.95/12 months (6 mos – 3 years)
Babybug, is a unique board book style magazine full of the highest-quality content available from the world’s best children’s writers and artists. The subscription series progresses to enchanting stories, poems, and activities with Ladybug (3 – 6 years) and Spider (6 – 9 years) and fiction and classic literature as well as nonfiction stories on culture, history, science, and the arts for preteens in Cricket (9-14 years), which means your child may very well become a loyal subscriber for over a decade.
Ages 9 – 12 Months
Fisher-Price Bright Beats Dance & Move BeatBo $29.88 (9 months – 3 years)
This is the hottest new baby toy of the year and it’s not too hard to see why. The happy look and bright colors of this little guy will be enticing to any young child and his light up tricks, songs, phrases and dance moves are sure to get them moving and giggling too. There’s even a freeze dance function that will help bigger kids burn off some energy.
From the manufacturer, “A press of BeatBo’s tummy or any of the buttons on his feet activates fun songs, learning content and dance moves. This futuristic friend even allows mommy or baby to record a phrase, and he’ll remix it into his favorite song! His three modes – Dance ‘n Move, Learning & Games, and Customized Sing-Along – “grow” with baby to make him a fun, entertaining companion for years to come! And all the while, he’s introducing baby to letters, colors, counting, music, cause & effect and more.”
And one reviewer wrote, “A very versatile toy for a broad range of age groups. You could put it in front of a baby that has the ability to sit up on his/her own and they could clap and wiggle around to the songs. The flashing lights on the belly are very intriguing as well… For my 30month old daughter, it is very educational. It teaches colors, the alphabet, and the freeze dance song is a great energy burner and a great tool to teach them that freeze means stop and they have to wait for the next cue. I will certainly buy this for all of my friends’ kids. It was especially helpful when I was trying to make dinner and Hallie wanted to be held and was under my feet, she picked up Little Guy and worked up a sweat dancing. I LOVE it!”
Kidoozie Little Tuffies Trucks $16.95 (9 months – 4 years)
We bought these trucks several years ago for our very first (of many) sensory bins and couldn’t have been happier. They’re the perfect thing for shoveling, scooping, dumping, mixing, and driving over all sorts of sensory materials from sand to colored rice and the price can’t be beat. We’ve loved these trucks so much that they’ve been worn out and we will be buying a new set for our young toddler as soon as we make him a bean box.
VTech Sit to Stand Learning Walker $29.99 (9 months – 3 years)
Similar to the Learn & Groove table, this also can be played with first on the floor and then grows with baby. The added advantage to this one is that it turns into a walker when your child is ready. My son latched on to this thing when he was ready to start walking around the house but not ready to do it on his own and he’s LOVED it for months now. It’s a nice multi-use toy for a great price and a real must-have.
Fisher-Price Love U Zoo Jumperoo $69.99 (babies able to hold their head up – walking)
With my son, we had both a jumper that hung in a doorway and a big hand-me-down toy he stood/sat in. He wasn’t a huge fan of either. With my daughter we replaced both with a jumperoo just like this and loved it (the one we actually got was recalled so I’m not recommending that one although we had no problems with it). It allowed her to bounce, spin, or just hang out and play with the toys as she pleased. A good multi-use toy is always a keeper in my book.
Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Love to Play Puppy (9 months – 4 years) $22.99
In our house we call dolls “guys”, each of our child has at least one- and most of them are animals. We got this dog as a hand-me down from friends whose kids had outgrown him. The puppy’s a cuddly and engaging first friend and our 1 1/2 year old is quite taken with him. The version we have has two modes – learning and musical and identifies body parts, colors and sings lots of fun songs when various body parts are pushed.
This is the newer version than the one we have. New features include Smart Stages technology-learning that changes as baby gets older with 3 levels of age-appropriate play. Also available in the “Sis” version too.
All three of our kids have loved him and we whole-heartedly agree with one reviewer who wrote, “For $20, he is very interactive and elaborate…. he counts, names body parts and colors, has funny sayings, and sings many songs (ENTIRE songs). He’s funnier, more educational (and cuter) than “Tickle-Me-Elmo”–minus the annoying voice.”
Rainbow Sound Blocks $29.99 (9 months – 4 years)
If you’ve ever been on pinterest looking for kid activities, then you know that sensory play is all the rage these days. This is more than just a fad, early education experts have known for years the importance of sensory play – this is how babies first learn to explore their world! These blocks are great because they engage so many of the young toddlers senses through stacking, layering colors, shaking to listen for sounds and more. My 6 year old loves holding them in front of the babies eyes in different combinations to create new colors for him to see the world in. These durable and beautiful wooden toys make a lovely gift any parents would be happy to receive.
Tobbles $24.95 (9 months – 2 years)
These weighted spheres prove that babies can be builders too. They’re fun to stack, tilt, spin, and wobble and they’ll bring a whole new type of building to baby’s play.
International Playthings Flash Beat Drum $27.99 (9 months – 2 years)
My kids were fascinated with this drum from an early age. They were captivated by the multiple ways to play – you can bang on it like a drum, or roll it back and forth to watch the colors and sounds change. There are settings to play music and silly sounds as well.
Munchkin Mozart Magic Cube $23.49 (9 months – 3 years)
We received this as a hand-me-down and both the kids and I were pretty impressed by what it could do. It’s essentially an orchestra in a cube. Press the sides representing different musical instruments (harp, french horn, piano, flute and violin) and hear 8 of Mozart’s masterpieces played by any combination of instruments you prefer. Babies and young toddlers enjoy experimenting with adding in and taking away the different instruments and, of course, each side also lights up along with the music.
Go Car starting at $10.39(9 months – 2 years)
Easily pushable and graspable = the ideal first car for baby. I especially like all the fun colors it comes in.
First 100 Words $3.92 (9 months – 3 years)
This quintessential first book for babies is uber popular, and with good reason. It’s a sturdy board book with a lightly padded cover that’s easy for baby to hold (and, let’s be honest, mouth) and it’s full of bold, beautiful pictures. Words are grouped together into categories making this a great tool for vocabulary building and shared reading time between mom/dad and baby (who pediatricians now recommend reading to at least 15 minutes a day from birth!)
Hape – Pound & Tap Bench with Slide out Xylophone $24.99 (9 months – 2 years)
This was one of the very first toys my youngest son started to really engage with. At around 10 months it started by simply placing the balls in the holes and pushing on them (over and over again), at 12 months he was delighting in using the hammer to whack at both the balls and the removable xylophone and it’s still one of his favorite toys at 18 months. This is a really nice, dual-function wooden toy (both a pounding toy and a xylophone) at a reasonable price. I would highly recommend it if you’re looking for a baby gift!
Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Trike $72.00 (9 months – 5 years)
I never got one of these but always wanted one (probably because I see them EVERYWHERE at the park and on the playground). The clever 4-in-1 design easily converts from a stroller to a steering trike, learning-to-ride-trike, and finally a classic trike. That means you have something fun for your little one to ride around in from the time they need to be pushed until they are ready to pedal all by themselves. The height adjustable handle and seat along with the removable canopy and tray allows for a lot of flexibility. Baby #3 may be the perfect excuse to finally pick one of these up for our family!
*post contains affiliate links
For more great baby finds, see the full guide: Best Toys for Babies & Young Toddlers (0 – 24 Months) and for everyone else on your list, don’t forget to also check out:
Still want more ideas? Don’t forget to check out all 15 of the MPMK Gift Guides, organized by your child’s age:
For the hottest toys of the year see:
Plus, the rest of our guides organized by interest: