I was so excited about toys for our daughter when I was pregnant, but not as excited as my husband.
He would always take me on a detour in any store we were in to check out the toy aisles. Every time, he had to make sure to point out the giant camo-covered tank that he claims he’s going to buy for his baby girl to drive around one day.
Kinda feels like he’s joking, but I have a feeling he might not be.
Then there’s me. My idea of the best baby toys are things like cute and somewhat realistic stuffed animals, organic shapes and happy colors, plenty of books, and toy sets that are designed for developmental stages and skill development.
I’m not a trendy “beige mom” who only wants blank wooden toys and I don’t love plasticy battery powered things either.
It feels to me like this middle ground position is pretty common. What do you think?
Having any position at all is just asking for stress though. I felt an inevitable loss of control at my baby shower before opening gifts. What if no one looked at my registry and there’s a bunch of weird things I would never have picked out myself? What do I do then??
Spoiler: it wasn’t a big deal. Everything was lovely, and the things I was unsure about ended up being just fine.
My baby is just about 8 months old now, and she’s got a little collection of her favorite things to play with. I’ll share them with you!
1. A pink stuffed unicorn named Brian
Brian was one of the stuffies that my mother-in-law used as decor for my baby shower. He and a stuffed flamingo were sitting on swings hanging over the mini bundt cakes. My husband thought he looked like a Brian, and the name stuck.
He’s the closest thing we have to a “lovey”. I’m not really sure if it counts because our baby girl isn’t particularly attached to him, but he’s been a reliable car seat cuddle buddy since the beginning. It’s always a good ride when Brian is around.
Look, Look! - by Peter Linenthall. She loves this book. It’s a high contrast board book with fun shapes and just a couple words on each page. We would always prop it up for her to look at during tummy time when she was a newborn. She pays close attention when we read it to her lately.
Another other book she likes is just one of those soft and crinkly fabric ABC books. It’s fun to pick up and bite and smack with other toys.
Part of her bedtime routine is her dad reading her a book. His character voices are a lot more fun than mine. Winnie the Pooh, Beatrix Potter, animal touch and feel books, and The Little Engine That Could are recently on rotation.
3. Montessori kits There are plenty of ways to adopt the Montessori philosophy without buying anything and everything that has the Montessori name in the title.
My mom knew I felt this way, and generously gifted me a MontiKids subscription anyway.
She’s an excited first-time grandma and I love her for it.
Every few months a new box will arrive full of age-specific toys. We’ve used and enjoyed just about everything. The colorful blocks and spinning drums, the mirrors and cute flash cards. Right now my girl loves the silicone stacking cups. She’ll look for the one that fits in her mouth and make funny sounds through it like a little speaker. Just lots of easy-to-grab toys with good durability.
We also get a lot of use out of the dining set. She can’t do it very well on her own yet, but she has learned to prefer drinking water out of cups rather than bottles and it’s super cute.
When we get a new box, my mom will come pack up the previous stuff and store it away for whenever the next grandbaby comes along.
4. A whisk
We’ve all seen the funny baby videos about how they often prefer to play with things that aren’t toys. Even though she plays a lot with her toys, this is very true for my baby as well.
Hence the whisk.
It’s a good thing I have other whisks because that one currently lives in her play area with the rest of the play things.
5. Peekaboo stuffed elephant
This was a gift at my baby shower that made me think “oh great”.
It’s a cute elephant stuffie with robotic ears to cover its eyes and buttons on its feet. One of the buttons plays a catchy peekaboo song. The other button is more peekaboo… but with audio of crazy baby laughter.
Like, the kind that you really hope won’t turn on mysteriously at night.
But like all things that make my baby happy, I just have a hard time disliking it. The laughter brings such a sweet smile to her face. I’ll gladly press the button for her over and over. Which reminds me, I need to buy batteries next time I’m at the store.