One thing that surprised me with Chase was how much he responded to certain toys over others and how a toy that was a complete miss one month might morph into his favorite toy in the world the next month. I’ve had a few of you reach out to me requesting a post with baby gift ideas for baby showers or surprise treats for little ones you love and I’ve had this idea for a blog post in the back of my mind for months!
This post contains the top 12 toys we loved during the first 12 months of Chase’s life… One toy for every month! (If you read my monthly baby updates, many of these toys may look quite familiar.) It’s actually an idea I had for a baby shower gift for a close friend but since purchasing 12 toys is a bit elaborate (and can get expensive since a bunch of items add up fast), I also think it’s a wonderful group gift idea since people often want to go in together to purchase bigger items for close friends. I also hope it will give some of you ideas for great additions to other baby shower or holiday gifts for the little ones in your life. Bonus: Many items are less than $20!
12 Best Baby Toys for the First Year
- One Month: Wubbanub
While a Wubbanub probably doesn’t technically count as a toy, when a baby is only one month old, it’s close enough to count as a toy for me, even if its purpose is more functional than playful. I remember attending my friend Melissa’s baby shower when the two of us were pregnant and she received at least three Wubbanubs from her mom friends. I had no idea what a Wubbanub was but everyone raved about them! Fast forward to a trip to Target with Chase when he was a baby and my mom and I ran into a woman with another small little one who also sang their praises. Amazon Prime to the rescue!
Though we didn’t discover Wubbanubs until Chase was around three months old, they were a complete game-changer for us so I want to put them high on this list so they’re nice and handy for new parents if/when they’re ready to try a pacifier. So why are Wubbanubs so great? They allowed Chase’s pacifiers to say in place for longer (if you’ve played paci-pong at 2 a.m., I know you understand why this is so amazing) and, as Chase got older, the Wubbanubs became easier for him to find in his crib at night to help him self-soothe as he was learning to fall back asleep on his own. Now we’re the proud owners of four Wubbanubs, and that doesn’t count the four or five we’ve lost along the way! (Maybe I should buy stock in this company!?)
- Two Months: Infantino Topsy Turtle Mirror Toy
I absolutely love Infantino toys! Almost all of the Infantino products we’ve tried have been a big-time hit with Chase and this topsy turtle was probably the first “real” baby toy he noticed and seemed to enjoy. We connected it to the handle of his car seat for our walks around the neighborhood when we’d click his car seat into the stroller and he seemed to love watching the turtle dance around above him. Eventually the mirror on the turtle’s belly became an infatuation before he moved onto squeezing the turtle’s feet and smacking its body to make it swing back and forth when he got a little older. It’s a simple toy but one Chase seemed to enjoy from a very young age.
- Three Months: Baby Einstein Musical Take Along Toy
This toy was a gift we received from a friend that I actually forgot about until my friend Leah came to visit and pulled it out of Chase’s nursery closet. She said her son Frankie loved it and encouraged me to show it to Chase even though I thought he was probably too young to really appreciate it at the time. Well, I was very wrong! Chase’s eyes lit up and he was completely enamored by this toy. As a parent, I must also praise this one because the music it plays isn’t nearly as irritating as other electronic baby toys. (It goes through a series of “pepped-up” classical melodies.)
- Four Months: Oball
My Aunt Laurie sent this toy to Chase as a random surprise and it was one of those small gifts that ended up being a huge score! The Oball quickly became a favorite because the quadrants made it really easy for Chase to grasp and he loved the noise it made when he would shake it around. This is a gift I often include in baby shower gifts for friends now because it was such a hit!
(EDITED TO ADD: This toy has since been part of a national recall!)
- Five Months: Baby Einstein Activity Jumper
This is definitely more of a “big ticket item” than a small toy, but it ended up being an item I said I’d easily pay double for because it was such a life saver for us! We bought it on a whim during a Black Friday sale at Target and it quickly became part of our morning and afternoon rituals every day for months. Chase looooved this activity jumper for a long time and many days it was the only way I was able to eat or prep dinner with two hands. Chase would happily bounce around in the activity jumper and seemed to get a big kick out of all of the toys and various attachments that surrounded him in what we affectionately deemed his “command station.”
- Six Months: Baby Einstein Octoplush
The Baby Einstein Octoplush was a gift from my sister and brother-in-law and it’s still a toy that seems to make Chase smile. When he was six months, he got the biggest kick out of watching us shake the Octoplush’s tentacles over his head! Now he loves squeezing the tentacles to make it say colors and words. (We leave it by the bathtub to entertain him when we change him for bath time these days!)
- Seven Months: Taggies Monkey
Chase’s Taggies Monkey was his first stuffed animal love and I have to admit I think it is just about the cutest thing ever to see him softly rubbing the various tags all over his monkey. It seems to make him smile but also soothe him, so it’s a toy we typically give him when he seems a little sleepy before bed or naptime. It’s also great because you can count the tags, point out colors on the dots and point to the monkey’s face, eyes, arms, mouth, etc. as your baby gets older to keep things interesting.
- Eight Months: Sophie the Giraffe Teether Toy
This item seems to be a baby shower staple gift at every shower I’ve attended and when Chase started to get his teeth in, it became clear why Sophie is such a hit. He loved squeezing Sophie’s body to make her squeak and chewing on her long legs to help with teething pain. I still keep Sophie on hand in the car for entertainment and teething purposes!
- Nine Months: Brown Bear Slide and Find Book
Does a book count as a toy? Let’s just pretend it does for this list because Brown Bear is a favorite in our house! My aunt gave Chase this book and it’s his absolute favorite! Just saying the words “Brown Bear” to Chase excites him and he loves the slide-and-find windows that allow him to reveal colorful pictures of animals. The book is also one of my favorites because it makes it easy to be creative as a parent and practice animal noises with your little one in an interactive way.
- Ten Months: V-Tech Learning Walker
We discovered the V-Tech Learning Walker at Chase’s friend Carey’s first birthday party and within hours of our arrival back home, it was ordered on Amazon Prime! When I say this toy was an instant hit, I mean it and it quickly became a playtime staple for Chase! Before a little one is ready to walk with a walker, it works great as a stationary toy with tons of interactive things to do on the front of the walker. Chase loves the toy phone and clicking the shape pieces on and off the walker. Warning: You will not be able to get the song this walker sings out of your head. Ever. “Welcome to our Learning Farm / We have much to show you / Shapes and colors, music too / There’s so much to do!”
- Eleven Months: B. Parum Pum Pum Drum Set
My friend Kaitlyn gave this drum set to Chase at our baby shower and right around 11 months, I remembered I had it stored away in the back of Chase’s nursery closet! During our weekly Gymboree music classes, the drum is always Chase’s favorite instrument, so I had a feeling this toy would be a hit when we placed it in front of him for the first time. It quickly became one of his favorites and is filled with fun instrumental toys. Chase LOVES banging on the drum and playing with the toys and shaker tucked inside. As a mom, I also really like this toy because the drum is large enough to store the instrumental toys and MORE toys which I really appreciate from a clean-up standpoint.
- Twelve Months: Ride-On Plane Toy
This toy was given to Chase for his birthday, but if you have an early walker on your hands, it may be a hit for your little one earlier than 12 months! This ride-on plane toy became an obsession for Chase and it’s still something he uses and plays with every day. Before a little one is ready to walk, they can sit on the plane and move themselves with their feet. Once they’re ready to walk with the toy, it’s go time!!! We’ve been so impressed with this toy because it’s easy to steer (oddly NOT a given for many walking toys) and has other fun components that seem to amuse Chase, including a seat that doubles as storage for “treasures” he finds while walking around our house or outside. (I know you understand why this would be so amazing if you have a little one who also seems to get the biggest kick out of taking things in and out of bins.)
More Favorite Toys
And just in case you’re on the lookout for more baby toys and books, here are a few more of our favorites:
- Skip Hop Activity Mat (Wonderful for the first few months of a baby’s life!)
- Fisher Price Kick N Play Piano
- Pat the Bunny Touch and Feel Book
- Step2 Finding Dory Water Table
- Infantino Turtle Shape Sorter
- Fisher Price Rock-A-Stack Ring Toy
- Fisher Price Rattle and Rock Maracas
- Baby Einstein Bendy Ball
- Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Baby Blocks
- Sesame Street Silly Sounds Remote
- Jelly Strands Baby Teething Necklace
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Question of the Day
- For those with a little one in their lives, what is/was one of your little one’s favorite toys during the first year of their life?