If you think back to your own childhood toys, I’m sure there are a few standout memories that you can relate to… for example, the familiar thrill of rocking wildly on a pretend horse (or running around with the stick version), the smooth feel of wood under your fingers as you built castles with your blocks, and the nostalgic sound of the farmer saying, “The cow says, MOOOO!”.
There are several reasons these toys are classics. They’ve stood the test of time, and all children seem to LOVE them. Many of the toys are open-ended, allowing children the ability to imagine and play in a variety of ways. And for the ones that aren’t so open-ended, they still provide a fun and valuable lesson (e.g. the sounds that farm animals make, or understanding cause and effect). These baby toys will likely be used straight through toddlerhood, too, so they’re a great investment for any new parent!
All kinds of learning opportunities abound with this toy! Aside from the obvious concepts of stacking and nesting objects, they can be used for lessons in object permanence, filling/dumping (water, sand, etc), and limitless imaginative play (building things, tea parties, etc). They can also double as fun bath toys. This brand even has numbers embossed on the bottom for older kids to practice counting!
In addition to learning shapes and colors, babies can use this toy to master the concepts of sorting and matching. It also helps them practice hand-eye coordination as they learn to fit the blocks into the properly shaped hole. Younger babies also love to practice reaching and grasping (and eating!) the differently shaped blocks. They will also get a kick out of repeatedly filling and dumping out the bucket! The classic version from Fisher-Price also has a handle on the bucket so that as baby gets older, they can carry it anywhere.
Farmer Says See n’ Say
A fun way to learn all the sounds of farm animals! In addition, babies learn the idea of cause-and-effect (if I pull this string, the arrows spins and sounds come out). I really love this old-school version with the pull-string… as a kid, there’s just something so satisfying about tugging on it and then watching it slowly retract… admit it! 😉
An exciting way for baby to practice the gross motor skills of walking and pushing objects! The little balls jump around inside and make fun popping noises as it is pushed along, teaching baby about cause-and-effect. Also, young children love to imitate what they see adults doing… so once your little one is mobile, he/she may want to push this around when they see you vacuuming the house or mowing the lawn! This corn popper looks just like the one you had as a kid, because classic never goes out of style!
Wooden Shape Puzzle
This toy primarily helps babies to learn about shapes and the concept of matching, but it also helps them to build fine motor skills and hone their hand-eye coordination as they grasp the knobs and place the shapes in the correct spots. The chunky wooden knobs on this house-shaped puzzle make this task easier for little hands.
Babies love music, especially when they can make it themselves. In addition to practicing fine motor skills and mastering the concept of cause-and-effect, a durable xylophone like this one will give them great satisfaction in (and a positive outlet for) hitting things to their heart’s content! You can also teach them to play simple nursery rhymes as they get older, such as Mary Had a Little Lamb or Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star!
Babies can learn about different colors, sizes, and practice their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination with this toy as they stack the rings atop one another. They can also learn about cause-and-effect if they rock it enough to spill the rings off of it (or if they simply turn it upside down)! In the updated version of the classic, the top ring has fun colored beads inside!
Blocks are probably the most quintessential baby toy of all time, and for good reason! Babies can practice reaching and grasping (and mouthing) the blocks, they can endlessly fill/empty the cart, and they can stack and build (and then knock it over) to master cause-and-effect and spatial awareness. Toddlers can also use the blocks from this best-selling set to help learn their letters and animals, and to practice spelling simple words!
Wooden Rocking Horse
Once babies are developed enough to use this toy on their own, they usually go nuts for it! In addition to honing their gross motor skills of climbing, holding on, and balance, the act of riding on their very own “horse” becomes exciting in and of itself! It naturally lends itself to imaginative play, too, as they get in touch with their inner cowboy or cowgirl. You can make the ride more comfortable for your little one by springing for a plush horse on a wooden rocker, or you can keep things vintage with a fully wooden horse.
Pop-Up Pounding Bench
It’s no secret that babies love to hit things once they discover the magic of cause-and-effect, and this toy is perfect for helping them to understand this concept. They will also have great practice with hand-eye coordination as they use the wooden mallet to hit the little “people-pegs”, and they can even learn their colors, too! This updated version of the classic toy has attached pegs that play “peekaboo” with baby (bonus: attached = won’t get lost)!
Are there any classic baby toys that you consider a must-have for little ones? Share with us in the comments below!
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