Monday, June 28, 2010

These are a few of our favorite things: TOYS Part One

When it comes to choosing toys for Aias, I'm sure many people would consider us picky.  For example, we only let Aias play with toys that are made from wood,  or at least plastics that don't contain BPA or phthalates.  We also try to limit him to toys that allow for him to play creatively, rather than toys that have the "game built in."  While we find that good quality toys tend to cost a bit more money up front, we'd much rather him have 4-5 really good quality toys than 20+ toys that were inexpensively priced but could potentially carry a high cost to his health or to the environment.  The last thing we want is an apartment full of junky plastic toys that won't stand the test of time and will ultimately just end up taking up tons of space in a landfill.  Below are some of the toys that we've considered favorites up until this point. So yeah, toys for babies under a year.

I seriously kick myself on a daily basis that I did not invent this product myself, because it's seriously that awesome.  Indestructibles are books made of the same material that tags are made of, and if you have an infant then you already know how much babies love to suck on those silly tags.  Furthermore, you probably also know how much babies love to destroy anything that's made of paper.  These books are brightly colored, full of beautiful pictures, and totally live up to their name... they are completely indestructible.  Aias has destroyed his share of magazines, paper books, and even cardboard baby books, but he finally met his match when I bought him one of these.  The book can be ripped at, sucked on, chewed, squashed, thrown, and despite the abuse, it is still intact.  It can even be put through a washer and dryer if necessary.  The best thing about it is that he gets all the satisfaction of playing with a magazine, without me having to worry that he's going to swallow paper or a staple.

I really love Plan Toys in general but this is probably my favorite Plan Toys product.  When I saw these online I thought they looked really cute, but I quickly moved on from them as I figured they would be tiny like some of the dollhouse furniture put out by the same company.  Some time later I saw them in the store and much to my surprise, they were actually quite large and made of excellent quality hard wood.  The age on the box says 2+, which I find really strange because there are no small parts that he could swallow. I imagine the concern is that kids will fall on the posts or something, but I'm definitely more than comfortable letting Aias play with them while supervised.  We use them as people that live in buildings we create with blocks. Another trick we have is to clamp the toy on the edge of the stroller or on the edge of the high chair so he can observe and touch it without our worrying that it will fall to the ground. 

This is one of those toys that would actually be a great gift for people of any age.  In fact, the first time I saw this toy was when a friend of mine in her early 20s purchased one for herself because she thought it was so cool. This toy is made up of rods and spheres that are looped together with durable elastic string to form a geometric shape. The spheres slide along the rods and make a gentle rattling noise when shaken.  You can squish and squash the toy all you want, and it bounces back to its original position.  Sometimes we just let Aias chomp on it and play with it by himself, or we sit down with him and show him how it can be distorted.  This toy also attached easily to the bar on his stroller so that we are confident he won't throw it into the street or something.  There is also an unpainted version of this toy (Natural Skwish).  

I had been coveting this toy for quite some time, but someone actually gave us a Playskool Step start Walk 'n Ride for Aias as a gift so I figured we wouldn't be needing this.  When Aias started "pulling up" a few weeks ago, I built the plastic walker in hopes that it would help him learn to take steps.  I couldn't help but notice that the plastic walker was incredibly light, and sure enough, it was way too flimsy for Aias to actually pull up on, and when he did manage to pull up on it, he went FLYING because the plastic walker was simply not heavy enough.  I brought him to a toy store and let him sample this one, and this one was so much better.  First off, it's not made of cheap plastic so I feel better about him biting on it.  Second, he loves to touch the beads that are on the lower bar.  Third, he loves the clacking alligators.  Finally and most importantly, he is able to pull up on it without it flipping over, and it's heavy enough that he can actually take some steps while holding onto it without flying forward! There are more expensive wooden walkers than this for sure, if you want to shell out the money for the Plan Toys Woodpecker Walker or the Plan Toys Baby Walker with Wooden Blocks, but this one definitely does the job!  

A few weeks ago we noticed that while Aias had lots of toys that were great for teething and such, but not a lot of toys that presented him the opportunity for creative play.  We had been coveting some wooden blocks that we saw at a friend's child's first birthday party several weeks ago and had been shopping around.  Some options we considered were the Plan Toys Construction set and Plan Toys Creative Blocks, but we didn't thing there were enough blocks for the price.  After much price checking and exploring, we finally settle on these blocks, and we are super glad that we did!  These blocks are so much fun, and with 150 of them, there is lots of room for creativity and creating amazing towers and buildings.  We will actually probably get a second set of the same blocks once Aias is a bit older to expand our options even more.  These blocks say they are for 2+, but there aren't any super tiny pieces.  There are a few half-size triangle blocks, but I'd just remove them if you're concerned.

Asparagus by Under the Nile (or Watermelon, or any of the veggiesfruits)
When I first saw these, I was a little confused about why they were so pricy as they just seemed like another stuffed toy.  Upon further investigation, I discovered that Under the Nile toys are made from Fair Trade Organic Egyptian Cotton and they are also free of choking hazards and toxins.  In general, we hate stuffed toys because of their dangerous furry bits, dangling eyes, etc, but these are a unique exception.  Right now we have the watermelon and the asparagus, but I hope to eventually aquire the mushroom and green bean, because I think they are hilarious.  The grapes are pretty tempting as well!  Actually, as I sit here Googling them right now, I can think of like 20 that I think are absolutely adorable.  Ahhh!

That's all for now, as Aias is demanding my immediate attention. 


  1. Hey Monika,

    I love the Alligator Walker. Where did you find it?

  2. This one is from Lely's Toys at the Kingsgate Mall, of all places haha.

  3. No way. Really? Hellsgate? Owen and I will have to take a walk over there tomorrow!

  4. I was shocked, but that store sells lots of really high end toys haha.


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