NOTE: You'll see several companies repeated here -- that's because I find their toys pretty. It makes my life much more pleasant if the clutter on the carpet is a pretty clutter. The Lamaze toys are not quite my aesthetic, but close enough that I can tolerate them. None of the following toys are electronic, plastic, or blinky. If you like that kind of thing, lucky you -- babies (including Kavi) clearly do like the blinking, singing, etc. toys with the pretty lights. She even owns a few that she enjoys. But they give me a headache, so they aren't making it onto this list. :-)
- One month: Kavi had no interest in toys in the first month. This is a good time to do a lot of kangaroo care with your baby -- skin-to-skin cuddling. Enjoy, in your haze of sleeplessness!
- Two months: HABA Pacifier Chain. At two months, they're really still too young to be interested in toys. But if you're using a pacifier, a pacifier chain is invaluable. Clip it onto your baby's clothes, and it'll save you all kinds of bending over and searching for the missing pacifier. This is especially important when you're travelling -- you don't want your baby constantly throwing their pacifier onto a grotty airport floor, for example! I like the HABA chains because they're bright and charming and become a pretty accessory to Kavi's clothes; Kevin prefers the blossom one to the bunny because the star on the bunny one has some sharp edges that press uncomfortably into flesh. It didn't bother me much, but seemed worth mentioning. There are lots of other styles, by HABA and others.
- Three months: Lamaze Jacques the Peacock. Lamaze makes several animal critters that are suitable for this age -- Kavi enjoyed them for several months, though she's starting to grow out of them now. She had a Lamaze dog, a giraffe, and a peacock -- I liked the peacock best, but I don't think she really had a preference between then. Bright colors, sparkly mirrors, crinkly bits. She loves anything that crinkles. Crumpled up paper is one of her favorite toys, but then we have to watch very carefully to keep her from eating it! Also in this category are her Infantino Lion/Elephant (aka Liaphant), and Manhattan Toy's Peep Squeak and Little Peep Elephant. Yes, she has a lot of elephants; her mommy likes elephants. Also lions and dragons. Kavi also has a lot of caterpillars, as you will see, but that's totally accidental. Her mommy thinks caterpillars are kind of icky.
- Four months: HABA Catherine Caterpillar Book. I know I said no books, but this is really more of a toy -- there aren't any words, and you can insert the puppet through each page. I could wish the holes were a little wider -- it's slightly harder to manipulate the puppet through them than it ought to be. But Kavi still loves the book -- mostly for crumpling up and stuffing in her face, but hey, whatever rocks her boat, right?
- Five months: Lamaze First Mirror. Kavi went through a period of about four months when she was obsessed with mirrors -- she would laugh delightedly if we put her in front of a mirror. I like this one because she can crawl all over it on the floor, and it's as much of an actual toy as a mirror. She's growing out of it now, but it did very good service for quite a while.
- Six months: Melissa and Doug Keys. I don't even know why I bought these, because I thought they were kind of ugly -- big and clunky, y'know? I didn't expect Kavi to like them, but in fact, she adores them. She mostly uses them as teethers, but she can also get the keys off and on again. (Possibly accidentally. :-)
- Seven months: HABA Flori and HABA Trix. HABA makes lots of brightly-colored wood toys using child-safe paints. We have several, but Flori is my favorite, and Trix is Kevin's. Kavi seems to like them all equally. These are nice for teething too; she does a lot of chewing on them.
- Eight months: Manhattan Toy Skwish. This is one of the rare toys that Kevin bought for her -- in fact, he bought it twice, because he accidentally had the first one shipped to Chicago while we were still in California. It's okay -- we gave one to Nilofer's girls. This is fun for adults to play with too -- the wood beads make a pleasant sound as they slide around, and the toy is compulsive to squeeze and twist. It also can pack up surprisingly flat to stick in a diaper bag; it's one of our go-to toys that always travels with us.
- Nine months: Schoenhut 25-key toy piano. This piano has a great tone for a toy piano -- tinkly, but not bad, and actually in reasonable tune. It'll be years before she can actually play tunes on it, of course, but I can play tunes for her, and she loves it -- several times a day she wanders over to it and bangs on it, sometimes singing along, especially if one of her CD's is also playing in the background.
- Ten months: Parents Busy Zoo. We actually got this for her a few months earlier, but it's only now that she can really start using it properly. She loves pulling herself up on it to stand, and then manipulating the beads on wires on the top. It'll be a little longer before she can really play well with the sides, since her manual dexterity is not quite there yet, but she's still having a lot of fun with it now. It occupies her for longer than any other toy we have.
- Eleven months: Melissa and Doug Band in a Box. This is another one that we jumped the gun on a bit, and you're definitely going to want to put away the sharp metal triangle pieces for a year or two. But Kavi already likes shaking the maracas, hitting the wooden sticks, and especially likes it when I play the various instruments and sing and dance along with her. This is one I enjoy a lot because it's fun for me to play with -- which means I spend more time actively playing with her, which makes Kavi happy.
- Twelve months: Rockimals Luc Leafwalker Rocking Caterpillar. I'm guessing here, but I have a feeling that by twelve months, she'll be big enough to climb onto this caterpillar and rock, and I think it'll be a big hit. :-) She does already like crawling up to it and playing with it, and if we lift her up and put her on it, she likes squeezing the antennae (one of which plays music).
What are the favorite toys of the babies in your lives? First year only, please!