Stage three... your baby has mastered some powerful gross motor skills like sitting, crawling or cruising and experimenting with self-feeding. He is now interested in the finer things in the toy box and is often able to use a toy as it was intended as well as in many other creative ways. So let’s go holiday shopping.
(Got a little one in an earlier stage? Check out Stage One Toys and Stage Two Toys.)
1. Classic Doodler With 2 Stampers - Classic Purple The Magna Doodle is an easy to use, mess free magnetic drawing board with a chubby stylus that is easy to grip. Your baby will enjoy her all important first scribbles and you don’t have to worry about her mouthing the “pen”. $19.95 at Amazon.
Mini Magnadoodle—Fisher-Price Travel Doodler Pro.Same great toy but in a smaller size so you can take it with you to occupy your baby in the car, the waiting room, or on vacation. $9.99 at Amazon.
Magnadoodle Table—Crayola Sit 'N Draw Travel Table.This version of the drawing board has pros and cons. It is in a mini table perfect for little ones who want to sit or kneel, or even stand while they draw. However, the slide eraser is difficult to manage and your child might require assistance from you to make it work. The stylus fits too snugly in its holder and your child will probably not be able to get it out by himself. These drawbacks have earned it bad reviews. About $35 through Amazon but only 24.99 at Bj’s Wholesale Club.
2. Baby Doll. Young children, girls and boys, are very interested in babies. Your little one is beginning pretend play and will enjoy interacting with their own baby to bottle feed and hold. Having a baby doll is a terrific way to introduce your child to new or stressful experiences like potty training or going to the doctor. You can model what will happen and encourage your child to help with the activity. Any baby doll that looks realistic will do. The baby doll pictured here is the You & Me Mommy Change my Diaper Doll - Boys available at Toys R Us for $14.99.
3. AeroMat Weight BallBy now your baby is ready for a weighted ball. Playing with a heavier ball will help her build muscle strength and is a great way to get in some physical therapy while having fun. After all, what better thing is there to toss at a tall tower of blocks but a weighted ball? The 2 lb version is $19.49 at Amazon.
4. Alex Toys Learn to Dress MonkeyBy now your baby is probably cooperating while getting dressed. He is beginning to get interested in how his clothes work and the Learn to Dress Monkey is the perfect practice friend. The monkey’s clothes have different textures and offer opportunities to snap, button, and zip. As your child grows and gains more fine motor skills he can practice lots of other dressing activities as well. $29.59 at Amazon.
5. Pacific Play 6' TunnelNow that your little one is on the move encourage his travels (and coordination and gross motor skills) by getting him a tunnel to crawl through. The tunnel folds up flat and is stored in a zipped bag when not in use. $29.09 at Amazon.
6. Battat Woofer GuitarThis guitar is easy to play and has 20 songs that play in three modes (electric, acoustic, and hound dog howls). Your baby can strum the strings or push the many buttons to explore musical notes and sing along. This very entertaining toy has volume control and an automatic shut off to conserve its 3 AAA batteries that come with it. $32.78 at Amazon.
7. Learning Resources Pretend and Play Dish SetEncourage your baby’s developing pretend play with an activity that he is very familiar with, eating! Your baby will have so much fun trying to feed you, or his baby doll, or his stuffed animals with this set of dishes and eating utensils. Pair it up with a play food set such as the Melissa & Doug Birthday Party Cakefor some truly enjoyable imaginative play. $13.42 and $13.59 at Amazon.
8. B. Whacky BallYour baby will work on her motor skills while she pushes or whacks the balls down into the mirrored maze. Once they pop out into the tray, she can put them back up top and whack them again. The company (B.)that makes this toy (and the Woofer guitar above) gives 10 cents of every toy purchase to Free the Children. $25.39 at Amazon, also available at Target.
9. Chicco Baby JoggingIf your baby hasn’t taken that first step yet, she will be soon and a push toy is the perfect companion to motivate her to get up and go. Not all push toys are created equal... many tip over, or go too fast but this one will not do either because of its unique design. It also has six different positions so that it can be perfectly set to your baby’s height. Depending on the speed of walking, the lights come on progressively and the rhythm of the melody speeds up or slows down, stopping altogether if your baby stops. Takes 2 AA batteries. $55.77 at Amazon.
10. LeapFrog Fridge Farm Magnetic Animal SetYour baby can practice matching and placing magnetic pieces into the slots while learning the names and sounds of five farm animals. Even mismatched combinations are rewarded with a silly song. The toy has two different sound levels and takes 3 AAA which are included. $34.50 at Amazon.
The LeapFrog Fridge Wash & Go Magnetic Vehicle Set is newer and cheaper this year, and I am guessing (hoping) the quality is the same, so if you can’t find the Fridge Farm at a good price or just prefer vehicles, this is the version for you. $24.99 at Amazon.
Have you started your holiday shopping? Tell us what you got for your little one, or share about a favorite toy you already have.