“There’s actually been some research looking at kids using blocks with parents and it turns out that building blocks are a really good way to promote early STEM and math skills,” says Lytle. “Think about the language you’re using when you’re building blocks: bigger, smaller, shorter, taller. If you have kids and parents building bridges with blocks together, you’ll start talking about concepts like stability. Even if you don’t actually use the word stability, you’re still talking about complex engineering concepts.” The pastel-hued wooden building blocks in this 14-piece set have built-in magnets, so they won’t fall down as easily as regular blocks. Plus, they’re made in Honduras, with the goal of creating living-wage jobs for Tegucigalpa residents.

For more casual, in-the-moment drawing, try these twisty crayons, whose shape makes it easier for kids to grip them. “Drawing starts teaching things like symbolic activity, even with scribbles,” Dr. Golinkoff says. “You might think that what comes out is mush, but they’re starting to have intent, and they have enough control to put dashes on the paper. Imagine how cool it is to be a 2-year-old and actually put something on a piece of paper and see art emerge on the other end.”
The ultimate hangout spot for your LEGO Friends is the new Friendship House. This 772-piece set is a 4-level, double-sided playset with a ton of wonderful play features. It comes with three mini dolls – Olivia, Emma, and Andrea as well as 3 animal friends to play out your incredible adventures. The Friendship House is actually a converted Fire Station, so it still features a brick fascade and alarm outside. The translucent garage door really opens and closes. There’s even an outdoor garden area, Upper Foreman’s Terrace above the garage, barbeque area with slide, and a rooftop area with hottub. The working pully is great for bringing up supplies and there’s even a fireman’s pole for the mini dolls to slide down. The set is easy to build and kids will have all sorts of fun building and playing out various stories for the characters and their animal friends. There are a ton of great features, details, and accessories to inspire countless hours of imaginative play.
Harmonix, the creator of Rock Band and Guitar Hero, has a music game called DropMix. It’s a cool new mixing game played with NFC-enabled cards. You can create amazing mixes of your own and score points for doing so. Mix the latest hits from a variety of music genres. The game works with a free app you download to your smartphone. It’s a fantastic party game where fun is the name of the game.
A great choice for baby’s first rattle as it is the softest around. The feet are made of a crinkly material which crunches when chewed on or squeezed. Perfect for the first sensory toy providing sound and touch opportunities as baby grows. The vibrant colors and jingling bells will keep baby spellbound for a good while. The unique ring shape makes this toy easy for baby to hold making it a first toy for developing those motor skills.
Love escape room challenges? Then you’ll love Escape Room In A Box: The Werewolf Experiment. Players will be challenged to solve puzzles and find codes to escape the room. There’s an interesting backstory: Your party of players have to figure out a way to access the antidote within an hour or you’ll all turn into werewolves. What’s cool? It’s even compatible with your Alexa-enabled speaker. You can ask Alexa for hints and time updates as you try to escape the virtual room. Will you make it out alive?!
Who doesn’t love to cheat in Monopoly? Now Hasbro is making cheating official with the Monopoly Cheaters Edition. The core gameplay remains unchanged. So what’s changed? There are 15 special cards tailored to the sneakiest family members. If you can get away with evil deeds, you’ll be rewarded; however, if you’re caught you’ll end up in handcuffs. Now there’s no banker so you can rob the bank if you’re daring enough.
Want your kids to learn coding in a fun, magical way? The Harry Potter Coding Kit from Kano lets kids build a wand, learn to code, and make magic! There are over 70 creative challenges for kids to engage with. Make feathers fly, goblets multiply, fire flow, pumpkins grow, and more. What’s cool? Wave your coding wand to see the magical effects on-screen. Play on tablets and computers. Who’s ready for fun?
Wondering what to do with all those broken crayons? With the innovative Crayola Crayon Melter, you can use your old Crayola crayons in creative new ways. Forget melting your crayons the old-fashioned way, because the Crayola Crayon Melter is simpler, easier, and safer. Simply load your crayons into the back of the Crayon Melter and in under a minute you can begin creating artistic wax masterpieces. The coolest part? You can create cool layered effects.
The new Fire 7 Tablet is an awesome portable tablet that gives you great bang for the buck. Yeah, it’s not an iPad, but you get a similar experience for a small fraction of the price. It’s a great entry-level tablet that delivers great entertainment and now Alexa, the personal assistant, is included making it easier to use and better than ever. Choose between 8 and 16 GB storage capacities. Battery life is decent at about 8 hours. What more could you ask for? Choose from four fun colors now – black, canary yellow, marine blue, and punch red.
Hop aboard this yellow bus to explore the world of A to Z. Place it on your fridge and let your tot insert any of the magnetic letter tiles into the open window. Press it once to hear the letter's name and sound, and press it again to hear that letter used in a word and sentence. Hit the music note to sing along to the "Alphabet Song" and "Wheels on the Bus."
Education is another important milestone for this phase. During this phase, toddlers should start learning basic counting, sorting and categorizing. This is also when they achieve the milestone of being able to not only recognizing colors and shapes but how to use them for various purposes. Educational milestones include not only traditional schooling but what is learned at home as well. Toddlers should achieve milestones such as cleaning up behind themselves and helping around the home. Since this is the age most toddlers start preschool, it’s imperative that at-home milestones have been achieved so they can properly flourish in the preschool environment.
“Instruments are great because kids can do anything with them and collaborate with others,” says Dr. Golinkoff. “With maracas you can get up and walk around with them and play with mom and with friends. They’ve got to start learning how to collaborate with others, how to share, how to have impulse control — these predict a lot of what’s gonna happen as they approach school. Forming relationships is the basis of everything.”
With colorful and multifunctional wings, the Clip & Go Firefly Freddie is a great toy for your newborn baby and an excellent accessory to his or her stroller or even baby carrier. It can also be added to his or her existing mobile. It features a ladybug teether, clacking rings, a peek-a-boo mirror, a squeaker, and crinkly wings. It can also play a friendly and melodic jingle anytime anywhere. It is made of high quality and soft materials especially for the delicate skin of your baby.
Let your little one’s imagination soar with the Barbie Baby Doctor set. Barbie is the doctor and ready to give the little babies a checkup. The set comes complete with Barbie in her doctor outfit, two babies, and several accessories to bring your play adventures to life. Kids will have limitless fun creating all sorts of scenarios while igniting their imaginations.
It’s hard to imagine anything better than a cold winter’s night snuggled up with a sweet babe in a soft baby blanket. This adorable Sock Monkey Blanket ranks at the top of our list of baby Christmas gift ideas because it’s sure to have baby settling into your arms for a long winter’s nap in no time. As a gift giver, you can also feel good about the fact that this super-soft blanket is made of 75 percent recycled cotton, which means you’re also helping to save the planet. We call that a win-win! ($44; uncommongoods.com)
With Ashtonbee’s five-pack of baby teething toys, you can always be prepared for the next time your child becomes fussy because of their painful gums. Each of the five teethers are free of BPA, PVC, lead, BPS, and phthalates, thus your child will not come into contact with any harmful chemicals while they are chewing. Your little one can easily grasp each teether as they are designed with a handle. Furthermore, your child will increase their fine-motor skills as they grasp the handles. The variety of curves and textures will stimulate your child’s teeth to grow as well as massage their gums. The bright colors of each teether will stimulate your child’s sensory development. The silicone material makes them easy to clean if accidentally dropped. Receiving five at one time will allow you to keep one in your car, house, bag, and anywhere else you might need to keep one.
When baby has dead, scaly, or dry skin, it can really irritate him without him really knowing how to express it. This soft loofah-like brush will help exfoliate all that new skin peeling and help fight the dry skin of winter. But our favorite use for this brush is definitely the help it can give to getting rid of cradle cap – which can otherwise last for months!
If you want a baby rattle that can double as a soft cuddly stuffed toy, then you should get the Winky Lamb Baby Rattle for your newborn baby. The white lamb is made of high quality blend of polyester and other fabric materials to give it a more comfortable feel. The toy’s body also contains rattle beads for additional sensory stimulation. It is also machine-washable.
They can sing along songs about counting, engage in a role play and pretend they talk on the phone, press buttons to see animations. Thanks to this toy children learn to count 1 to 10, practice social skills, imagination and creativity. They can also learn conversional skills and common phrases like “hello, how are you”, “nice to talk to you”, “goodbye”. Perfect for kids over 18 months.
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