Baby’s First Holiday Gifts!
What's in the Box?
Posted: 2012-09-27 13:52:25 By:


As babies develop they enjoy and profit from a variety of toys that mesh with their ever changing skills. From gazing to grasping to making things happen, the props for play need to change. Here are some of the choices as baby moves from horizontal to vertical.



2012 Award
Sassy Developmental Play Mat
(Sassy $39.99 Score: )

Compared to many, this new reasonably priced playmat is a good buy for short term use. It has tons of patterns, high contrast as well as bright primary colors. There are peek-a-boo patterns under lift up polka dots. There are wonderful dangly toys for gazing at and reaching out to touch or kick. It has a safety mirror, a tummy time pillow and a small and forgettable electronic sounding musical add-on. With the 3-armed set-up it is also easier to lift baby off. Available  only at Target. 3 months & up

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2012.




2012 Awards
North American Baby Long Legs Puppy
(North American Bear Co. $28 Score: )

These black and white puppies, an 18-inch or 8-inch squeaker will grab the attention of newborns and continue to please for a long time ahead. Like the other Baby Long Legs from the same maker, these dolls are a lovely combination of knit and plush. The big one is totally on the mark for toddlers who like a big but light enough huggable to drag about. The photo of this soft cuddly doll with long legs and arms and floppy ears does not really convey just how cute it is. The legs are not rigid or wired, but soft and easy for little ones to grasp. The features are stitched and baby safe. There is also a grey elephant version as well as a pink mouse and a pink or blue bunny. Also adorable, Baby Long Legs Squeakers, Puppies, Bunnies, Elephants and Pink Mouse ($12.99 each) 8-inch miniatures of the bigger dolls that are good for tracking games and will be easy for baby to clutch and carry. Baby safe and machine washable.   All ages.

SNAP: We suggest the Baby Long Legs Squeaker from this collection. Use the small high contrast black and white pup for tracking games. It is eye catching and the squeaker inside will attract baby's listening as well as visual attention. Soft,safe and totally cleanable for infants and toddlers.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on




2012 Awards
Sassy My First Rattles
(Sassy $5.99 Score: )

Choose a predominantly hot pink or blue set of ring or dumbbell rattles. These are classic rattles that have been updated many times, but the basic shapes are exactly on the mark for baby. There are patterns for visual stimulation, textures to interest little hands, and quiet rattle sounds that are not too loud. In other words, this is just right.

SNAP: Use these colorful rattles for tracking games and early interactions. At first you will do all the actions to get a reaction. These are easy to grab and fit well in little hands when your child is ready to reach out and take hold of things.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on




2012 Award
Early Years Honey Bear
(International Playthings $19.99 Score: )

An update of a classic; a multi-armed ball that infants can easily grab.  This one is done in a short no-shed plush and felt-like finish. A smiling honey bear's head sits on top and plump paws with different patterns are attached on the side. Inside the arms of the ball is a fabric bee. Pull it out and it vibrates as it goes back into place. A quiet jingle bell is safely hidden inside.  A good choice for sitting-up babies.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on




2012 Awards
Wimmer-Ferguson Learn and Play Ball
(Manhattan Toy $20 Score: )

Amazing play value has been rolled into one fabric ball. For newborns, the high contrast images printed on the fabric ball will be interesting to gaze at. They have used faces, targets, and patterns that will attract the visual attention of infants. The panels of the ball are piped with bright satin with lots of colorful ribbon taggies. Give it a shake to hear the jingling bell. This is one of those wonderful fabric toys that plays to all the senses and invites you to play early socializing games with your sitting up baby. A terrific gift for a baby shower or first visits.  Marked for 6 months but this will be good as visual stimulation long before baby can reach out and touch.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on




2012 Award
Chronicle Books Baby Face Nesting Blocks
(Chronicle $19.99 Score: )

Ten sturdy cardboard blocks to stack or nest in size order. They are illustrated with baby faces, each with a distinctive expression. There is a space to slip in a photo of your baby, as well. Our eight-month old tester loved examining the babies and their adorable faces. She also liked knocking down the stacks we built for her and peek a boo games we played by nesting one block over another. 8 months & up.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on


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