Five Fun Picks $20 & Under
For Infants and Toddlers
Posted: 2012-11-20 14:29:21 By:




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
Chicco Aquarium Spinner
(Chicco $19.99 Score: )

A new version of a classic spinning toy that is easy for baby to activate. Press down on the big green knob to make the colorful fish spin in the see-through dome. The centerpost is silvery and reflects the moving fish. There's a musical feature that may be too intrusive, but the good news is, you can turn off the sound and still get the action. This is one of those toys that give sitting up babies a sense of power by being able to make things happen. 6 months and up.

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




2012 Awards
Eric Carle 10 Stackable Learning Blocks
(Kids Preferred $20 Score: )

A surprisingly muted set of cardboard blocks designed with Eric Carle's images. There are images to name and know, colors to know, objects to count and numerals and letters. Basically, they will be fun for toddlers to stack in size order with help and even more fun to knock over. As for nesting them, that will come even later. Marked 6 months and up, but wed say this is a better choice for 18 months and up.

SNAP: A sturdy set of cardboard blocks make basic gear for languge games of knowing and naming as well as friendly way to work on size order. Start with two blocks instead of the whole set and gradually add more pieces.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2012.




2012 Awards
Roll & Play
(Thinkfun $19.99 Score: )

Designed as a first game, this is likely to be a hit with your older toddler. It comes with a big fabric cube with different color on each face. Toss the cube and then pick a card that matches. Take turns with your toddler doing what the card shows. The cards have words and actions such as wave bye-bye, count your fingers, moo like a cow, etc. Learning to take turns and matching the colors of cards and cube all provide active playing and interacting. This is as much about playing together and having your attention as it is about the actions involved. Roll & Play is a cleverly designed toy for developing color concepts as well as other early language and pre-reading skills. Most of the actions will need modeling, but that will be part of the fun, especially if you ham it up. They say 18 months and up.  We think this is a better bet for twos and up, but a clever idea for 2 or more players.

SNAP: Introduce the cards before you play. Read through them and practice what they say to do. You might want to introduce just one of each color for the first game or two and add another set of six the next time you play. There are 48 cards, so this will be a game you can build on gradually. The cards are well designed so that no real reading is needed once they get the idea of what the card is showing. The color cube can also be used for other games. New for 2014, is Move & Groove, intended as your child's first dance game. It comes with the same cube and cards that you follow along. Our problem with this version is that "Walk Like an Egyptian" or "Sleepwalk" or "Snap Your Fingers" or "Turn to the Right" are concepts way beyond 18 month olds.  While we think older preschoolers will like this game, we find the age too low.

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




2012 Award
Kid O Plane
(Kid O $19 Score: )

Pick your favorite color or buy the fleet - blue, red or green. These chunky 8" X 9" planes are uncomplicated enough for toddlers to scoot around with on their knees or lift in flight. The appealing planes roll smoothly and have propellers that turn only if your toddler makes it happen. Fun for crawlers as well as beginning walkers as they begin to enjoy early pretend play. 1 & up.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2012.


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