By Christina VanGinkel
While you may be content to walk around with baby tucked into your arm, or sit in the rocker and rock away the afternoon, at a certain point, baby is going to be just as happy, if not more so, in the playpen or down on the floor, being occupied by a toy or activity. When this time arrives, choosing that perfect toy does not have to be difficult, just take the time to look for those that will provide enough variation to keep baby happily entertained beyond the first few minutes.
The Lamaze: 2 in 1 Drop and Pop
The Lamaze: 2 in 1 Drop and Pop from RC2 brands Inc., recommended for ages one month through six months, is an ideal first playmate. The machine washable mat is reversible, so right off, you know that baby will have grow-room to expand and get more use out of this activity. The one side is in a black, white, and red pattern for very young babies, as these colors are said to be good stimulation for the youngest infants. When baby gets a bit older, just flip the reversible mat to the other side that is done up in full color.
It comes with two separate arches, and three hanging toys. All combined with other features such as a squeaker, rattling frog, unique textures and more, for a grand total of thirteen developmental items. The Lamaze: 2 in 1 Drop and Pop is done up in a sunny, garden theme, so baby does not even realize that their senses are being stimulated, as they are too busy just having fun. For the parents, the mat folds up quite easily, making taking it with you when you head out for the day, even to visit the grandparents, as easy as can be.
Lamaze: Discovery Island
Also from Lamaze, is the Discover Island. Made so it can easily be attached to the side of a crib, it also sports a top handle so that baby can carry it along with them when they outgrow its use crib side. Recommended for ages from birth through two years old, the play value is long, so for a price of around twenty dollars, value is extremely good. The bright colors and the fun animal shapes decorating this toy are enough to keep baby happily entertained, but it is much more than just a toy to visually stimulate baby. Filled with lights and sound affects that baby activates by simply interacting with the toy, Discovery Island will keep your little mesmerized and learning all at the same time.
Ocean Wonders Rockin' Aquarium Gym
Ocean Wonders Rockin' Aquarium Gym, from Fisher Price, is recommended for babies from newborn up. When baby is placed on the mat and moves, it activates all sorts of wondrous actions, such as lights and music, to stimulate and keep baby occupied. As baby grows, you adjust the toy bar from hanging overhead where it worked to suspend hanging toys, so baby can drive the wheel. With features such as five songs, flashing lights, moving fish, and pieces perfect for a teething baby to chew happily away on, there is a lot for both baby and then toddler to occupy their time with!
Toys that are manufactured with both the youngest infant and their slightly older counterparts in mind, will not only be fun to play with, you will not feel as if you have wasted your money on a toy that will only have value for a very limited length of time. By choosing toys such as these that will provide your infant with activities that will allow them to be stimulated in ways that will surely enhance their learning and keep them happily occupied, you both will be happy.
While rocking and holding baby will never go out of style, and should be a part of your everyday routine, there will come a time when baby will benefit just as greatly from being provided with fun to play with toys. Choose wisely, and you will be assured that your baby is being provided with every opportunity to grow up healthy, and have a bit of fun at the same time.