I was very tempted this morning to skip Friday Favorites and just blog about what else is going on. But I know if I don't do it this week, I may not do it next week, and so it goes.
Today's favorites focus on some kids' toys. With the months sliding by so quickly, Christmas is quickly approaching and I can't help but think about what to get the little man.
Sophie, by Vulli, is a toy I learned about when X was just a wee little boy. :) She's a teether made out of natural rubber that is supposed to be pleasing to a child when chewed and drooled upon. She's got several different nubs and chewy parts, that bring relief to the aching gums of little ones. This toy was designed with babies in mind, to help them learn, discover and use their senses. The contrasting spots provide visual stimulation and make her easily recognizable (and familiar and reassuring). The soft squeaker is amusing and stimulates hearing, while teaching cause and effect. Sophie is flexible with lots of chewable parts including the ears, horns and legs. I was amazed by how light Sophie was, and how easily X could manipulate and bend her body while playing with her. And when you put her back down, she just springs right back to normal! Because she's made of rubber, she has a slight, soft grip which is perfect for little fingers! The company also says that the smell from the natural rubber of the Have tree makes Sophie unique and easy for your babe to identify among all their other toys. Sophie the Giraffe retails for about $20 USD, which some people feel is a little steep. After reading a lot of reviews before purchasing this toy after X was born, I was a little hesitant because some people described it as a glorified chew-toy. But X loves her! He STILL plays with her and he's a year-and-a-half old! Also, if you shop around, sometimes you can find a better deal. (And anyone who's interested, if you shop at Diapers.com, the first time around you can get something like 10% off your first purchase, PLUS they do a price-match guarantee - which I used for the Sophie toy. I got her for $17.50 with free shipping. (But do read through the price-match guidelines so you know what to look for!))
I'm sure I'm not the only mom with preferences for toys. Yes, electronic toys have their place and kids really enjoy them. X loves playing with the ones he has. And one of his favorite toys is the Stride-to-Ride Lion from Fisher-Price. But I have this affinity towards wooden toys. I don't know if it's because I played with them when I was younger, or because my grandpa always made us neat wooden animals and fences and other toys, but I love them. I think they spark creativity and ingenuity. It stretches the imagination and fosters problem-solving and learning. I know plastic toys do this too, but I think you get where I'm going here. Oompa.com has a large variety of wooden kids toys. Olof at Knitting with Olof recently reviewed the Wooden Lacing Shoe. My grandma had one of these for her preschool and I played with it A LOT when I was younger. It's neat they're still making these toys! Anywho...on to Favorites! After looking through a TON of toys, I keep coming back to these Shopping Nets filled with Wooden Fruits or Vegetables. How cool is that? I had a little shopping cart & cash register when I was little. I would have loved carrying these around and playing with all the food! Apples, plums, pears, strawberries, mushrooms, carrots, tomatoes (not a veggie), peppers...yum! :) There's so much to choose from with these toys it's sort of difficult to pick just one thing. :) (Toys by Haba)
Another toy from Oompa.com - baby flash cards! While I was pregnant I learned so much about stimulating a child's senses and how to foster learning. For a long time I searched for a black and white mobile to hang in his crib. I never did find one, and it wouldn't have been worth the money anyhow since he slept on his tummy, but I did try to show him lots of pictures in black and white. Studies have shown that black and white images are great for the development for a babies brain because of the stark contrast in colors (from the first day of life, babies can see high contrast patterns 9-12 inches away). Oompa has a lot of different themes, so I just picked one. The photos are fun and whimsical and would be great as your child gets older. Then they can move on to naming the object in the picture! (Flash cards by Wee Gallery.)
I hope you've enjoyed these highlights. I'm always interested in new toys or toys I think my son will really enjoy. I think this is also the part where I'm supposed to say I was not paid or compensated to write any reviews, but rather that this is my personal opinion. I think this Christmas I'm going to direct family and friends looking for ideas for X to Oompa.com or other toys like it. :) He still doesn't need a lot (goodness knows we have a ton of stuff at home), but he's a smart little cookie and would enjoy so much of what they offer!