Something(s) for the Little Ones

Little kids learn just about everything there is to know about their world through play. So it’s no wonder that there’s a dazzling array of games, toys, and other activities for even the smallest children (even though they’re quite often more interested in the box something came in than whatever was inside.) Here are a few great options for infants and toddlers.

My First Yoga Mat (KD Kids)

first yoga matYoga is great for exercise, concentration, coordination, balance, body awareness, relaxation, and just plain fun. My First Yoga Mat helps in all those areas. BitsyBot, the computerized teacher who’s built into the mat itself, gives directions and challenges (such as “can you touch my hand and press my head?”) in several game modes, including identifying body parts and step-by-step instruction in seven basic yoga poses. BitsyBot is also bilingual—just flip a switch and you can do it all in Spanish. For ages 24 months through six years. About $50.

Lights & Stripes Zebra (Vtech)

lights&stripes zebraIn addition to the required black and white stripes, this smiling, plush zebra features a variety of textures, patterns, and other tactile and visual delights. It also glows in five different colors, plays music, sings, and encourages your baby to rock out. Zebra is washable (an essential quality for an infant toy) and very snuggle-able. Batteries required. For ages 0-24 months. About $15.

Lamaze Grab & Hide Ball (Tomy)

lamaze ballSpeaking of sensory delights, this delightful floor toy is designed to stimulate your baby’s attention in every possible way. It features a wide variety of colors, sounds, and textures that are deliberately crafted to encourage exploration. It’s easy to grip, sturdy enough to roll but soft enough to fall on, and will keep infants engaged and happy.  For ages 6 months and up. Under $25.

Pirate Ship (Playmobil #9118)

Pirate ShipThis pirate ship floats—even when completely filled with water—and has a large water-shooting cannon. It comes with a captain and first mate who can be positioned in various places on deck. The figure behind the wheel clamps in so he or she can steer the ship through even the stormiest bathtub waves. The ship is compatible with other Playmobil sets in the 1.2.3 series. For 18 months and up. About $20.

Toomies Beat It!  (Tomy)

toomies2Toomies love to have fun. That’s nice. But they especially like to have fun with babies, which is even nicer. There are quite a few different Toomies. Sora, the Beat It Musical Toy looks like an egg and, when tapped on the head will wobble and dance. Tapped a different way, she’ll make silly sound effects, play songs one tap at a time, and more. Batteries are included (yay!). For 18 months and up. Prices vary.

Noisy Animals (Laurence King)

noisy animalsDoes a snake quack? Does a lion bark? This game includes 25 animal cards and 25 noise cards. Match them in the “traditional” way to learn the “real” sounds of the animal kingdom. Or come up with the wackiest combinations you can think of (roaring fish or meowing pigs, anyone?) and spend your time giggling instead. You turn all the cards face down and create a match-the-animal-with-its-noise matching game. For 3 years and up. Under $6.