Thursday, May 28, 2009

Baby Toys

One thing that I remember from being a first time mom, is being overwhelmed by the selection of everything that there is for baby. The first wave of "Oh My!" hit when we were registering, there had to be no less than 20 types of bottles and 10 crib mattresses to choose from. We did our best to feel our way through, choosing some things by the patterns/colors, some by the consumer reports safety tips and others by polling our friends who already had kids.

Over time, the sense of being completely overwhelmed has subsided some, but we still struggle with questions - what toys will help them learn and grow?, what is a good thing to get for their birthday, etc. We've leaned on friends and family with older kids for recommendations on toys that are right for each age, those that their kids just loved. With our daughter, we had the benefit of having watched our son play and learn with his toys and were better poised to know when to pull certain toys out of storage for her and which toys to not even pull out.

A few months ago, I was introduced to ebeanstalk. I just wish I had a resource like them when my kids were babies. With each toy, they provide a lot of information in the listing about the toy beyond just a description and picture - they answer "why we love it", they select the developmental skill each toy is best at developing, and provide safety information about the toy. The one tab that doesn't provide much about the product is oddly the Features tab, which seems to be more focused on where a child of a given age is developmentally.

Ebeanstalk is dedicated to a baby's development. Their goal is to select the best baby toys matched to a baby's development. To see great information on how a baby grows up, check out the info on their baby toys page.

Picking toys for a baby is not as simple as it sounds.

Here are some quick baby facts:

  • Toys for a newborn baby: A newborn baby is briefly looking at objects and attempting to imitate facial expressions. They can follow objects with their eyes and usually quiet down, when they are picked up.

  • Toys for a three month old: They will enjoy ‘frolic play', reaching for objects and will repeat enjoyable activities. Believe it or not, they will respond to ‘no' (about half the time) and will start babbling.

  • Toys for a six month old: They'll search for hidden objects (object permanence). They'll reach for themselves in the mirror, play peekaboo, crumple paper, roll from their stomach to their back and even respond to their name.

  • Toys for a nine month old: They are pushing toy cars, playing pat-a-cake and looking for hidden sounds. The baby toys they are playing with are also getting more fun.

The good news is that ebeanstalk might say they are focused on baby, but they also offer age appropriate toys for older kids. They have them organized by age as well to allow you to shop for toys by age in year increments up to "7 year old & up".

The toys offered on their site are not the typical items that you find at your everyday department store. I have seen some of them at local specialty and educational stores, but being online, they definitely have a larger selection of unique toys. I like their selection, which is especially great when it comes to giving gifts. There is a lot less likelihood that the recipient might receive two of the toy you select, because the selection is different.

Do you have a question about child development that you would like to have answered? Leave a comment with your question. I will ask ebeanstalk and will do a post with the answers to your questions.

Ebeanstalk was kind enough to offer a 15% discount on any first purchase at ebeanstalk. Simply enter TGS345 at the shopping cart to get your 15% discount.