Now that we are almost to April, some of the huge toy haul of December is in the discarded and forgotten pile. My oldest is notorious for playing with things for brief periods of time and then forgetting all about them. Out of sight, out of mind. For my youngest, who turns one next month, the toys he got at Christmas have largely been played with repeatedly. He will dig through the toy boxes playing with everything he finds and then tossing it in the floor to dig some more but he definitely has his favorites. Here are the ones that have stood the test of playtime for the past three months:
1. Fisher-Price Lil’ Zoomers Spinnin’ Sounds Speedway
I love this toy. It consists of a spinning racetrack and two little cars that roll on a center wheel rather than on four wheels. That way the cars can roll upside down and in any direction when they are thrown into the spinner. Believe me, they are thrown in. The motor in this has taken a lot of abuse. My son has gotten it in his head that it is fun to stop the spinning with his hand, foot, butt, you name it. I just knew he was going to break it within a week of getting it, but so far it has taken the abuse and kept on spinning. He loves to put any and every toy in there and watch them spin and get thrown out.
2. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Learning Workbench
This little toy has tons of activities and settings for baby. It reinforces the parent’s teaching of the alphabet, colors, numbers, shapes, opposites, and actions through catchy little songs, light up pegs, a slide rule, and a drill that really spins. It comes with a hammer, which at our house works great on everything from the walls to sister’s head.
3. Playskool Explore and Grow Busy Ball Popper
The ball popper consists of a fan and several balls that come shooting out of the tube when baby hits the go button. In addition to the balls getting shot out, they get played with by themselves including rousing games of knock-the-ball-and-chase-it. We had one of these with my daughter as well and I do have two complaints. Her version from 2004 had a stronger fan and the balls really shot out. This one clearly has a weaker fan and the balls don’t have as much momentum as before. My only other complaint is that there is no volume control.
I’m noticing a trend here. Several Fisher Price items. What can I say? They apparently know what babies like. This item includes a steering wheel, turn signals, gear shifter, key, and other goodies. When you turn the wheel, the entire thing vibrates and makes tire squealing noises. You can beep the horn and shift the gears. It has a music setting, a learning setting and a play setting. It teaches letters, numbers, actions, opposites, directions, and cause and effect. This one does have a volume control. Very important.
5. Vtech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker
I was a bit skeptical of this walker. We already had the Radio Flyer Walker Wagon which we used with our daughter. What I loved about the Radio Flyer is that it has a resist push feature which keeps babies from going to fast and falling on their face. It provides greater stability yet is easy enough to push that early walkers can move it easily. So when we got the Vtech walker at Christmas it had a lot to live up to. The front panel with all the toys removes easily and it was played with frequently on its own. Once geekling started pulling up and showing an interest in walking, we reattached the play panel and he would stand holding on and playing. Once he realized he could make it move he took off. He did have several times where it got away from him but he seemed to prefer this one to the walker wagon. My bet is initially, it was easier to move. He uses both quite a bit now and will practically run across the room with both of them.
6. Fire Station House Tent
Saving the best for last, this toy is one my son has played with extensively, with one minor tweak. Our tent is Ariel from Little Mermaid. I know, I know, not very manly. It is actually his sister’s but he absolutely loves it. I would say it is his favorite toy. Now technically, these are not rated for young kids as they have small pieces that pose a choking hazard. I attacked ours with duct tape so that sucker is not coming apart and we check it regularly. It is also in the living room so we can see him when he is playing with it. It is quite funny for the tent to suddenly get picked up and tossed through the air like the Hulk tossing a house.
These toys have all stood up to my son which is saying something. I don’t know if all boys are this rough and tumble but seriously, he is going to be the kid who gets all the bruises from climbing trees and wrecking bikes. I can feel the gray hairs already.