My Take on Toys: 0-12 Months

I’m here to talk about toys today! For me, a cluttered house means a cluttered mind and far less productivity. I make it my aim to keep my child aptly entertained with good, quality toys while also keeping my home looking as “adult” as possible. I highly detest clutter and I do all I can to keep it at bay in my home. But I realize that my home belongs to my daughter just as much as it belongs to me and it will and should reflect her presence!

I purchase most of Kya’s toys and books on Amazon because it’s convenient and usually the cheapest. And I love being able to read product reviews from other moms. I have also found quite a few toys at consignment sales. A church in our area hosts a huge biannual children’s sale and this past spring I snagged $100 worth of wooden toys for about $25! If you get to those sales early you can usually find some amazing deals! A local thrift store here in Oregon has a huge section of well-organized books so I pick through the children’s section every once and a while and can find un-chewed board books here and there for $0.75! 🙂

I encourage you to consider buying toys that grow with the child. It’s a better use of money and keeps you from gathering an overwhelming amount of toys. You can start off using many toys in simplistic ways and then as the child advances, the toy can be used in its more complicated, intended way. The vast majority of Kya’s toys have grown with her. I don’t really pay much attention to the age markings on toys (unless of course there is a safety issue – i.e. parts that are too small). Many toys are marked with a certain age category for developmental reasons, so many of them can actual be used earlier than what is marked.

Storing toys properly is the best way to avoid the clutter conundrum. I purchased four canvas bins (with lids) at Hobby Lobby. They are lined up neatly in the corner of our living room. I have the toys organized into the four bins by category: stuffed animals and dolls, wooden toys, plastic toys, and books (though I’m going to have to come up with a different solution for the books soon…we have so many!) Kya can easily get into the bins and choose the toys she wants to play with. I store her bulkier toys in a couple of bins in her closet and get them out from time to time. At the beginning of Kya’s naps, I take three minutes to put away all of her toys. When she wakes she gets to start playing with a fresh round of toys. Taking a few minutes to declutter throughout the day goes a long way in my experience. After Kya goes to bed, we pick up her toys again and close up the bins so we can have our adult space for the evening! It might sound silly, but it makes a big difference for us! As a bonus, we wake up the next day to a clean, uncluttered home!

I have always loved wooden toys, so naturally Kya has quite a few. But we also have plenty of plastic toys and stuffed animals to keep her happy. She only owns two toys that make noise. She loves them and two is all we need! 🙂 It keeps me somewhat sane! We listen to lots of music and watch an occasional Baby Einstein episode. We’ve just hit the one-year mark with our baby, so I thought I’d share our favorites toys and books from the last 12 months.

TOYS

oribel activity center

I realize that this activity center is pricey. It was a gift and a huge blessing! I looked and looked and looked for an exersaucer that wasn’t clunky, ugly, or noisy and I had a hard time finding one. Then I came across this one. It is beautiful, quiet, and streamlined in size. It transforms into a toddler activity table and folds up to store! Kya used it A LOT from 6-12 months. It took us five minutes to put it back in its original box and it’s out of sight in our attic. If you can afford it, it’s a great option!

shape sorting cube

Kya got this toy when she was six months old. She loves the sound when she drops the blocks into the box. The lid comes off so a child can use it before they’re able to actually put the shapes in the correct holes. This is one of her most well-loved toys. She is now learning how to sort the shapes!

squeeze blocks

I love these blocks because they’re soft and squeezable! She loves to hold them, throw them, chew on them, and now stack them. We bought these early on as well.

alphabet letters

These letters were a birthday gift and they have been a huge hit! I leave them on the side of the fridge and Kya stays very entertained, especially when I’m working in the kitchen. Of course, these will most definitely grow with her as she actually learns her letters. She knows the letter “k” and says its sound when she sees it!

bead maze

This toy is an amazing invention. It’s a classic bead maze that attaches to surfaces via suction cups. I love to put it on Kya’s high chair to buy me some time while I cook. We also like taking it to restaurants for her to play with while we wait for our food. Totally worth lugging it around!

classic baby beads

This was one of Kya’s very first toys. When she was first learning to hold things, she used this one a lot. It’s easy to grasp and is so colorful! She still plays with it to this day!

rainbow stacker

Kya received the rainbow stacker for Christmas and has absolutely loved it! At first she obviously didn’t understand the concept of stacking the rings but we would take the rings off and let her play with them. This is definitely another one of her most well-loved toys. She is now learning how to stack the rings so she is still getting a lot of use out of it.

play food set

We got this play food set for Kya for her birthday. We purchased it directly from IKEA and I think it was a little bit cheaper than on Amazon. She doesn’t yet understand how to use the food for pretend play but she enjoys carrying the food around. They’re soft and oh so cute! She even wears the basket on her head like a hat. 🙂

BOOKS

daddy hugs

mommy hugs

These are Kya’s all time favorite books! Daniel and I have them both memorized and can quote them. Any Karen Katz books are wonderful and the illustrations are eye-catching!

go, dog. go!

This book was one of those $0.75 thrift store finds and it was well worth the small investment. We read this one constantly. As a result, one of Kya’s favorite phrases is “go, go!”

llama llama, red pajama

This was a gift for Kya’s birthday and I think it is my personal favorite board book that we own. It is an adorable story, has a nice cadence, and it’s fun to read!

where is baby’s belly button

Again, this is a Karen Katz book. She has written many adorable books. This one is a lift-the-flap book and Kya loves it. We keep all her flap books in a separate bin in her closet where she can’t get to them on her own. I learned my lesson when she started chewing the flaps to bits!

dear zoo

This one is a classic! I found myself quoting it when we visited the zoo for the first time a couple weeks ago, which means we read it a lot! It helped Kya start learning her animal sounds!

first 100 words

This is one of the most common baby board books. It seems like every household has one of the books in the “first 100” set. The books teach a wide variety of first words to babies. It’s fun to sit with Kya and see which words she knows and can point out and/or say. She also loves to sit and look at the pictures on her own. Our copy shows lots of wear and tear which means it’s well-loved! It always goes on airplane trips with us because it’s small and entertaining!

What are your favorite toys for 0-12 months? 12-24 months?

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