1. Our son has really enjoyed using the iPad at every opportunity. We try to limit the time he spends on it and I’ve customized it for him. One of his favorite apps on the iPad is Elmo loves ABCs. This is a fun app that teaches the alphabet, has short videos and allows for drawing and coloring. Little J loves tracing and identifying letters. We use this along with reading and interactive play with mom and dad.
2. One of L.J’s favorite channels is The Baby First Channel. He loves the Color Crew, Rainbow Horse and The Notekins. When we want to watch something on television we sometimes let him watch tv on the iPad. The baby first app has been pretty good for that purpose. Our son certainly loves it. It is a subscription though I wasn’t fond of it being a separate charge on each device. I pay separately on my iPad and then again on the Roku. If it didn’t make him so happy and buy mom a bit of time to do things like blog, I wouldn’t have it on more than one device.
3. The VTech Touch and Learn Activity Desk is a great toy. Little J isn’t a big talker but he is great with identifying letters, numbers, shapes, animals etc. when prompted. He will point out the correct answers most of the time. This is one reason I thought this toy would be good for him. He really loves it too. Aside from instruction on the alphabet it also comes with four card inserts that teach, seasons, direction, weather, animals, body parts and more. It plays classical music or pop music (simple nursery rhymes). It has a volume control which is definite plus on my list. The desk isn’t just another digital toy either it lifts up to reveal drawing space and a chalkboard. If I had any suggestion it would be about the accompanying chair which I would prefer to have a back.
4. Thankfully in such a digital world my son’s favorite thing to do is still read a good book. Little J has a few books he’s inherited. My mother-in-law did a great job of keeping books that her kids read. (It brings me such joy to know Little J is reading the same books his father read extra scribbles and all.) Little J also has books we’ve bought for him and books he’s received as gifts. Another great resource we use for books through our local library program is Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. As a part of this program Little J gets a new book every month. This is definitely worth looking into if you are looking for ways to encourage your child to read.
5. The Fisher Price Classic Farmer Says See ‘n Say is a classic toy. I didn’t have one growing up that I can recall, but my hubby did. Its premise is simple. Pull the lever the arrow spins around and goes to an animal which makes the corresponding sound. Little kids will need help pulling the string for a while and it’s a noisy toy with no sound control. I wish some of the sounds were more realistic but all in all it’s a good toy.
6. ThinkFun Zingo is not really a toy for little kids still putting everything in their mouths. Especially not great for kids without supervision as the pieces are small. However we play with Little J who seems (mostly) past the “put everything in my mouth stage” and he really loves it. We don’t as yet play it like the speed game it was intended. We use it as a simple matching game to encourage him to speak out more. I can put the pieces close to my mouth as I label them for him so he can see how I form the word and imitate. He’s great at matching the items and gets a kick from the chip replacement system. I wouldn’t leave him to play with this on his own as it’s a choking hazard and the pieces are easily lost but it’s been helping him express himself a bit more.
7. Uncle Goose Braille Alphabet Blocks these are the type Little J has and we love them. I spoke about these blocks in an earlier post. Little J still loves these. They were a great toy for him at one year and I’m sure they’ll still be a hit at two. We use them for stacking mostly but they’d be a neat way to teach spelling also. I love that they have braille and expose our son to sign language as well.
8. Star Castle Prince House Indoor Boys Blue Tent outdoor Kids Play Hut by POCO DIVO This is a fun one. It’s meant for outdoor use but we have it in the corner of his room and use it (supervised) as a neat reading spot. It took him a while to warm up to this one but now he loves dragging me into the tiny space to read. We’ll probably take it outdoors some for the summer.
9. VTech Click and Count Remote This was a favorite of Little J’s for a very long time. I can’t say it kept him away from our tv remote but it does manage to entertain him. The songs are familiar nursery rhymes and might just get your little one moving.
10. Little Helper Broom Set. The concept of giving your child a broom might seem so not fun to at first but I remember just how much our little ones love to imitate their parents. Little J enjoys following me around and helping out with his chores and I hope it’s a trait that sticks!
So there you go. Our top ten from Little J’s past year. Hope there’s something helpful or fun you can share with a child on this list. What were your favorite toys as a kid. I remember a yellow plastic teapot house I had as a kid and my parents have a picture of me about my son’s age pushing the broom around the house too. Fun!