Babies love to gnaw on hard wood surfaces, so Camden Rose Cherry Rattle ($15) is built to handle babies’ first teeth. This rattle is organically sculpted and sanded baby smooth, and are the perfect size for little hands. The rattle makes a clacking sound unlike other plastic rattles. Babies are sure to enjoy this natural wood toy and teether.
The fun starts as high as you can reach. With the Wall Coaster Extreme Stunt Set ($25) marble run, kids can let the imaginations roll, building tracks consisting of zig-zags, change-ups, coasters, and catchers. Unlike a floor-based stacking marble run, this is a wall marble run, where pieces adhere to the wall using reusable adhesive. The adhesive is pretty much the same kind of putty used to tack posters to the wall, and it peels off easily. Once the track is set up, just drop in the glow-in-the-dark marbles and let gravity take care of the rest, as kids watch how their tracks affect the direction, velocity, and speed of the marbles on their bedroom wall. This toy helps kids feel constructive, and gives them a desire to optimize their designs. Though this set comes with several different types of pieces, older kids may find that they want to expand their sets to see how far they can take their creation.
Summers are great for sprinklers and water toys, and one of the most fun-looking water tables is the Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark ($31). With plenty of different moving things to keep kids moving from one station to the next, or playing with a friend. Drop balls down the giant spiral, watching them go round and round, and down into the lazy river, powered by the spinners. Turn the ferris wheel to scoop up and drop off balls. Fill the cup and pour into the funnel to power twin water wheels. This water table will be a consistent summertime fun favorite.
For the inquisitive child who would appreciate a concrete hands-on education on how electronics work, the Snap Circuits SC-300 ($40) offers 305 do-it-yourself projects from a 60-piece set of components. Snap Circuits is the award-winning product for kids to build a radio, doorbell, burglar alarm, and much more from a clearly illustrated manual and without any tools. We only wish it showed how the Professor from Gilligan’s Island built a radio from a coconut, but alas, we’ll have to settle for this awesome set of real-life snap-together circuitry.
Kids of all ages can collaborate creatively when playing eeBoo Obstacles ($17), one of few children’s board games whose gameplay is actually fun for the grown-ups, too. Players collaborate to use their tools in imaginative ways to overcome hazards and barriers. It’s a simple game that whose reward comes from the cooperation and communication with each player. Kids enjoy getting particularly clever and exercising their genius with this fun board game.
For kids that love music and playing in bath, the Alex Water Flute ($11) brings a bit of music education into the mix. Fill the different color flutes to pre-marked levels to get specific tones, then play along with the included waterproof song sheets, or let the kids come up with their own tunes. Might we suggest ‘Splish, Splash, I Was Taking a Bath”? Expect a nightly recital, with the grand finale being a clean kid.
For young ones that love to move, the Kettrike Happy Air Navigator ($230) provides is a tricycle trainer to full trike that makes it easy for both parent and child. Kids can pedal forward, backward to brake, or rest the pedals for auto-free wheeling. The quick-release frame adjusts for growth of the child, and allows for a tandem seating insert (sold separately), making it up to a 4-seated trike! In parent push mode, rear tires can pivot to make it easy for parents to guide. Pneumatic air tires in front and rear help absorb vibration when going offroad, and has more traction than non-air tires. Completely made in Kettler, Germany.
The Baby Einstein brand sure knows how to capture a baby’s attention, and such is the case with Baby Einstein Takealong Tunes ($9). Other music-playing toys may sound too electronic and annoying to adult ears, but that’s not the case with the Takealong Tunes. Enjoy versions of classical masterpieces by Mozart, Vivaldi, Chopin and Rossini that are pleasing to the ear for both child and parent. Lights dance colorfully with the music and are fun for baby’s eyes to follow.