these are A few of our favourite things...


From Birth

1. Playmat - we like the Ikea Leka playmat and the interconnecting alphabet foam playmats like this one from the Early Learning Centre.

2. Play gym - we like the Little Tyke's 5 in 1 Growing Gym which transforms into different play centres as your baby develops (up to 3 years!) as well as the ones on our list of best play mats.

3. Stuffed toys - make sure they don't have beads that can be chewed off (choking hazards).  Taggies are lovely stuffed toys with labels stitched on for baby to chew and play with. Lamaze have a great selection too.

4. Bouncer/ bouncy chair - the babybjorn balance is the best in our opinion, but cheaper bouncers also do the trick - check out the large range at Mothercare.

5. Cot Mobile - battery operated ones are handy. The tiny love classic mobile switches itself off after 20 minutes of playing music and also has a nightlight. Buy it here.

From 3 months

1. Things to hold - soft blocks, balls etc. Grow and Play (available at Sainsburys) have a great selection.

2. Toy bar for the bouncy chair - we love the babybjorn wooden toy bar.

3. Rattles - we like these wooden double ended maracas (stops your baby from sticking it down their throat!)

4. Sophie the Giraffe - an essential item for every baby. Sophie is so cute and so nice to chew with those sore gums. Buy here.

From 4 months

1. A seat to help baby sit upright - the Bumbo Baby Seat is a good one.

2. A doorway bouncer so that baby can start putting weight on his/her feet - for example the Jolly Jumper with bounce mat.

3. Inflatable play ring - you can fill these with toys and baby can sit in there safely (although K's husband calls this the 'ring of neglect').

From 5 months

1. Jumperoo / activity centre - our faves are the Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo and the Baby Einstein Activity Centre.

From 6 months

1. Baby Walker - we like the Chicco Baby Walker and the V-Tech gets good reviews too.  These are good little activity centres for when baby is sitting and double up as a walker to help them take those first steps.

2. Toy remote control - your baby will probably want to grab your TV remote at every opportunity, the Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Remote lights up and plays sounds and music - much more fun than the boring old Sky controller...

3. Toy phone - similarly to the remote, your baby will probably be reaching for your mobile whenever its in sight. Give them their very own version - the Fisher Price Smart Phone.

4. Inflatable Roller - designed to help your baby crawl, but they love playing with these as they are often clear with balls or jangly things inside. (At 8 months, R's baby still chases his around the room giggling!) We like The Carousel Inflatable Activity Roll.

5. Ball pit - once your baby can sit, this is a great toy - and the pit/pool/pond/whatever you want to call it can be collapsed and the balls have a storage bag so your house doesn't have to look like a soft play centre. We like this pop-up sensory ball pit with holes in the side, and textured, squeaky bean bags. Buy here. (You need to buy the balls separately, buy here)

Approaching 1 year

1. A great first birthday present is a trike or ride-on toy. Our favourites are the Indigo Jamm Scooter and the Baby Ride-on Cow Shape Sorter.

2. Activity table - when your baby is learning to stand by themselves they will love playing standing up too. The Early Learning Centre's Light and Sound Activity Table is great.

Note:  Please check the age recommendations and safety instructions that accompany the toys, the above is just a guide!


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