November 27, 2009

Shopping Post: First of Many

This evening I'm looking through the "Birth to 24 Months" of Amazon.com's toy section, looking for something for my 9-month-old niece. I'm not finding many Awesome! Deals! but I'm finding some good toys so I thought I'd do a Shopping Post while I was at it. All photos are yoinked from Amazon. The prices are what they are as I click (rounded, because do any of us care if it's $10 or if it's $10.28?)---Amazon is pissing me off a little by changing prices every 10 minutes so WHO KNOWS what the prices are by the time YOU click.


Um, perfect much? This is the best thing I found. It is the Busy Zoo Activity Center, and it's $57 down from $100, and I could have it shipped free which I would not expect for something nearly SEVENTEEN POUNDS. But I already bought part of Niestle's present and was looking for something more in the $10-$20 range, and also this is a big thing to buy for someone else's household. I'd get this for my own kid, though, if I had a kid the right age. This would be perfect for a tummy-time-aged baby, perfect for a sitting baby, perfect for a pulling-to-standing baby. And I'm always looking for toys with lots to do but NO PIECES TO SCATTER AND LOSE.

I've mentioned the Melissa and Doug Shape-Sorting Clock before. I like it because it's fun for kids who like clocks AND kids who like puzzles AND kids who like numbers. This is a nice price, too: $10 down from $15. This is best for the kind of household where someone finds all the pieces before putting a toy away, rather than the kind of household where eventually the toy has two pieces in place and the others are scattered across four or five rooms. Ahem.

The Melissa and Doug Picnic Basket ($15 down from $20) is a strong contender. Jonniker has a 9-month-old daughter and mentioned that this was on Samantha's wish list, reminding me that the 9-month-old stage is big on putting things in and dumping things out, with an emphasis on dumping things out and perhaps also an emphasis on fussing until someone ELSE puts them back in.

Jonniker and I are also both considering the Manhattan Toy Put and Peek Birdhouse for the 9-month-olds we know. This toy is not on any kind of sale at all as of posting (still $22), but OMG TEH BIRDIES.

My mom has the LeapFrog Fridge Farm and we have the similar LeapFrog Wash & Go, and they're both GREAT. Too old for my niece, I think, but a lot of fun for toddlers. If you put the animals/vehicles together correctly it sings one song, and if you put them together crazy it sings a silly song. They're called "Fridge" because they have strong magnets to attach both the unit and the pieces to the refrigerator, which is nice if you're trying to get TWO SECONDS to pour a stiff drink get dinner ready.

The Radio Flyer Wagon! $30 down from $50 AND free shipping!

The Skwish doesn't look like much for $12, but it was one of the most enduring and played-with baby toys we owned. Durable, too: made it through five babies without looking worse for wear. It's a teether! It's a rattle! It's a hypnotizing toy for Mommy to play with!

The Winkel is a similar choice: why oh why is it TWELVE DOLLARS? It seems like it should be about FIVE! And yet it is worth EVERY DOLLAR, and I saved mine after the last kid outgrew it because otherwise I'd end up spending ANOTHER twelve dollars if I ever had another baby. It was the first toy my firstborn reached for, and they all teethed vigorously on it. Silly name and not cheap, but worth it.

Speaking of silly names, Melissa and Doug's, um, Jumbo Knob Puzzles. There are a whole bunch of these (pets, barnyard, vehicles, etc.--just search for Melissa and Doug and, um, jumbo knob) marked from $15 down to $9. Although, now that I'm looking more closely, I see that other sellers have the starting price at $9-10, so that $15 starting price may be a teeny bit overstated.

These Nest and Stack buckets look terrific: a shape sorting toy AND a nesting/stacking toy. Plus, I'll bet the larger buckets would make good barf buckets later on! A bit small perhaps. Well, let's not turn our minds to it.

24 comments:

Party of 5 said...

So which would you recommend - the Winkel or the Skwish? I will be buying one or the other. I have a 9 month old (well, in a few days she will be) and poor girl has no toys. No real toys, anyway, since I kinda thought we were done and gave everything away. She loves her some tupperware, though! Please recommend one or the other and based on your recommendation that is what I will purchase. Gracias.

Mimi said...

Thanks Swistle! I got lots of ideas from this post.

sagessa said...

I just put the Nest & Stack Buckets on Alex's Christmas list. Now I can get my measuring cups back!

Swistle said...

Party of 5- Oh no, her toy fate is IN MY HANDS? Well, I guess if I were choosing only one, I'd choose the Skwish. The decision would be more difficult if she were younger, because I think the Winkel is so great for the stage where they're jussssssst barely grabbing onto a toy and then trying to chew it. But the Skwish is longer-lasting: even older kids and adults will want to play with it a bit.

jonniker said...

I love the Winkel AND the Skwish, and agree, I'd get the Skwish. It moves and can be pulled apart and snapped back together -- which is something older babies do, not so much the littles. The Winkel is fun, but it's stationary.

(PS, I'm doing a baby's first Christmas toy round-up on Style Lush and my first one is on the fill 'n spills. Look for the two toys we discussed on there this week! I already wrote it.)

Anna said...

We have the Busy Zoo thing at the top of your post and our little girl loves it. She's 15 months now, she's been enjoying it for ages and still loves playing with the beads and opening and shutting the doors and making the other bits spin round. It hurts a bit when you bark your shins on it but it's worth it for not having bits to get lost.

nicole from much more than a mom said...

We have the busy zoo and our kids still play with it at 3 1/2 and 1 3/4. It's super! Costco carries it for $60 here. We also have the Winkel and second your opinion!

Anonymous said...

the Vtech - Discovery Nursery Farm on Amazon for $20.99 is my 10 month old son's favorite toy. I keep this in his playpen with him and when he needs a break from all his other noisey toys he sits in there and plays with this for 15 or 20 minutes at a time. Don't get me wrong it still makes noise but somehow it calms him. We have the busy zoo too and he also loves that. My warning on that is not only does it hurt when you hit your shins but it hurts when little learning to walk guys fall and hit their head on it (four stitches resulted) Target has it for under $50

Party of 5 said...

The Skwish has been ordered. Baby Lauren thanks you in advance!

JEN said...

Swis -

You have good taste in toys. My 15 month old LOVES the Leapfrog fridge magnets, carries them all over the house. She's played with them since a year old. She also has the shape sorter, which she adores, and that Jumbo Knob Puzzle which I love. She pulls the puzzle pieces out and bangs them together, but never puts them back in. As far as the clock - I'm so ordering that today as one of her toys.

Anonymous said...

The Leapfrog magnet toys are on sale for $9.99 at Target (down from $19.99)

Kate said...

I nannied for a boy who had the birdhouse and he L O V E D it. I was with him from 14 months to about 2.5 and it was played with on and off throughout.

Leah said...

I agree! The busy zoo is great! My kids all love it. I think we got ours for $50 and we got it at Target :)

Deanna said...

Thanks for the ideas! I have been struggling with some toys that my 8-month olds can enjoy over the next several months.

Christina said...

That bird house was my son's favorite toy. He would spend hours putting the birds in and taking them out and the rest of the time wandering around with a bird in each hand, one of which was hanging out of his mouth when he was teething.

We have many of these toys or a derivation of those toys and I would concur. One that we loved when our daughter was small was the Magic Mozart cube. It and those stacking toys that stack but can also be turned into a ball? GREAT LIST for people will little ones!

SIL Anna said...

I should have asked you for recommendations long ago! Happily, since I did not, yer niece has none of these (except the fridge toys, squirreled away for when she's old enough) and they all look AWESOME.

Sam said...

It is going to be a Melissa & Doug xmas at our house I predict. We already have a JUMBO KNOB puzzle, (heh heh) plus I got some stuff on Amazon for under 10 bucks each, then the stepFIL got some M&D toys at FAO Schwarz. Sanks for the 9 month baby help! Egg is 10 months but that is close enough!

Ashley said...

I love the little clock! In fact, I just ordered it for my 1 year old. I like how the toy will grow with him. At this point, he is learning how to fit pieces in matching holes. Later, he can learn the numbers, and even later we can learn about telling time. Plus, he already loves clocks! This will be our first time having a Melissa and Doug toy. Thanks for the recommendation!

Jenni said...

Hey, I bought that exact busy zoo at Target for $48 just last week for MW's first birthday in a couple of weeks. Often, I find that things on Amazon are cheaper in stores. Also, you should ALWAYS check the "more buying choices" window on the middle/right of the screen because there are often cheaper options there that also have free shipping. We also have those nesting cups and the boys love them. We use them in the tub and in the sand box, too.

Laura said...

I appreciate these, Swistle. While I have presents for my nieces and nephews all sorted out (we're having a homemade Christmas, so I've got them made and put away in a closet) I *am* going to have to help my grandmother buy gifts again this year.

I have a first rag doll for the six month old http://www.make-baby-stuff.com/free-doll-pattern.html (Evie loves it. I made her two--one for here and one for home) and three clown dolls. http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-Clown-Doll-Stuffed-Toy-Pattern_W0QQitemZ170344740071QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item27a95674e7

Everybody seems to be attracted to both dolls, so I figure I'm safe! ;)

Laura said...

ack. Didn't put the html in... first dolly

Clown doll

My sister, Leonor, loves the first doll, and the skinny limbs are perfect for little hands, so I figure that it's a good fit for Andrea. It's something that she can chew on now, and really play with later on.

The clowns, though, are adorable. Evie has been running off with them since before I managed to embroider on the faces, and she was stealing the outfits before I sewed 'em together. I just finished them last week. :) There's a four-year-old little boy in my quilting class that loved them, so I figure my four-year-old nephew will, too. And Jeron is the same age as Evie, and the turtle he's had since he was born needs replaced. I kinda like old fashioned toys. :) There's just something about a toy that does nothing when everything else does something....

Jess said...

OMG WANT BABY. And every toy in this post to give to the baby. Eeek.

bramey said...

That Busy Zoo is indeed a PERFECT gift. We bought ours for our then-9 mos (now 32 mos) son and he still plays with it. Our now-13 mos son loves it, too (when his big brother lets him).

We have the Fridge Farm and Winkel, too - both gifts, both fabulous... even though I prefer wooden and old-fashioned toys.

el-e-e said...

Lots of those are in my kids' toy box at home but my fave is the nesting buckets. I plan to buy them for every baby shower I attend from now til eternity. (and ever and ever, Amen.)