1. Hasbro Tonka Wheel Drivers Scoot ‘n Scoop 3-in-1 Ride-On: Recommended for children 9 months to 3 years old, this is a great 3-in-1 dump truck. Both of my little boys love it! They enjoy playing with the shape-blocks and playing with the steering wheel which makes noises, has lights, and vibrates.
APPROX. RETAIL: $ 39.99
2. LeapFrog Fridge Farm Magnetic Animal Set: Appropriate for ages 12 months to 3 years, this award-winning toy has been popular with both of my sons. (I also see it in the homes of several of their friends.) This is a great, fun way for kids to both practice matching skills and be creative with mix-matches. The matches include animal names, sounds, facts and songs. This is an all-around great toy.
APPROX. RETAIL: $ 14.99
3. Fisher-Price Little Superstar™ Classical Stacker™: Recommended for ages 6 months and up, this has been a popular toy with both of my sons and many of their playmates (including their group classes). There are four sparkly stars that light up while the music plays. It helps the kids gain a variety of skills and it gives us parents a visual of their growth. (It’s cute to see how they go from banging the stars together and putting them in their mouths to actually figuring out how to stack them, spin them, etc.)
APPROX. RETAIL: $ $10.00
4. Discovery Toys Measure Up! Cups: Appropriate from 12 months to primary school, these cups are a great learning tool. (In my quest to figure out my "after-corporate" life, I sold Discovery Toys for about 30 minutes – until I realized that I HATE selling. My kids got some great toys out of the experience though. This is one of the best.) Kids fill, dump, stack and much more with these colorful cups. One especially neat thing about the cups is that they are "volumetrically correct" (i.e. the contents of cups 3 and 4 really do fill cup 7).
APPROX. RETAIL: $10.99
5. Musical Instruments by The Sarut Group: For children ages 10 months and up, their instruments are super cute. Most young kids like to shake, bang and hit things, so their maracas (which are coated with lead-free paints) and tambourines are perfect. (If they sold drums, my instrument-shopping for my baby, Sean, would be completed!)
APPROX. RETAIL: $15.00 (Tambourine); $11.00 (Maracas)
6. Baby Genius – DVD – Favorite Nursery Rhymes: For ages newborn to 36 months, this dvd receives great reviews from a wide variety of moms. I’m not normally a huge fan of tv for babies, but there are exceptions to every rule. This is one of those exceptions. The animation and live action combine with classic nursery rhymes like Old McDonald, Row, Row, Row Your Boat, and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to make a dvd worth letting your young child see.
APPROX. RETAIL: $9.95
7. Crayola® TaDoodles™ Washable Crayon Buddies: Recommended for 12+ months, these new crayon buddies that tip and tilt (but won’t topple) will make great stocking stuffers. These crayons are non-toxic and they are washable (because you know that they will end up on something that you don’t want them to be on!). Each set includes one red, green and purple crayon.
APPROX. RETAIL: $6.99