Planning entertainment for toddlers and preschoolers is easy, but what about activities and toys for babies under 1?
Luckily we’ve got everything you need to keep those babes entertained – starting with newborns up to early walkers.
If possible, make sure you are prepared before baby arrives so you don’t have to wait around for the packages to arrive in the mail. However if your little bundle of joy is already here, don’t fret! We’ve got all the info about toys for babies under 1 in short, easily digestible pieces for simple comparing.
These are all great items to add to your baby registry. And remember if you’ve chosen the best baby registry, you can snag anything that hasn’t been purchased with a great completion discount!
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Activity centers are gifts that entertain your baby and allows you to accomplish some necessary things around the house (taking a shower, throwing in a load of laundry, or eating a sandwich!).
Make sure you have some sort of baby holder or activity center for each floor of the house, preferably for each room you’ll be spending large amounts of time.
Rainforest Activity Gym
This one is very popular and for good reason. It has 10 fun toys with multiple places to attach them, makes music, and lights up. With so many options for repositioning toys, this activity gym can be an exciting place for your baby to explore over and over.
Another reason moms love this mat is that it is machine washable!
Skip Hop Baby Camping Cubs Activity Gym and Playmat
One major bonus of this model is that because of its high profile, it works even when baby is sitting up so you’ll get more use out of it. Not to mention it’s sleek design that makes a statement!
They are best for babies who can sit on their own until they are able to walk. Also, they are excellent for keeping a newly mobile crawler safely contained and happy.
Baby sits in a swiveling seat surrounded by exciting and fun toys.
This one offers a great value as it has 11(!!) activities to occupy your little one and 3 height settings to grow with them.
Jumperoos are also best for older infants around 6 to 12 months old.
The Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo is very popular and babies seem to love it! The seat swivels all the way around allowing baby to play with multiple bright and colorful toys. There are also 3 adjustable height levels to grow with your little one.
While they don’t have all of the toys like the exersaucer or jumperoo, they have a few definite benefits. First, they take up way less space, essentially none. They can be placed on any doorway with molding and are easily removed and put away. Second, they are generally less expensive. if you’re working with a tight budget or tiny apartment, a doorway jumper may be the perfect solution!
The original and most common is the Jolly Jumper which you can even get in a free standing model. It also claims to be safe for babies as young as 3 months old to use.
Baby Care Play Mat Foam Floor
Jo has the one with the roads/farm, on the other side is the animals with the alphabet. Her kids love flipping it to the different sides to play. In fact, she’s had it for 4 years and it’s still in great shape! A definite MUST for any play area.
Babies like being a bit upright and kicking the hanging toys. Bouncer seats are generally also lightweight and easy to carry from room to room making them a great distraction whether you’re cooking or showering.
Rachel really like this one because it’s easy to clean, inexpensive, and her baby loved it.
**It’s important to note that bouncer seats are not for sleep and you should stop using it when your baby can sit up on their own.
The transition in how it can be used for many years as your child grows is definitely a huge plus. It provides many of the same calming features provided by the bouncer (self-rocking, vibration, toys). The only downside is that it’s not as snuggly as babies aren’t hugged in the hammock-style that is often associated with traditional bouncer seats.
3-in-1 Around We Go Activity Center
The solution? The Bright Starts Around We Go Activity Center. Before kids can sit up on their own, it has a little seat kids can use to play with the toys and stretch their legs. As their legs develop, they can circle the table in the seat. When they’re comfortable with standing, you can remove the seat and use it like a regular activity table. Genius!!
Honestly you don’t have to worry about registering too many toys for babies under 1, trust me people will buy them anyway. However there are a few essentials you should definitely have before baby arrives.
Vulli Sophie la Girafe
The Sophie teether is an absolute classic that is loved by all kids. It’s made of 100% natural rubber and the paint is all food-based. Babies love all the different parts for chewing and soothing sore, teething gums.
Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle & Sensory Teether Toy
It’s usually the first toy babies are able to play and interact with because of the multiple easy-to-hold thin “rings”. The bright colors and playful rattle hold babies attention. Seriously one of the best baby toys!
Our personal favorite is the SHILOH Baby Activity Spiral Wrap because it’s super colorful and the animals are adorable.
Lamaze Baby Toys
But what makes them so great? Aside from the fact that they look adorable and have classy names, each toy has a clip to attach to a booster chair, carseat, stroller, etc. Each one of the animal’s “appendages” is a different color with a different texture or noise – so baby is constantly discovering new things.
While you may think this “calming centers” category doesn’t belong in an article about play and activities, hear us out.
If you’re getting ready for bed or nap time, then the “activity” you want is wind-down time. That’s where you turn to these soothing and calming options.
Many parents let their children relax and ultimately nap in these, although they are not technically approved for extended sleep. We’ll let you decide what you’re comfortable with. Of course, if you have any questions please direct them towards your pediatrician.
Fisher-Price Snugabunny Cradle ‘n Swing
It has 2 recline positions, multiple swing speeds, and can swing 2 different ways. The mobile, mirror, and music also kept baby’s interest. Our favorite thing is that the insert is machine washable for the inevitable blowout diaper.
Babies can be finicky, but if your baby loves the swing then it is worth its weight in gold.
Compact, Space Saver Swing
The Ingenuity Cozy Kingdom Portable Swing is absolutely perfect. For starters, it takes up a fraction of a footprint required of a traditional swing. It swings at different speeds and has two reclining positions. When not in use, it folds almost flat for easy storage.
The mamaRoo almost creates its own category entirely. It’s a bouncer, swing, activity center, and more all in one! It has a sleek, modern design and new models are blue-tooth enabled so you can control sound/volume and motion/speed from your smart device.
The motion options with the mamaRoo are extensive, and include choices like “kangaroo” for bouncing and “car ride” to mimic those soothing vibrations. It also has different reclining options and visual stimulation hanging from the top.
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