7 Best Toys for Baby’s First Year

7 Best Toys

hoarding-toysDo you find it overwhelming choosing toys for little ones? There are so many available! As a new mum, I didn’t know where to begin when it came to toys. What was good to have? What was useful and fun? What was a waste of money? I had a vision of a room in my house several years down the line, bursting with toys… not a nice play room but a room from a secret hoarders TV programme!

I thought I would share 7 small toys we found to be the best buys and biggest hits. We try to steer clear of electronic all singing all dancing toys for now. I hope it will be useful for other new parents and anyone shopping for a new baby!

1. Bath Toys

Bath friends make bath time so much fun and are a baby toy essential! The first bath toy we got was the trusty old rubber duck. We got a fancy one with a sensor on to tell you when the bath was too hot- we never used that, I trust my elbows more than any duck! We also got a few extra bath animal friends, which also make good toys for teething babies!

2. Stacking cups

We had, and still have, endless fun with these. You can stack them inside each other, build a tower, bang them together, and bring them in the bath! The ones we  have have four small holes in the bottom, which provide extra bath time entertainment!

sophie Giraffe book

Baby T’s favourite book!

3. Sophie the Giraffe

What list of baby’s toys would be complete without Sophie? She is a bestseller when it comes to teething toys! And she squeaks too! However, I must confess that after hearing other parents rave about her, I did expect her to be a bigger hit than she was (sorry Soph!). Nonetheless, she has provided hours of chewing and, now T is a bit older she loves reading about Sophie’s adventures (I recommend the books by the way!)

4. NUK Butterfly Rattle

This was our number one toy! When she was a few months old, she chewed it. As she got a bit older she shook it. Later, she became fascinated with the yellow and orange rotating ball and would take my hand to make me turn it for her. Now she turns it herself. The Butterfly rattle is also a great church toy, as it is so engaging and the rattle is very gentle.

5. Lamaze Panda

This was another big hit from the early days. The black and white catch baby’s developing eyesight, and it also has a small rattle. Baby T loved the bamboo ribbon! This is also another favourite toy to bring to church.

6. Lamaze Freddy the Firefly

Freddy is the number one toy! Oh wait, I’ve already said the butterfly was number one… well, they are joint number one! Or the butterfly is the number one teething toy and the firefly is the best all round toy. There. That settles it!

Freddy is packed with features- textures, colours, teething rings, flaps, a mirror, a squeaker (so not a great church toy!), he crinkles, and there is a little ring so you can attach him to the pram or car seat. Freddy is a toy packed with small toys. He also grew a personality and turns out he is a very sociable little creature. Other people like playing with him too. When friends and relatives are peering into the pram, entertaining baby, or trying to get a smile, Freddy is a great help!

7. A ball

I was surprised how young T was when she took an interest in balls. We had soft tennis-sized ball, a big multi-sensory ball (which didn’t roll very well), and a beach ball. The best balls turned out to be a set of sensory discovery balls from the Early Learning Centre. There’s plenty textures and noises to keep them interested and they are the perfect size for baby to hold and to roll, which makes them great for chasing after when baby is starting to crawl!

That’s it! Seven top toys for the first year! There are a few bigger things missing from this list- a bouncer, a baby gym, a walker, but I consider those to be more essential baby items than toys! Except the walker. That is the first thing I give away!

And one extra thing…

little lady bagWe received this as a present when Baby T went on her first holiday. Its small, cute and great for packing her favourite toys into when we are on the go or visiting. I never realised how much babies like to take things out of bags and, occasionally, put them back in! This bag is a great way to keep the toys together, and undoing the zip and taking the toys out is just as exciting and fun as playing with them!

What are your favourite toys for children under one year? Any recommendations for the 1-2 age bracket? I would love to hear from you!

Find more 7QT at This Aint the Lyceum!


7QTs: Alternatives to Easter Eggs

Alternatives to Easter eggs

Do you have any kids in your life that don’t eat chocolate? Or know anyone with a dairy allergy? I know several of these people, and I’m always stumped at Easter when it comes to getting them an alternative to an Easter egg. So, this year I put my thinking cap on and did some brainstorming. Here are a few ideas…





— 1 —

An Easter book- a book telling part or all of the Easter story. I recently heard about The Donkey that No-One Could Ride by Anthony DeStefano. Its a really sweet book, and beautifully illustrated. It tells the story behind the donkey that Jesus road into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. You can hear the author narrate it here

— 2 —

Small inexpensive toys- hit Dollarama, Eurogiant, Poundstretcher, or whatever happens to be your local store. They have a tonne of toys to choose from. Last year I popped some bubbles, a bouncy ball and some chalk in a little Easter basket for a little guy- he was delighted!

— 3 —

Healthy snacks- one year I put small healthy snacks like nuts, yoghurt coated raisins, dried fruit etc, inside little plastic eggs. Or, how about an Easter egg fruit pizza?

— 4 —

The Easter egg symbolises new life. Why not give your choc-free friend some seeds to they can plant new life instead! For little ones, give them something quick and easy to grow, like cress, lettuce, sunflowers or sweet pea. Children will get immense satisfaction from watching their plant project growing, and even more if they can eat it too!

— 5 —

Easter egg alternative- Quail eggsAlternative eggs- Is your chocolate free friend an adventurous eater? How about giving them some quail eggs or duck eggs instead? Quail eggs are considered to be a delicacy in some countries, including here in Ireland, but these are touted as being super nutritious and as having numerous health benefits, as well as being an excellent source of vitamin D, iron and amino acids.

— 6 —

Craft kit / supplies – Why not check out your local craft store to see what Easter craft kits they have in? My local store had a bonnet making, egg cup decorating and Easter card kits. You could also google “Easter Crafts” and get ideas from there, and make up your own kit.

— 7 —

Boiled egg for breakfast? Why not gift someonDrops Egg Cozye an egg cup and/or, if you are feeling crafty why not knit, crochet or sew an egg cosy? I love this one from Drops

What about you? Do you have a chocolate-avoider in your life? What do you get them for Easter?

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!