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Great Baby Gifts

Great Baby Gifts

by Sandy Jones & Marcie Jones
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Shopping for a gift for your favorite baby can be fun! Things designed to entertain little ones are so cute and colorful these days, that just thinking about the joy the gift can provide is sure to bring a smile.

Since a baby's skill set changes so quickly during their first two years, there are a few important things to keep in mind when you shop: First, make sure the gift is appropriate to the age of the baby. Not only does that ensure that your tiny recipient will enjoy the gift, it will also ensure that it's safe for the baby's stage in development.

The age guidelines for toys aren't just about ability, they're also about serious safety warnings-if something is labeled "not for children under 3", that can mean the toy can be made of materials that are toxic when ingested, or there can be a choking hazard.

Also, remember that most babies' attention spans are really short. The gift box, ribbon, and wrapping paper may temporarily appear more enchanting to a baby than the delightful gift inside. Don't get discouraged by the baby's initial reaction.

Gifts for Newborns

No object is more interesting to a baby than real people. Rather than toys, consider several sets of comfy (and colorful), fitted crib sheets, a diaper bag or wipes case, small blankets that can be used for "burp" cloths, sleep sacks or swaddlers, or a night light. Parents might also appreciate a baby journal to record important milestones.

Gifts for Three-month-olds

A three-month-old doesn't have a lot of hand (or foot) skills yet, but he loves hearing sounds and making things move by batting them with his fists and feet. Try a bouncy seat, crib mobile, play mirror, or a tummy-time activity mat (also known as a play gym) with dangly toys. Another really great one is a tummy-time mat that can convert to an activity gym for older babies. A teething baby also loves to gnaw-try a water-filled teether, or a classic Sophie Giraffe.

Gifts for Six-month-olds

Now that your baby can sit, he's ready for an activity center that lets him stretch his legs-an "Exersaucer" or "Jumperoo," or a stationary seat like a Bumbo. Six-month-old babies also like to sit in a high chair while they play with little toys on the tray and throw them overboard to see how many times mom or dad will pick them up. A hand-sized toy that can anchor to the high chair is a convenient option. A mobile is another great gift idea, but note that when your baby starts to roll over or pull up, it's time to take the mobile out of the crib.

Gifts for Twelve-month-olds

Blocks and stacking toys are fun ways to help your toddler improve hand-eye coordination and learn spatial relationships. This is also a good time to introduce baby board books that present colorful, familiar animals and faces that your child can recognize and point to. Noisy activity tables will also encourage your new walker to practice balancing while they're standing.

Gifts for Eighteen-month-olds

Now that your baby is truly a toddling toddler, he's ready for pull and push-toys, like play shopping carts or the classic chattering telephone. Toddlers this age also can get into imaginative play, so try a pretend tea set, mailbox, or dress-up clothes.

Gifts for Two-year-olds

Two is potty-training time, so potty-related books, videos, and kid-sized potties are always welcome gifts. Toddlers also have a way of getting dirty, so washcloths, bath organizers, and tub toys are bound to be big hits.

Our Gift Suggestions

Have you thought of these gifts?

RC2/Lamaze's Freddie the Firefly
So many things for tiny hands and mouths to explore in one toy! This cheerful firefly presents lots of textures, crinkly sounds, and things to manipulate.

Kaloo Doudou Rabbit
Part rabbit and part blankie, this little friend is great for a new walker (around 12 - 15 months) who likes feeling the softness and carrying something around with him while he practices his moves.

Kid O Red Go Car
Here's a little hand car that is just the right size for a one-year-old (or older). Its smooth surfaces make it easy to grasp for zooming around on the floor.

Tiny Love Gymini Monkey Island
This colorful, padded play mat offers a series of suspended toys that can be adapted for back time, tummy time, and for a newly sitting baby. The clever suspended monkey at the top plays musical sounds when tapped.

Sassy Bucket of Beads
Here are lots of hand-sized "beads" to snap together or pull apart in a variety of bright colors and textures that can be stored in a reusable bucket.

My Big Animal Book
Clear, attractive photos of lots of animals are great for playing "Where's the?" and "What's that?" pointing games.
 
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Meet Our Expert
Sandy Jones & Marcie Jones
Mother-daughter Writing Team of the Great Expectations Book Series
The proud co-authors of popular books on pregnancy, parenting, and baby gear, Sandy and Marcie Jones have also made multiple appearances on television and radio talk shows.

Mom Sandy has a Master's in Psychology. As a renowned parenting expert, she has been a featured guest on the "Today Show, "Good Morning America," CNN, and "CBS This Morning." An author in her own right, Sandy's own books include Good Things for Babies; The Complete Baby Book; The Consumer Reports Guide to Baby Products; Parent Support: A Step-by-Step Corporate Guide, and many others. Over 200 of her articles on important issues to expectant and new parents have been published in Family Circle, Redbook, American Baby, and Working Mother. A recent highlight of her many guest appearances includes the honor of being the keynote speaker for the 2009 conference of the International Childbirth Education Association in Oklahoma City.

Daughter Marcie has a Master of Arts in Publications Design, and has served as a Media Relations Specialist at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Marcie has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Maryland Daily Record, where she wrote and managed a variety of specialty publications, and as the Managing Editor of Hunt-Scanlon Publishing, supervising research teams. Her awards include Best Page One Design from the Maryland/DC Press Association. She has also been honored as one of "Maryland's Most Influential People in Communications."
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