Six Picks for Toddlers
For rare sit-down moments
Tags: fine motor skills, making things happen, toddlers
Posted: 2013-12-10 10:07:54 By: joanne Oppenheim




2013 Awards
Manhattan Toy Push & Spin Carousel
(Manhattan Toy $15 Score: )

A classic spinner that baby can activate with push on the big top knob. Inside the see-through dome there are puppies and beads that spin faster and faster. A fun way to learn about cause and effect and gain a powerful sense of making things happen. 12 months & up

SNAP: A satisfying toy for learning about cause and effect that needs little or no adaption. The big knob on top is easy to grasp and the base is broad enough to be stabile. If needed, you can add velcro to surface and bottom of the toy to make it stay in one place. Children like the repetition and sounds as well as the action. Good for building hand and arm strength.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on




2013 Awards
Infantino Stack, Sort & Ball Drop Elephant
(Infantino $25 Score: )

Sitting up babies will love the fill and spill action of this clever elephant with a shape sorter as well as a ball drop. Put the pieces in the big opening at the top or match the shapes on the side and ab-ra-ka-dab-ra they set off music or elephant trumpet as they come rolling out. Or, show baby how to stack the rings o the elephants trunk or press the big button and set the wheel spinning. Best news is the volume control lets you turn the sound down. This well designed activity center is not random as so many electronic toys tend to be. Baby can actually begin to understand that his actions cause reactions - with repetitive lessons of cause and effect babies gain an empowering sense of making things happen.

SNAP  Unlke so many electronic toys, the connection between actions and reactions is clear. Children can actually connect their actions that cause reactions - so repetitive lessons of cause and effect empower the child's sense of making things happen. The actions also involve dexterity and refining fine motor skills.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2013.




2013 Awards
Fisher Price Puppy & Friends Learning Table
(Fisher-Price $44.99 Score: )

There are many activities built into this interactive bi-lingual table. Babies can use this on the floor without the legs and it will then grow up for standing up toddlers with the addition of the legs. They can turn the plastic pages of a book, use the buttons on a phone that counts, make music on a small keyboard and hear more than 60 songs and phrases. Babies who are learning to stand and walk will use this to pull up on and to cruise around. Be forewarned, it is not weighted and on some surfaces the table will slide. In fact, some tots may try using it as a push-around toy. Will they learn their numbers or letters with this? Not really. But most babies will start using this before they are really talking and there are more important things to be learned at that stage than letters and numbers. This is one of those toys that plays repeated lessons giving tots hands-on experiences with cause and effect. By using little fingers they gain a sense of power in being able to make so many things happen. Marked 6 months-36 months, we think this will be of most interest to kids a little older than 6 months and younger than 36 months. That said, this is a pretty good activity table.

SNAP: Adaptable for floor or stand up action, this is a versitile toy that invites hands and fingers to make things happen.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on




2013 Award
Plan Toys Gears & Puzzles Deluxe
(Plan Toys $44.99 Score: )

Build the base with square puzzle pieces and then add the gears to connect them into a machine that can be activated by little hands. There are endless ways to make the pieces spin. This clever set comes with 24 pieces including one big gear that can activate the smaller gears. Call it preschool physics. Marked 2 & up. For 2's and younger 3's this will be a parent/child activity. Older preschoolers will like doing open-ended explorations to create unique 'machines' that they can play with and start all over again.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on




2013 Awards
ELC Singing Animal Keyboard
(International Playthings $34.99 Score: )

We like the new look to a classic first keyboard that helps tots learn about cause and effect. The big keys work one at a time to activate the animals that open their mouths and make sounds. The sound is not over-the-top loud. It has three play modes: animal sounds, animals singing, and animals singing along to a tune. The music is just so-so, but the action will please tots who love the sense power and repetition of making things happen. A good first birthday gift. 12 months & up.

SNAP: Unlike a lot of toys where so many things happen, this works in a very one to one cause and effect way.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on




2013 Award
Kidoozie Zig Zag Speedsters
(International Playthings $39.99 Score: )

Fun for making things happen - big time! Put the little racing cars in the elevator and push them to the top. Now push the elevator button and varoom! Watch the chunky cars zoom down the ramps and pop out of the roadway. Like a ball run with cars instead of balls, this is one of those toys toddlers love. They like the repetitive action and the powerful joy of being in control as they make things happen again and again. 18 months & up

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on


Products for Infants
Products for Toddlers
Products for Preschoolers
Products for Early School Years
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