By Andrew Knott of Explorations of Ambiguity
A new year has arrived and you know what that means: Time to buy some new toys for your infant!
Picking out the perfect baby toy can be a real challenge because there are so many options to choose from and there is no room for error. It is critical that you select toys that will challenge your baby intellectually and are sufficiently resistant to drool.
Luckily, I am here to help you navigate the minefield that is baby toy shopping. I took a few minutes out of my busy schedule to product-test toys on my 7-month-old and these seven toys, which were literally the first six things I grabbed plus one thing she found on her own, seem fine.
1. Plush Zebra That Plays Music or Something
This little guy is soft, cuddly, and has great mouth-feel! Your baby won’t be able to resist caressing this fluffy zebra for two seconds before she crams it into her mouth. An added feature: You can wind the zebra up so that he plays music, which will expand your infant’s brain or whatever. Baby will be mesmerized by the music for three seconds before she devours zebra’s face.
2. Blue Rubber Block
The lovely blue color of this classic rubber toy pairs perfectly with your baby’s eyes if they happen to also be blue. Alternatively, the block is probably available in other colors. Handcrafted with exquisite detail, this block features a lion on one side, some other animal on another side, the number two, and some squiggly lines.
Bonus feature: It squeaks, which is a little startling when you step on it. Most importantly, baby will adore the squelching sound her gums make sliding against the industrial-grade rubber. And just you wait! The squelching sound reaches a crescendo when the block gets good and slobbery.
3. Little Book
This entry from the Disney Princess collection is fun, even if the plot is a little shallow and the characters are poorly developed. What it lacks in literary value it more than makes up for in cardboard sturdiness. Your little one can go to town on this beauty for minutes and it won’t be any worse for wear. It might get a little soggy around the corners, but that’s probably fine.
4. Circular Sound, Light, and Music Thing
This product that looks a little like one of those robot vacuum things is outstanding because it lights up, plays music, and is pretty challenging to chew on. A press of the large button on top transports you and baby back to the time when electronic beats and flashing lights were all the rage.
Wait, that time is now, isn’t it? Oh God, when did you lose track of what is current and trendy? Perhaps this toy is the boost you need to get yourself back on the path to relevancy. There is no getting back on that path. Give up now.
5. Small, Decorative Bed Pillow
This lovely item is stylish and made from 100% polyester. Most importantly, it has a large tag.
6. Empty Water Bottle
This plastic delight is completely free of BPA (whatever that is) and is 100% recyclable. As your baby gnaws away at this item, which is literally just a piece of plastic, and becomes enchanted by the crinkly plastic sound, you might begin to question the value of all these actual toys all over your living room floor. No matter. Your baby will be happily occupied long enough for you to catch up on a few episodes of House Hunters.
7. Kitchen Trash Can and Trash Bag
The clear winner for Top Toy of 2017, this everyday necessity provides two layers of plastic for grabbing, crinkling, and tasting. And if you thought it looked kind of gross sitting on your kitchen floor, just wait until you see how great it looks in its new location on your kitchen table, where it will stay for the next year and a half!
A version of this post was first published on Explorations of Ambiguity
About the Author
Andrew is a writer from Orlando, Florida. His work has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Higgs Weldon, RAZED, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Defenestration Magazine, Scary Mommy, Flash Fiction Magazine, and Paste Magazine. He also writes on his website, Explorations of Ambiguity, and you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. His first book, Fatherhood: Dispatches From the Early Years, is available now.