Friday, February 18th, 2011
A few days ago I had the fun job of attending 2011′s Toy Fair, here in New York City. Hundreds of retailers came together in a massive space to showcase the latest and greatest in the world of all things fun and playful. Not a bad gig, right? As the resident Babies Editor at Parents, it gives me a downright adorable sneak peak as to what our littlest ones can look forward to in the coming year—and hey, it definitely beats sitting at my desk! I have to say, judging by the caliber and cuteness of what’s hitting shelves right now, it sure is a good time to be a baby! Here are some of the top things that “had me at hello”:
amazing baby Squeaker Stick Rattle, Ages Newborn +, $8
Squeak, rattle and roll with giggles! These colorful and soft 6-inch rattles will appeal to both your baby’s gaze and touch. Choose from an assortment of patterns and themes, including butterfly, sailboat (my personal fave) and bumblebee. These are great for on-the-go or simply hanging at home.
HABA Big Sound Workshop, Ages 2+, $70
Let the little sound artist in your life make some music with adorable high-quality instruments. The 12-piece set is made of Beechwood and includes acoustic blocks, castanets, a sound flute and more that will have your baby rocking out tunes in no time! A Small Sound Workshop and musical instruments sold individually are also available at lower prices.
ALEX Stretchy Puppy, Ages 10 months+, $27.99
Babies will love stretching this soft pup and seeing his colorful body crinkle and grow. Great for sensory exploration, they can also squeak Fido’s nose and rattle his tail. I definitely need to pick one of these up for a baby shower I’m attending next month. Such a cute, unique gift, don’t you think?
ALEX Whimsy Bug Rocker, Ages 12 months+, $132
I just had to give ALEX one more shout out for this one! I mean, what baby wouldn’t want this in their nursery?! I fell in love with the Whimsy Bug rocker the moment I saw it (they have a super-sporty Zoom Around Airplane rocker, too). Soft, plush and perfectly pint-sized, your little guy or gal will love taking a ride on this comfy, vibrantly-colored rocker.
Bestever Baby Mat: Ballerina Hippo, Ages Newborn +, $46
Silky smooth and snuggle perfect for tummy time, nap-time, playtime, anytime, these large mats make an ideal floor cushion for baby. While I was partial to the Hippo for its over-the-top girlishness and—because, well, who doesn’t love a ballet-dancing hippopotamus?—the new designs for 2011 also include an adorable Baseball Puppy variation as well as a gender-neutral Lion mat.
Chicco First Dreams Crib Mobile, Ages 0 months+, $59.99
This remote-controlled mobile creates a magical atmosphere for bed time (and nap-time, too). Wait until you see it glow in the dark! An array of stars are projected onto the mobile’s canopy to the tune of classical music and new age sounds. For older babies, night stars are projected directly on the ceiling. This is definitely one of the coolest mobiles I’ve seen in a while.
Earlyears My First Golf Course, Ages 9 months+, $29.99
Perfect for your golf pro-in-training! This 5-piece plush play set offer so much for lil’ golfers: textures, reflective surfaces and sounds—all excellent for improving hand-eye coordination. Babies can take apart the flag, squeeze and crinkle the golf club, pat the textures and surfaces on the green and roll the ball into the hole for applause. This one’s definitely a toy plenty of dads out there are sure to get excited about!
Mod Baby Zimble Stacker, Ages 9 months+, $16.00
Mod indeed! This fun stacker includes 3 stackable rings and a soft rattle topper. The ultra-plush rings feature colorful ribbon, crinkle paper edges, mirrored rattle and bean bag base with a squishy foam stem for your little one’s easy stacking pleasure.