With birthdays of the children and grand children in the family approaching faster than most parents and grandparents would like to believe, it is time to start thinking about gifts for the babies of the family and suitable toys for 1 year to 2 year old boys and girls. There are lots of different types of toys available with different themes and purposes but most options for this age range are focused on developing motor skills and recognition of shapes, colors, words and numbers. The question for buyers is which route to go down, something simple with a basic function and clear goal or something interactive and electronic with lots of different things to explore. This list will look at twelve top toys, from the most striking baby gadget to the most simplistic wooden shape sorter, to help you out.
The Best VTech Toys as Gifts for Boys and Girls 1 – 2 Years Old
VTech Baby’s Light Up Laptop
VTech are known for their interactive, educational gadgets for children, kid-friendly versions of laptops and tablets, and there are two examples in their range that would appeal to parents of girls aged 1 year old up to around 3 years. To call the Baby’s Light Up Laptop a laptop may be pushing it but this pink toy does have 6 buttons and piano keys on what would be to keyboard to activate the display on the hinged screen and there is a movable mouse that, logically enough, is shaped like a mouse.
Unlike an adult laptop, however, it also has the benefit of a carry handle. Kids can learn all about letters, numbers, shapes and animals through the display and songs as there are plenty of options to keep them entertained.
VTech Light-Up Baby Touch Tablet
In addition to this laptop, VTech have created another gadget with very young girls in mind with the Light-Up Baby Touch Tablet. Again this toy is available is a soft shade of pink with a pleasing purple display and a cute pink cartoon character to encourage play and learning when your baby may need a little help.
The toy does look enough like a tablet to stop toddlers trying to play with the real thing and has a series of “apps” to let them copy mum and dad and even the option to check emails, look at the time and check the weather. The games promote recognition of shapes, numbers, letters and colors, as is expected, but these additional replications lead to other areas of development to help with their understanding of the world.
VTech Smart Shots Sports Center
Electronic elements and flashy, educational games for kids are what make VTech stand out as a brand to keen parents and the Smart Shots Sports Center is therefore an interesting, alternative option for young boys aged 1 year old and up. It gives them a chance to develop their motor skills and learn about sports at a young age through a colorful, engaging toy with an interactive, electronic element.
The colorful goal area and basketball hoop on the front come with miniaturized balls and the scoreboard keeps track, helping kids with their counting too. In addition to these lights and sounds there are lots of buttons of different shapes to play sounds and songs and cute characters on the graphics so kids aren’t going to get bored quickly.
VTech Busy Learners Activity Cube
The next example of these VTech toys to mention is the Busy Learners Activity Cube because even though it has many of the electronic elements that are expected from this brand, it is perhaps more recognizable as a developmental toy for 1 year to 2 year old children. Each side of this multi-colored, round-cornered cube has a function, with different buttons to press, elements that light up, fun sounds to listen to and something new for babies to learn.
The automatic shut off and volume control give parents greater control of a toy that is both fun and educational and everyone can receive pleasure from the songs and games that teach a child about shapes, letters, colors and even the names and sounds of animals.
VTech Magic Star Learning Table
In similar vein to the Activity Cube, VTech have put all of their colors, shapes and interactivity into the Magic Star Learning Table. Imagine the Tardis if Doctor Who was a baby and you get an idea of the complexity of buttons, moving parts and sounds. The optional legs raise the play area of off the floor so babies can stand and play with all the parts and they can develop their motor skills further with the gears, steering wheel and phone.
As you would expect, shapes, colors, letters and numbers all play a big part with the games but there are some odd extras that make the toy more interesting, such as the toy bear in the middle that is controlled by the steering wheel and the option of Spanish.
Other Must-Have Interactive Toys for Babies
Fisher-Price Bright Beats Smart Touch Play Space
VTech are not the only company to have lots of fun designing toys for babies with lots of interactive elements, lights and sounds and there is a toy from Fisher-Price that uses three different modes of play to surround boys and girls with light, song and colorful panels to press.
The Bright Beats Smart Touch Play Space consists of a structure with a big arch containing a touch sensitive bar and other activity areas like the balls and dials. Mode 1 is gentle, with baby creating piano tones from the bar as they sit and listen and watch the lights, mode 2 is more energetic with music and a faster tempo to dance to and mode 3 is educational with games for learning about letters and numbers.
Playskool Busy Poppin’ Pals Toy
There is a basic premise with a lot of toys for baby boys and girls aged 1 year to 2 years old and the best tend to have fun buttons and shapes to push with interactive elements. The classic Playskool Busy Poppin’ Pals toys shows that babies don’t need lots of flashing lights and complexity to learn and have fun because it is simple in its design yet charming and fun.
The five colored buttons have different movements to help with motor skills and once activated they release a model of the creature depicted on the sticker. Kids can enjoy the fun of the surprise reveal and the cute characters of the panda, lion, monkey, elephant and giraffe but also get to learn about these creatures and improve color and animal recognition.
Hide N Squeak Eggs
The final toy is this section of alternative interactive toys for babies is one of the weirdest in terms of its concept but it is currently ranked as the best seller in baby shape and color recognition toys, so must have plenty going for it. When kids open up the yellow box that they are met with six eggs in their carefully crafted compartments and kids have to figure out which fits in which hole.
This is not the end of the game, however, as each egg has a color coordinated chick hidden inside and when babies press the egg down, the chicks chirp away happily. It sounds odd at first but the mixture of exploration, surprise and learning through shapes and cute character means it is a winner.
Toys That Can Help 1 Year Old Babies Appreciate Shape and Color
B. One Two Squeeze Blocks
Sometimes the best toys around for 1 year old babies that are starting to learn about the world are the simplest ones and the B. One Two Squeeze Blocks, currently ranked at the best seller in baby block toys on Amazon.com, are about as simple as they come. There are ten plastic blocks that have been molded with textured surfaces to make them more interesting for a baby to touch and play with and are soft enough to be squeezes.
To enhance the experience further, each of the available 60 sides has a different image to help the baby identify animals and numbers. Other advantages for parents are that these blocks are safe enough to be chewed, can float in the bath and come in their own storage bag.
Melissa and Doug Deluxe Pounding Bench
Pushing colorful buttons and turning dials is great for a while and does have the benefit of aiding motor skills, such as with the Playskool Poppin’ Pals above, but sometimes it is much more fun for kids to enjoy hitting things and be more active that way.
Like the blocks, the design of the wooden Melissa and Doug Deluxe Pounding Bench is very simple but still attractive with the basic shapes and bright colors. Kids can identify the color of the block that they are supposed to hit next and watch as the surprisingly happy faces disappear from view. The bench is strong and durable, as is the little mallet, and the pegs cannot be removed so there are no safety concerns for parents.
Hape Color and Shape Sorter
Of course of list of baby toys for 1 year old boys and girls would not be complete with out looking at some of the classic shape sorting games that help them with their spacial awareness and their recognition of shape and color.
They probably do not get more basic than the Hape Color and Shape Sorter because all you get are the wooden board with the different shaped holes and the corresponding pegs of different colors; however, there is something beautiful and tactile to this toy that means that not only will children have fun learning with it, parents will enjoy helping them. The product comes with the promise of safe materials and paints and provides a safe, simple way to play and grow.
Melissa & Doug K’s Kids Take-Along Shape Sorter Baby Toy
For the final toy gift in this list, and the second of these shape sorting toys, we come back to Melissa and Doug and their option for developing spacial awareness. There is a lot more going on with this toy than with the Hape model because not only are there more shapes to comprehend and fit into the right hole, the box is a cute little carry bag with a character tag.
The use of plastic may not feel as nice to us but the blocks are durable and light enough to carry around and have more textures and interesting features to keep a baby’s attention. Additionally, the case is nicely padded, so safe enough for kids to play with on their own, and has hidden pictures in the flaps.