Grandma Gift Guide for Babies

As with infants, time is the greatest gift.  Time to sleep.  Time to be able to leave the house for a simple errand or just to leave the house.  Time for the parents to be alone and rekindle intimacy is the greatest gift to give your grandchild at any age.

My first gift suggestion is to make a homemade coupon book with coupons that are geared to the new parents that they can redeem during the year.  Be specific.  You can have more than one of one type.  Some examples include:

  • One hour of free time for you  (or two hours, etc.)
  •  Babysitting for one evening
  • Babysitting and $___toward a movie and dinner
  • A home cooked meal delivered to your house and babysitting while you enjoy it in peace
  • Drop the baby off at our house for __ hours
  • Give me your grocery list and I will shop for you
  • A load of laundry, washed, dried and folded for you
  • 24 hours to yourselves; leave the baby with me at your home or mine

New parents are overwhelmed with the time commitment.  Who knew babies required care 24/7!  Whenever and however a grandparent can reduce the burden and relieve some of the 24/7 will be greatly appreciated.

 

As far as purchased gifts, I always love www.toyportfolio.com and www.onestepahead.com.

 

TOYS FOR BABIES

Always look for Oppenheim Platinum toy award winners.  These toys are the first to be picked up and the longest played with.  For 2012, here are the best choices:

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2012 Awards

Choose a predominantly hot pink or blue set of ring or dumbbell rattles. These are classic rattles that have been updated many times, but the basic shapes are exactly on the mark for baby. There are patterns for visual stimulation, textures to interest little hands, and quiet rattle sounds that are not too loud. In other words, this is just right.

SNAP: Use these colorful rattles for tracking games and early interactions. At first you will do all the actions to get a reaction. These are easy to grab and fit well in little hands when your child is ready to reach out and take hold of things.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award

A new version of a classic spinning toy that is easy for baby to activate. Press down on the big green knob to make the colorful fish spin in the see-through dome. The centerpost is silvery and reflects the moving fish. There’s a musical feature that may be too intrusive, but the good news is, you can turn off the sound and still get the action. This is one of those toys that give sitting up babies a sense of power by being able to make things happen. 6 months and up.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Awards

A wonderfully designed set of four stacking cups with amusing faces clipped to the side. Use them for nesting, stacking, pouring and sprinkling. Each of the cups has sprinkling holes that make them ideal for experimenting with in the bathtub. They are wider than most stacking cups and easier to grasp by the rims or faces. Also, thanks to the holes in the bottom they are safe and will not pose a hazard that solid cups can do. They are also of unusual sizes; the tallest being the inside one and almost transparent for looking through. The bottom cup is 4 inches wide and the set stacks to 6 inches high.  These will also make good beach toys for sifting sand or water. 6 months-2years.

SNAP: Big and easy to handle cups that empower kids to stack, nest and best of all use for fun in the tub.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Awards

Here’s a little setting that will be enjoyed as a baby grows from crawling to toddling and even beyond. A soon-to-be three spent a happy time testing all the bells and whistles of the Activity Garden. It is not so much about gardening as it is about making things happen. There are doors to open and close and window with built-in ball run and shutters for games of peek-a-boo. The doorbell has a three buttons that activate three pleasing sounds. A crawl through archway will be fun for active play. There is a mailbox shape, movable bugs to slide, pictures to click, and a detachable three-language phone with buttons that say the numerals baby presses in English, French or Spanish. This is a wonderfully inviting play setting with a terrific variety of activities for fine and gross motor skills. You can convert the four-walled setting into an open one, but we found it is less stabile in the opened positions. This does require assembly, but it went together with relative ease.  It is a big toy, almost 34 by 25 inches.  If you have the room it will be used for a reasonably long time.

SNAP: A good choice for active play that can be enjoyed by children with physical challenges, even if they can not stand. A variety of play modes here that empower kids to make things move and sound.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2012.

BOOKS

Review Year: 2012

2012 Award

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes 
(By Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury,Houghton Mifflin $6.99 Score:)

A collection of babies and toddlers from all over the world, all doing what babies and toddlers do. Each new pair of children introduce us to some new locale, new actions, new ethnicities–but always the alternating pages show how they all have ten little fingers and ten little toes. We loved the original and now this bilingual edition, done on sturdy cardboard stock for independent beginning page turners.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2012.

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 AND SOME PLATINUM TOYS FROM PRIOR YEARS:

1998 Awards

Newly updated with bright graphics, this fabric-covered wedge with a mirror for baby to peer into is ideal for tummy time play. Covered in eye-grabbing orange with multi-colored piping. The unbreakable safety mirror in a soft fabric frame can be removed and used separately. Birst & up.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 1998

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2009 Award

A fun and jolly engine with an easy to grab handle and big yellow smokestack button that lights up and makes sounds when baby pushes it. It hooks up easily to a little train car and both engine and are loaded with the pop up Stack ‘n Surprise Blocks that move up and down as the train rolls along. It has silly sounds and music (that can be turned off) and lots of other colorful rollers and big beads that baby can swipe and turn. A great choice for babies who are starting to crawl. In the same line, look for the Blockity Pop Caterpillar, Dump Truck, Count ‘n Build Snail Pail, and Stack ‘n Surprise Blocks Songs ‘n Smiles Sillytown. They say 6-36 months. We’d say more like 9 months & up.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2009.

Lamaze Mortimer the Moose Baby Toy

This merry moose makes a great first friend for baby, with soft, plushy fur and fun sound effects — crinkle, jingle, cuddle, squeak! And with its chewy antlers and clip-on link, it’s the perfect, take-along teething toy. Hang from your stroller, car seat, or high chair. For newborns and up. Imported.

 

$15.95

AUDIO

Review Year: 2012

2012 Award

Blue Clouds
(Smithsonian Folkways $14.99 Score:)

You know that moment when you’re in your child’s nursery and the sun pours in?  No one’s crying, no one needs a diaper….you’re just enjoying being together.  Elizabeth Mitchell’s new release Blue Clouds feels like the soundtrack for that perfect moment. A collection of deliciously accessible songs that highlight Mitchell’s voice. The arrangements are simple–with guitars, piano, fiddles, and bass.  While the press release for this recording highlights that some of the music is from the likes of such legends as David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, and Van Morrison, none of that seems very important here.  The take away, is a lovely collection of music to share.

Age: Infants, Toddlers, Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award

Little Seed: Songs for Children by Woody Guthrie
(Smithsonian Folkways $11.99 Score:)

Elizabeth Mitchell rocks this collection of Woody Guthrie songs. Right from the start with Riding in My Car we knew we were in for a treat. Her bright, strong voice makes you relax and enjoy these great songs in a new way.  She makes each song her own.  You could imagine Woody listening for a bit, smiling and then joining in.  Children’s music at its best. This CD was just nominated for a GRAMMY!

Age: Infants, Toddlers, Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

NOW, THE LAST GIFT IS TO SHARE YOU IN A PICTURE.  PUT A PICTURE OF GRANDMA AND GRANDPA  IN A PLASTIC 8 X 10 FRAME TO PUT IN BABY’S ROOM.  NEVER TOO SOON FOR BABY TO WAKE UP TO OUR SMILING FACES.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

JOY,

MEMA

 

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