This post has been in the works for some time. I found it super helpful when I could get tips from friends, family and online bloggers about the items they found most useful for their babies. Obviously every child is different and will cling to some things over others but for the most part you can't go wrong making sure you have a few of these favorites from the Travis home.
Melissa and Doug Wooden Train: We registered for this to use as decoration in Joel's primary color themed nursery. When he was 4 months old we brought it downstairs to his toy bin and he has loved it ever sense.
Pull Back Cars: Joel received these as a gift from my parents for Christmas this year. Mom found them on a teacher resource website and was intrigued by their plush bodies and the fact that you can wash them. Once we got them opened up though the real fun began. They are awesome! They fly across the wood floor and send Joel into a fit of giggles. These are definitely an excellent investment for any baby on the go.
Boynton Board Books: Board books in general are awesome and by far Joel's favorite "toy". From a very young age he has enjoyed sitting and turning the pages of books. We especially LOVE Sandra Boynton's books, in particular, "Birthday Monsters" and "Barnyard Dance". For car rides we love the "Philadelphia Chickens" CD which features various jazz artists singing songs that go along with her most popular books.
Oball Rattle: From a young age Joel has enjoyed this rattle. It is easy to grip and it makes noise when you shake it around. The colorful beads kept his attention and he enjoyed being able to play with it himself. Now that he is older he uses it to practice throwing and then chases it as is bounces around the living room. It comes in several colors and is a must have for any baby.
Tails by Matthew Van Fleet: This is Joel's absolute favorite book. One of our friends from church purchased it for him before he was born because of her love of animals. Judging by Joel's love of this book I think he is also going to be an animal lover (Help!). It is very interactive providing flaps to be lifted and textures to be touched. One of its best features though is it's ability to be read on his own because it lies flat when placed on the floor. Any of the Matthew Van Fleet books would be great additions to your home library.
Fisher Price Peek a Block Incrediblock: I purchased a set of alphabet peek a blocks from a garage sale 2 years before Joel was born. I had remembered them from my babysitting days and new that they would be a nice addiction to my growing toy collection. Several kids have gotten use out of them sense then and now Joel plays with them daily. My mom, sister and I found the Incrediblock at a consignment sale last year. I debated it's usefulness and ended up having to send my sister back to get it. We bought it for $20 which is to date the best 20 bucks I have spent on Joel. It is perfect for him to stand up and play with. Both of these items would be an excellent investment for your family. They are also easily washed with soapy water!