Every time I turn around, my babies are bigger and doing new things and really going places, and it makes me want to scream, "Stop it!" Since I can't actually stop time or even slow it down remotely, I find a little comfort in at least documenting some of my favorite things that they do, whether that be preserving pictures or just jotting down this or that in journals or calendars. The big things always get noted, but there are still so many milestones and "firsts" that are under-celebrated, so to help introduce some fantastic VTech baby toys (who I've partnered with for this review) that really celebrate childhood firsts and budding abilities, I've rounded up just a few of my favorite under-celebrated moments:
VTech Baby Toys
It'ss the little things, right?! I love these small moments. I also love the big ones, like when they first interact with toys, the first "pull up", and when they learn their first letters. Big and small milestones can all be celebrated with VTech's age appropriate toys that are fun and educational. VTech has collaborated with an expert panel of accredited doctors in order to develop a Milestones resource, which can give you a good idea of what milestones to look for from birth to nine years old, along with toys that are most appropriate for their ages and abilities. You can find these toys below listed as appropriate examples for certain ages in the Milestones resource.
Since we had the opportunity to try out four different toys from VTech that span from 9 months to age 5, I was really able to look at all my children's abilities and appreciate what they can do and what they enjoy. I could spot all sorts of fun milestones as we tried out these educational and very alluring toys!
The first thing we opened was the VTech Spin & Learn Ball Tower, and as soon as the baby saw the box, she was glued! There is a very small amount of assembly, and because this tower is just her size and so brightly colored, it really holds her fascination, even though she is just 7 months old and this is intended for ages 9-36 months. My 3-year-old boy was definitely just as enthralled; he was ALL over this toy!
There are four brightly colored balls that can be dropped in the top and taken on a ride down the slide, with stops and drops along the way. The toy will identify the color of the ball as you drop it in and has more than 100 songs, melodies, sounds and phrases!
The four buttons on the front light up and teach colors, numbers, and insects! As you play, it asks for certain colors of balls or certain buttons to be pushed, and makes other requests like making a rainbow with the colors. Right now the baby can hold the balls and drop them in, touch all the buttons and knock over the tower, so I'm anxious to see how the baby's abilities increase with age and she is able to do more things with this toy, like follow the directions and practice numbers and colors! I think this is a fantastic toy for a curious baby, mobile or not, and I like that the wide base keeps it from easily toppling over onto the baby. The tower feels sturdy and unlikely to break, and I appreciate that the balls are made of a strong plastic that will not compress if accidentally stepped on.
Since big brother was completely enamored by the ball tower, I pulled out a toy that was more age-appropriate for him so that he'd let the baby play with her toy! We opened up the VTech Sit-to-Stand Ultimate Alphabet Train, and he has hardly let it out of his sight. As you can see, there are a number of things to assemble, but everything just clicks into place quickly and there are no tools needed.
If there ever was a toy that did 100 different things, this would be it! There TEN different activities to keep you busy, ranging from colors to numbers, colors, the weather, and more. There are plenty of opportunities to practice motors skills (large and small) because children can ride the train, fill the wagon with blocks and tote it around, push the train like a walker, read the storybook, dial numbers on the keypad, talk on a walkie-talkie, spin gears, push buttons, and stack blocks.
These alphabet blocks are a really fun part of this toy. You can use them as building blocks and build towers, store them in the wagon, drop them down the chute and watch them slide into the wagon. Insert each block into the train's square slot (above), and the train will identify the letter for you.
The alphabet blocks are the perfect size for the baby to handle, and we love how the two parts can come apart and the engine can be used as a walker! Watch out, world! She is going to just take off on this.
This train is intended for ages 12 months - 3 years, and my youngest two kids fall just outside this parameter, but they were both quite intrigued and have found dozens of fun features to keep them busy since we opened it! It is definitely the hot item around here. I've seen this train taken on rides into every room in the house and it is being used in all sorts of imaginative ways. If you're looking for one toy that will entertain and in a dozen different ways, I recommend this ultimate alphabet train, hands down!
Now, the biggest brother (age 4) decided that he also needed something new to play with, and I was pleased to see that VTech sent some toys for older kids too! This is the VTech Spinning Lights Learning Hippo, and it is designed for ages 18 months - 4 years.
While it may look like a simple wind up toy that says the letter that it lands on out loud, there are actually plenty of activities and games that make it interactive and interesting to my 4-year-old. By pressing the hippo's mouth, you hear one of 50 fun questions about letters or words. You can also learn facts about each letter of the alphabet, like "an ant has six legs" or "a banana is a yellow fruit". These are simple, but it is instilling tiny nuggets of information about a large number of objects in a fun way.
My boy scooped this right up into his lap and started playing the games, finding the letter or object that the hippo asks for. This is a "vocabulary builder", so it helps kids learn about letters, phonics, objects, animals, instruments, etc. My son loves to set it to Music Mode and identify all of the 26 fun melodies that he already knows and loves. He'll take it around the house singing to this or that. I think this is a great toy if you need your child to sit still for an extended amount of time, or you don't want to bother with lots of parts and pieces to clean up.
The last toy is one that I'm really excited about and have already hoarded away until Christmas. This is the VTech Write & Learn Creative Center and it is quite the activity board, especially for being for under $25.
This so beyond an ordinary magnetic doodler because of the screen at the top that guides children to learn to write letters and draw objects in a patient, step-by-step fashion. It teaches proper stroke order when forming upper and lowercase letters and it can even help them write their name!
Little artists will love this because of all the drawing activities that go beyond simple shapes. There are over 40 different objects to draw, along with two stamps and a reel of stencils! I like how the buttons are easy to push and the picture icons allow a non-reader to still use it. The pen is ergonomic for little hands learning to write, and the guiding voice that directs and teaches is gentle and kind. I feel like this would make quite an ideal travel item for road trips because of there being only two loose stamps and a tethered writing utensil. This is intended for ages 3-6, but I think children older and younger could enjoy doodling and practicing new skills on this creative center.
We are all so excited about these new toys! It's basically been Christmas around here for the last few days, and while I had hoped to put all of these back in boxes to reopen at Christmas, the idea feels a bit ridiculous after seeing how much these have become unforgettable. I'll happily recommend these toys as great gifts and quite educational teaching tools for little kids!
Buy it: You can purchase all of these items (and MANY other VTech baby toys on Amazon.com.