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January 30, 2019

Best Toddler Buys

A few weeks ago I shared some must have items for baby's first year and the feedback was great. I thought I would continue the trend and pass on some of the best toddler buys that I've discovered so far.
Some of these we purchased within the first year, while some are pretty recent. I'm including what I love about each item, how often we use it and any other tidbits that may be helpful! There are affiliate links in this post. For those who don't know- affiliate links are used at no cost to you, but when you visit them, a small amount is generated to help me run and maintain this blog. I always appreciate your support and shopping through these links if you choose to do so!

SkipHop Snack Cup- We use some of the Munchkin brand too, you can find these a lot of different places. The reason I like this one is because it has a lid that helps keep the snacks contained. I throw this one in the diaper bag when we are out and about or give Bella some snacks in it while on a long drive.

Cabbage Patch Dolls- Bella received her first doll from her cousins for her birthday, and has become quite obsessed. I think dolls are great because it's another "person" for your child to play pretend with. Bella loves carrying them around and gives her babies kisses all the time. The Cabbage Patch Cuties are a great size for littler people, like young toddlers.

Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Musical Mirror- This was a Christmas gift from Bella's grandparents and we keep this in her bedroom, which has less toys in it because of the parts that come with it. I love that it plays music, sings the alphabet and talks with all sorts of cute phrases. It lights up, there's a little comb and bracelet and makeup brush and lipstick that come with it that are more toy-like rather than realistic. It's such a cute small toy that she plays with every day!
Gap Kids Logo Hoodie & Gap Kids Sherpa Lined Hoodie- I've always loved Gap hoodies, because they're classic and comfortable. I bought Bella a gray one with small colored cats on it for Spring and she has a sherpa lined hoodie right now. They are inexpensive (always on sale or a coupon code that exists) and last forever. I've sold some of hers to consignment shops after a season of wear that still look like they are in new condition.

Leap Frog Shapes & Sharing Picnic Basket- Bella's Aunties got her this basket for Christmas and when I posted a few pictures on Facebook after the holidays, SO many people commented that their children love it and some of the "older" kids, ages 4-6 still play with it frequently. It goes great with the next item I'll talk about, but it's great for children as young as 6 months. There's 14 pieces which keeps Bella entertained for a long time, and teaches shapes, words, songs, manners, music and more. It's a great "well-rounded" toy- and by that I mean that it's fun, cute, and instructional which I really love about toys these days.

Fisher Price Food Truck- Talk about hours of entertainment! This was another Christmas gift and I could watch Bella play with this forever. This was the first thing she has received that has kept her occupied for long spans of time- I'm talking an hour at a time. It's so interesting to watch her press buttons, listen to the noises it makes, play with bowls, pretend to sip out of cups. She loves this thing, and we love it because it doesn't take up as much room as a play kitchen would. It's 2 sided, so she can sit behind the food truck and serve things up and get in and out of it easily. You could set it up in a corner, or like we do along the wall. She uses the additional food from her picnic basket I mentioned above and for some additional storage I picked up a little cloth storage bin for a few dollars at Christmas Tree Shops. There's different "levels" for the music and sounds that the truck makes, so as you increase the levels the voice talks in longer sentences rather than phrases. There's a sink, grill, cash register, food prep area, steering wheel, gear shifter and much more! You can see why she plays with this for hours- I can see her enjoying this for several more years to come. This seemed to be a hot ticket item this year and I've seen it sold on many sites if you happen to come across one that's sold out.

SkipHop Lunch Bag- Once Bella was off of formula we began sending more food and snacks with her to the sitter each day. I wanted a cute, yet functional lunch bag and so many I saw looked too grown up (ha-ha). I want my little girl to stay little for now, so we found this cute little bunny lunch bag that holds her snack cup, lunch and snacks each day. We have been using these containers that have 4 compartments and hold her food nicely. All of this together holds her things for the day nicely and isn't too bulky for a little babe!

Personalized Puzzle- This is SUCH a fun, unique gift idea if you're looking for something different for a child. One of our friends gifted Bella a personalized puzzle and she plays with it all the time. It's great for hand eye coordination, has nice big pieces and gets her familiar with letters as we learn. This is going to be a go-to gift to give in the future!

Mega Blocks - I randomly found these when I wasn't looking for them, and although there can be a ton of pieces if you empty the whole bag at once- it's a great developmental toy. I'm a fan of technology, but it is nice for your children to have more "basic" things to use and play with as they grow. I mean, what did our parents play with? Yep, blocks was one thing. Bella has taken more of an interest in these the past few weeks (she's almost 16 months old) and I know these are something we can play with ALL the time as she grows. Every child needs some blocks, and these bigger sized ones are great for ones who are just learning the ropes.

Fisher Price Laptop- So glad I found this little toy, but I ended up giving it to Bella a few weeks before her birthday because when I was opening the package that day with some other items it started making noise and going crazy and she whined until I handed it over. I should have waited until nap time to open the box, but to be fair it came with a bunch of other stuff and I forgot. This is one of the first things I grab for us to take in the car during a longer ride, we took it to North Carolina on the plane (although she only used it in the airport, not on the plane itself) and sometimes in her high chair while I'm prepping dinner or doing something and she needs more entertainment than a snack. All of us in the family have the phrases it says memorized, LOL, but it's a really great interactive toy that I love because it has 2 volume settings ;) The lights, beeps, songs and all that it does really isn't annoying, and it keeps her attention while on those longer rides in the car and while at a restaurant waiting for her meal.

Puma Kids Sneakers- While I love the little Nike's we found for Bella at the Nike outlet, these Puma sneakers with the velcro are much easier for the everyday mornings when I'm getting her dressed and out the door. People always comment how cute they are and she loves doing the velcro herself and playing with them. I found these at Marshall's before she was born for $13 and love checking out these places for good deals. I definitely recommend a velcro sneaker like this for on the go times, like in and out on a weekday morning to daycare or preschool!

Freeze Dried Fruit Crisps- Bella LOVED the Gerber yogurt melts once she had started food and now that she's bigger and eats a lot more I was looking for something with some more substance. These snacks are gluten free, vegan, non-GMO, no dyes and all the things you're looking for in a good snack. The variety is great, easy to chew snack for little ones that are perfect for throwing in the diaper bag, since they are a little pricier for an every-day type thing.

Little Tikes Shopping Cart- Once you have a food cart and picnic basket, what else do you need? Yes, a shopping cart too ;) Initially, this was my solution for storing all of Bella's food from the food truck, but then my anxiety and OCD kicked in before I made a decision on buying it and headed to the store. Bella started walking last week, and while she still looks a little intoxicated doing so-LOL, this has been a great tool and so helpful for her getting it down. She puts a Cabbage Patch Doll in the front and goes to town walking room to room, it's so cute to watch! I love it because it's small, lots of storage room inside which helps keep toys tidy and not to mention, is pretty inexpensive and adorable. Bella is super tall for her age (95% percentile baby!!!!) so if you have a shorter munchkin, I would maybe wait a while before grabbing this one!

Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer Cups & Munchkin Miracle Cup Lids- Last but not least- I see all the hype with these. To be completely honest, and if you can remember seeing my posts when I did monthly updates the first year with Bella....we had a struggle finding a sippy cup that worked. Part of it I think was her development, and the fact that since she was a premature, some things just take her longer to get the hang of. We tried 12 different cups...12! Finally, Vivian gave me the idea to do an open cup, which they had done with her niece. We did this with Bella for about 2 months, in the base of this Munchkin cup. Then, once the holidays were over and we were back to a normal work and daycare routine, we re-introduced the sippy cup and within two days she got the hang of it. She now drinks water like a pro and seriously chugs it sometimes, which is adorable and awesome. I love water and have cups all over the house and at work, and even in my car to help me stay on track with my intake. I hope that she grows up being the same way, and love love LOVE that this cup is pretty much spill-proof. I say pretty much, because there are times our sweet little Angel whips this on the floor when she's about done eating and doesn't want one more bite ;) and then some spills out. Otherwise, they are great and you can buy a 4-pack of lids super cheap which I recently did for when we throw the cup in our diaper bag. I love that there are different sizes and styles (a stainless steel one-great for the hot months), and this trainer has been a lifesaver.
I hope you enjoyed this round-up and that it helps for those of you with little ones who grow TOO fast! I hope to be a resource of what works for us, some great gift options and honest feedback on items we have in our home. Thank you for reading!

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