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Best Gifts for Baby

Cruiser and Walker Present Ideas

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Updated April 30, 2012

Are you marveling at your soon-to-be-one-year old's new found mobility - either as a crawler, cruiser, or walker? Are you wondering what the best gifts for baby are now that she's able to move around independently? Changes in the physical developmental of a 9 to 12 month old certainly affect how she moves about and sees her world. With that also comes a change what makes developmentally appropriate toys.

1. Push Toys Encourage Walking

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You just can't go wrong with the classic push toy for cruisers and walkers. There are several things you want to look at before settling on one for your soon-to-be-toddling baby to drive around. In addition to quality construction look for a toy that is at a comfortable height, has a grasping bar that fits nicely into little hands, and it helps the baby maintain her balance.

One push toy worth considering is the Chomp and Clack by well-known manufacturer's Melissa and Doug. The detailing of the painted fish and alligators makes this wooden toy simply adorable. Your baby will also develop a sense of cause and effect as she pushes the toy along, causing the alligators to chomp their mouths open and closed.

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2. Gifts for Baby That Build Imagination

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At this stage of the game, presenting your cherub with toys that encourage imitative play is essential for the development of her imagination. Dr. Lawrence J. Cohen described the importance of this precursor to imaginative play in his book Playful Parenting, "Imitation teaches them their place in the world – they learn what their minds and bodies can do." (Ballantine Books, 2001).

Consider buying your near one-year old toys that stimulate this kind of imitative play. Something like International Playthings Lil' Shopper Play Set is a great example. It gets your baby interacting with her world and will take her play skills to a whole new level.

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3. Building Toys Develop Fine Motor Skills

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One of my favorite sounds is the music made from the jingling of wooden blocks being dumped out accompanied by the delighted giggles of my baby. There is something magical about simple building blocks. They delight, educate, and occupy pre-toddlers. They are great for exercising fine motor skills and developing problem-solving skills in the youngest of children.

All sorts of building blocks are out there - some snap together, some designed of plastic, some make music. It won't be hard to locate a great set of building blocks. However, one of my favorites sets is the Haba Sticki-Bausteine. Made of durable maple wood and colored with bright non-toxic paint, these blocks are the perfect fit for little hands. Easy to handle, easy to clean.

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4. "Big People" Gifts for Baby

Vilac

Let me guess- you've seen your baby play with a non-functioning TV remote for what seemed like hours. Your baby now seems to like to imitate your every-day habits. She waves good-bye as she has seen you do, she likes to eat like you, perhaps you've felt like you've had your very own "Mini Me." Now is the time to capitalize on her growing interest to be like you. Toys that give her the opportunity to be a little grown-up will more than likely fascinate her.

A great example of a toy that allows babies to mirror your actions is the Vilac Baby Toy Telephone. I love that this phone has no batteries to swap out, no annoying bright lights. However, a shake of the hand will activate the ringy-dingy instead.

5. Gifts That Simply Get Baby Playing

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Finally, gifts for baby that engage her curiosity and get her playing and interacting with you is a great choice. At this age, in some ways you'll need to first teach her how to with the present. These baby steps of play will go far to encourage language development, problem solving, and social skills

A constant favorite of both my children was the Fisher-Price Little People Animal Sounds Farm. I can't tell you the hours they both spent mimicking the animal noises, making the little animals scootch along the floor in their chubby hands. And the bonus - it's remained a favorite even into toddlerhood. It's a classic favorite that is sure to rivet your baby's attention.

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6. Gifts that Get Baby Outdoors

At this age your baby can really enjoy the outdoors. It is the perfect time for outdoor push toys, baby playground items, and tricycles. Reviewed at the link is my top pick for a baby through toddler tricycle.

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