Emme’s Favorite Toys – 12 Months

Emme is finally to the age where she’s developed strong preferences towards toys. Admittedly, she has a lot of toys but we try to be selective about what items we bring into our house. We love having wooden toys when possible. Not only are they more durable but they’re also more aesthetically pleasing. We prefer real depictions of people, animals, and objects over cartoon versions, though we love Disney and Sesame Street. And we try to avoid any toys with batteries, mostly for our own sanity. (A well-meaning friend handed down some Vtech toys to us which I quickly handed down to someone else.)

Here are some of Emme’s favorite toys. I think it will be interesting to look back at this list when she is a little bit older to see what she’s continued to enjoy and what she grew out of.

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  • Plan Toy Wood Drum – This drum makes surprisingly melodic tones and Emme likes to pound on it with the mallet, her hands, or other toys, each making different sounds.
  • Hape Pound & Tap Bench with Xylophone – My dad thought I was crazy for putting this on Emme’s Christmas wish list (and he bought it thinking the sounds would annoy us) but Emme really enjoys playing with this toy. The xylophone is her favorite part of course.
  • Egg Shakers – This is Emme’s most favorite toy. She loves carrying the eggs around. The wooden shakers make a softer sound than plastic versions plus they’re much prettier to look at.
  • Object Permanence Box – I made Emme an object permanence box using a box from the dollar store but it didn’t hold up. So, we bought the wooden version which has been much more fun to play with. The ball that comes with this item is very chintzy but the balls from her tap bench fit perfectly so we use those instead.

  • Books – I often find Emme “reading” to herself. She loves looking at the pictures in the Priddy Baby books and feeling the different textures in the Baby Touch & Feel books. Dear Zoo is one of our favorite books to read together. She lifts the flaps to discover the different animals as I read her the words.
  • Plastic eggs in a carton – Easter is the best season for DIY toys because everything is egg shaped, which is perfect for little hands. This DIY toy is just plastic eggs in a cardboard egg carton but has provided hours of entertainment and will serve as a great color matching game when Emme is older.
  • Stacking Cups – Emme is learning how to put the cups together… but she really just likes for me to stack them all up so she can knock them over.
  • Play Balls – I keep a bin full of play balls in Emme’s room. She likes to dump the balls out and pick them up. She also likes to put the one of the balls into the biggest cup from her stacking cups set.

  • Activity Cube – This was a Christmas gift from Adam’s parents which we’ve really enjoyed. Each side has a different activity with the removable bead maze on top. Since Emme is starting to move, she’s also using the cube to pull up. The particular cube we have came from Toys R Us (RIP!) but there are many comparable options available on Amazon like this 6-in-1 cube and this smaller cube.
  • Melissa & Doug Chunky Wooden Puzzles – Admittedly, Emme does not know how to put these puzzles together yet but she likes playing with the pieces and I like that the pieces are shapes that she can incorporate into many different types of play.
  • Galt Wooden Pop Up – Another wooden toy that is as fun as it is beautiful. This toy helps with hand/eye coordination and color matching. Plus, it’s fun to watch the pegs pop out!
  • Coin Box – I made this toy using a box and checkers from the dollar store. (Though I would love to upgrade her to this wooden version.) She’s has gotten really good at putting the coins into the slot. A tiny magnet on the box keeps the top down until she’s ready to dump out the coins.

As we get into the Summer season, I’m sure we’ll be adding a lot of outdoor toys to this list. I also can’t wait until she shows more interest in her Grimm’s Rainbow Stacker… but let’s be honest – that’s more of a toy for me.

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