Friday, February 13, 2015

Toddler Must-Haves

Now that Taylor is officially a toddler, I thought I would follow up on this post and share some tot-friendly products that we use on a daily basis. These are all products that have either been given to us, recommended by other parents, or things we've stumbled upon randomly that make our day-to-day life a little easier.

Feeding
NUK Gerber Graduates Sippy Cups - We had spent too much time and money on different types and brands of sippy cups until a former stay-at-home-dad friend of mine recommended these to us. We have yet to have a single spill with one of these! The secret is the little white piece that connects to the lid. This bad boy stops the liquid from seeping out of the spout even after your toddler has slammed the cup onto the floor for the 15th time that day. We tried nearly every cup at Target to no avail before finally falling in love with these. No drips, no spills. Toddler tested and approved. And the best part? You get 2 for like $8. Cha-ching!


Straw Cups - Taylor learned to drink out of a straw around 6 months when she randomly grabbed my tumbler and went to town on my smoothie. Since then, she has insisted on drinking out of my cups whenever she sees them. In order to decrease my tot saliva intake, we decided to purchase some toddler straw cups in hopes that she would leave mine alone. We have tried a lot of different types and brands, but I like these Munchkin cups the best. The straw folds away completely so you don't have to worry about it getting dirty or spilling in the diaper bag. This is my go-to cup when I know we'll be going out to eat or traveling in the car. Taylor gets to be just like momma and I don't have to drink her backwash - everybody wins!

Snack Cups - Unless you want Cheerios in every crevice of your house, buy these containers. If we give Taylor snacks in anything but one of these, she makes a huge mess as she has no concept of spilling or the fact that the dog doesn't need to eat a handful of Teddy Grahams each day. They're made of plastic, dishwasher safe, and the top lid is pliable so it's easy for little fingers to reach in and out. These are the only containers we use in the car because the lid keeps those sneaky goldfish from falling out and then being stepped on by little toddler feet. I highly recommend these cups, unless vacuuming up snack crumbs is your cardio, in which case - knock yourself out!


Silicone Bibs - My sister gave us these after the twins no longer had a need for them. Not only had they survived one baby, but they had survived two and still were in excellent condition. I'm certain that it's impossible to ruin one of these things. While they are a bit pricey, they are definitely worth the cost. They are so much easier to clean than cotton bibs and the built-in crumb catcher is great for snagging all of your toddler's falling debris. I'm not sure how but the tot only gets about 60% of the food she eats into her mouth while the other 40% always ends up on the floor (or in Charlie's stomach). This handy invention is sure to save you time and energy on post-meal clean up. And the necklace design will ensure your little diva is fashionable even if she has Alfredo sauce mashed in hair.


Toys
Sound books - As much as toddlers like texture books, they love books that make sound even more. Tay received this touch and feel animal sound book for her first birthday, and it continues to be one of her absolute favorites! She will press the buttons over and over, squealing with delight every time. I think she enjoys it so much because she is able to do it herself (her desire for independence has become too high these days) and, of course, because she is obsessed with cows.


Wheely Pig - This toy was introduced to us when my friend purchased a wheely ladybug for a friend of our's little girl a few years back. That gift was the hit of the party (and by far her favorite gift), so I couldn't wait to purchase the pig and mouse for my twin nieces last Christmas. Again, they were a huge hit and continue to be even at the age of 3. Tay received a pig for her first birthday last fall and has loved it ever since. We originally received the small but decided to send it back for a large so that Tay would have room as she grows (the kid is all legs). This thing goes on carpet, hardwood, and tile surfaces and even though it has been rammed into every piece of furniture we own, it doesn't have a single scratch on it. I am so completely impressed with this line of products and love how adorable each animal is in its own way. These are an all around win in our book!


Shape Sorting Turtle - If you're like me, you probably remember playing with one of these when you were a kid. This is one of those classic toys that has been around forever because kids love them. They just do. Case in point, it has been a favorite of Tay's since she was about 9 months old. She loves figuring out where the shapes go and gets so excited when she puts the piece into the correct hole. Really, you can't go wrong with any of these types of toys. They're inexpensive, easy to clean, great for developing hand/eye coordination, and provide a fun way to learn shapes. Plus, it's something that Taylor keeps coming back to as she ages. What's not to love?


Wagon - So long stroller, this family has upgraded to the wagon world. I mean, why spend your days strapped into a stroller when you can experience the freedom that comes with riding in a wagon? Ever since the tot rode in the twins' wagon for the first time last summer, she has been hooked. Like, climbs in as soon as she sees it and throws the biggest fit ever when we make her get out. So we were infinitely relieved when Tay received this Step 2 wagon for Christmas. I was going to buy her a Radio Flyer for her birthday but talked myself out of it because I thought she was too young at the time. Wrong! And although we've only been able to use the wagon a few times so far due to the cold, we have determined that it will get plenty of use in the coming months. This thing comes with all sorts of add-on's: a removable canopy (which will be a must-have come summer), bins for extra storage, cup and snack holders, and multiple seating options. I can't wait until it warms up so we can really break this thing in!


Mini Family Album - If you're like us and have family spread all across the map, this is an excellent gift for any occasion! After stumbling upon this website just before Taylor's first Christmas, I fell in love with the idea of her having her very own mini family album so that she would be able to learn everyone's names and faces even though we only see some of them once or twice a year. The mini book is the perfect size for little hands and the wire binding and thick pages make it durable yet easy to use. The website was super easy to use and the cost is right on point. Now that the tot is a bit older, she absolutely loves this thing and makes sure to flip through it at least once a day. This little book is a huge help in keeping those family members who live far away a constant presence in her life. Plus, it's a book, so you know she loves it.

Bath Time
Crayola Color Drops / Glow Sticks / Bath Crayons - All three of these items make bath time infinitely more fun. Who doesn't want to sit in green water while drawing a cat on the side of the tub? Uhhhh not us. And definitely not since Taylor has moved into the "I hate having my hair washed, rinsed, or touched" phase of her life. I am all for anything that will make bath time easier, especially since it's something we have to go through on a nightly basis. At around $5 each, these make great stocking stuffers or last minute gifts for any toddler. And as soon as she outgrows the "I need to put everything in my mouth" phase, she has a couple bottles of this awesome bath foam waiting for her as well. I may or may not have used a little myself in the interim. Mom's gotta have fun, too!


Stacking Boats - We randomly received these in one of our monthly Citrus Lane boxes and Tay loves them. Aside from her empty Minnie Mouse bubble bath container, these are her favorite bath toy. They're colorful, easy to clean, and durable enough to withstand her ramming them into the side of the tub repeatedly. One of her favorite songs just happens to be "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," which only makes her love these boats more. The tot singing "row, row, row" in the tub with a bubble beard might be the cutest thing ever.

Clothing/Accessories
Now that the tot is fully mobile, we have moved into a completely new range of clothing options. Gone are the days of buttoning onesies after every diaper change! Thank. The. Lord. It is so nice to be able to throw a shirt and pants on the child and let her run free. She's also capable of wearing dresses now (a crawling baby + dress = a frustration nightmare) which means seeing her skinny little legs run around in the cutest tights and leggings. Last year, it was nearly impossible to cram her chubby legs into skinny jeans, but she is rocking them this year like it's nobody's business. I absolutely love it! And now that Tay is wearing a size 5, our shoe options have expanded exponentially. Not gonna lie, the child has a better selection of footwear than I do (and at a fraction of the price). As much as I am loving this age because of her personality and her abilities, I love dressing her even more. And while she loves rocking hats and sunglasses, she won't wear a bow in her hair to save her life. Regardless, shopping for toddler duds is so much more fun than buying sleepers and onesies.


That completes the line up for now! Are there any toddler must-haves that your family simply can't live without? If so, I'd love to hear about them - and possibly add them to our collection, too!