I thought it might be fun to do a post on Nico's current favorite things. Before I had a kid, I always wondered what to buy for friends' kids for their birthdays, so perhaps Nico can provide a few ideas. Or, you know, if somebody wants to send him fan mail. Whatever. I might make this a regular feature, depending on what he's into in a few months.
At fifteen months old, these are some of Nico's favorite things:
1. Stomp, Dinosaur, Stomp! by Margaret Mayo and Alex Ayliffe
I have read many books to Nico, some good and some not-so-good. Every now and then one becomes a favorite. We checked this one out from the library on the recommendation of a friend who works there. Initially I wasn't sure about it since it's not a rhyming book, but it turned out to flow really well. I've been a lifelong dinosaur fan but I try to let Nico pick his own favorites. He really likes this book, though, whether it's because of the way it sounds when read aloud or the fantastic bright illustrations. He has actually pushed other books out of the way to get to this one. We kept it through our maximum allowable renewals from the library and then I ordered him a copy of his own. It's been our go-to bedtime story for several months now and he still seems to love it.
2. Melissa and Doug wooden animal magnets
Since Nico started crawling my mom has kept a few magnets at the bottom of the fridge door for him to play with when he's at her house during the day. Last week she bought him this set of neat animal magnets. They're recommended for kids ages 2 and up, but since the entire back is a flat magnet (rather than a small magnet that could come loose) I don't worry about him playing with them. Most of Nico's words are animal names or animal sounds so these are just about perfect. (Mom said she thought about getting him the dinosaur set, but she decided against it since dinosaurs pretty much all make the same noise. Valid point!) I love that he gets to practice his words and learn new ones while playing, and these things are super cute.
3. Priddy books
Nico has been a fan of board books since he was tiny and has always had a preference for books with actual photos as illustrations. When he got this one for Christmas we were introduced to Priddy books. I love the style and the photos and Nico seems to like them, too. We've added a few others to his collection since Christmas and he favors this set of four. He can name almost everything in the first words book and about half of the pictures in the animal book!
4. Scout the Leap Frog dog
Nico has more talking toys than I like to admit, but Scout is by far his favorite. Scout can be plugged into the computer and then programmed to say your child's name and list his favorite color, animal, food, etc. Each of his paws produces a different set of songs or phrases, and you can change them any time you want. Scout has become the secret weapon of naptime, when we select the "ten minutes of bedtime music" option. If Nico is playing in his room and sees Scout in the crib, he'll point and say "Dog!" (which sounds kind of like "doog"...it's ridiculously cute) until Scout is liberated. I don't know that I would've picked this one out on my own, so I'm really glad my sister picked it for him. There's also a girl version (Violet) if you'd prefer. I do wish Scout had a zipper in the back instead of Velcro, or a little more slack so the Velcro didn't tug, because Nico has discovered how to open the Velcro strip down his back. It's a small complaint, though, since Velcro compartment closures are the standard on this kind of toy. Overall, I like Scout almost as much as Nico does.
5. Tonka Wheel Pals vehicles
I haven't been able to find these online, but our Target sells them for about five bucks each. Noah received the taxi for Christmas and the tow truck and fire truck for his birthday. For a while he played with them every now and then, but in the last month or so they've become favorites. He's definitely a truck kid, having mastered an effective vroom vroom engine noise by nine months and noticing and pointing out every pickup truck that drives past. These little dudes are pretty great. They are just the right size - small enough for his little hands but big enough that I don't have to worry about him chewing off pieces to choke on. When we go on playdates I can fit them into his diaper bag and take them along. He chews on everything, so the slightly squeezable rubber bodies are fantastic (and they don't make a ton of noise when he tosses them off the furniture). He likes to drive them, line them up on the couch, roll them across the floor, carry them around. The only problem is that I want to go out and buy him the whole fleet.
And there you have it...Nico's top five picks (for now, anyway)...I can't wait to see what he loves in a week or a month. I suspect some favorites will stick around for a while.
DISCLOSURE: We either purchased the products mentioned or received them as gifts from family and friends. I received no compensation for writing this post. The words and opinions in this review are my own.