Best for Experimenting: Water Play Table, $129, Early Learning Centre
Kids who want to find out more about the world around them will love playing with this interactive play table. Using the three fun accessories, they can scoop, pour and watch things float around the water spiral.
Best for Observation: Sponky: The Lizard Hunter by Carrie Edwards-Britt, $14, The Amazing Baby Company
The latest edition to the
Sponky series is a book that puts little detectives to the test. Readers need to lift up flaps to discover more over the course of the story, and look out for a lizard on every page—the perfect way to boost observation skills.
Best for Walking Skills: Explore & More Rolling Owl Push Toy, $49.90, Skip Hop at Bloom & Grow
This push toy will encourage your little one to keep moving. As soon as your tot starts to push this owl, its wings flap and the beads in its tummy create a tinkling sound.
Best for Creativity: Oekaki Drawing House, $95, Kiko+ at Cuckoo
Mini artists will enjoy creating new works with this “magic” board from Kiko+. Using the circle-, square- and triangle-shaped magnets or pen, they can stamp or draw on the four-coloured screen, then swipe them away with the wooden eraser.
Best for Swimming: Swimtrainer, $39.90, Freds Swim Academy at Sophie & Friends
Before they even take their first steps, babies are able to bend and stretch their legs rhythmically. This horseshoe-shaped float supports them
at all times, keeping them in
a tummy-lying position in
the water so that they can float independently.
Best for Speech: Grunting Pig Hand Puppet, $55.90, Folkmanis at The Better Toy Store
Squeeze this super-soft piggy’s belly and it’ll erupt into a realistic grunt. Your little tot
will have oodles of fun holding mini puppet shows for the family and telling them all about the fun piggy facts they’ve learnt on the attached card.
Best for Reading Ability: Is This My Home? by Kirsten Irving and Penelope Atrill, $24.90; Toothy Shark, $47.90, Jellycat at major baby stores
This illustrated tome telling the tale of Toothy Shark trying to find his home shows children how they can keep their chin up despite adversity. Use the matching toy to bring the story to life.
Best for Imagination/Pretend Play: Happyland Funfair, $139, Early Learning Centre
Take the carnival to your kid with this colourful set that features a musical carousel, pirate swing and spinning rockets. With seven different carnival characters, they can interact and create countless stories for a fun-filled afternoon.
Best for Writing: Play and Learn ABC Alphabet Set, $49.90, School-Rite at Playhao
This box features 13 templates that children can use to help practise writing the letters of the alphabet. Each template features just two large letters so that they can focus on the task of accurately forming the contours of each letter and developing standard stroke patterns.
Best for Gross Motor Skills: 3-in-1 Foldable Tricycle, $198, iimo at Pupsik Studio
This three-in-one trike evolves with your kid. It switches from a tricycle with a handle that mum or dad can steer, to a walker and then a freewheeling bike when
your child doesn’t need help any more.
Best for Fine Motor Skills: Wooden Activity Workbench, $169, Early Learning Centre
One workbench, many hours of fun. Not only will your tot enjoy using the chunky tools to tighten screws and turn cogs, but thanks to the fact that it’s on wheels, your busy handyman can roll it from job to job.
Best for Social Skills: Little Cooperation, $32.90, Djeco at The Better Toy Store
The aim of this game is to make sure that all the animals make it home safely via the ice bridge to their igloo. Players need to work together by taking turns to throw the dice, encouraging kids to win—or lose—as a team.