Nasiba Adilova’s favorite toys
Our co-founder – and her kids! – love well-made, educational and fun toys. These are a few of her absolute favorites
Let’s get one thing straight: I’m not one of those moms who buys a million toys for her kids. I don’t like waste (either wasting money, or resources) and I don’t think that kids need a million toys (trust me: I’ve been to homes where kids do have a million toys, and they only ever play with a select few). But they do need toys and games, and not just to keep them occupied while you rush about the house washing dishes, making beds and ensuring everyone is fed and watered. Nope – toys and games are about more than just keeping little minds and hands busy; I see them as a chance for my kids to learn something new every day. That’s why I tend towards toys that are functional, educational and fun. I want my kids to know that playing leads to learning, and vice versa. Think about how you learned when you were a kid – through playing dress-ups, board games, stacking blocks, snapping Lego pieces together, I bet.
It’s also important to me that the toys my little ones play with are safe. This is more than just ensuring that they’re age-appropriate (and therefore don’t contain pieces that might get swallowed, for instance). It’s also about making sure they’re made from non-toxic materials that are kind to my kids (who, let’s face it, will definitely stick them in their mouths at some point) and to the earth. With all this in mind, here are a few of my favorite toys – fully tested and recommended by my family!
Loulou Lollipop Trinity Teether Toy: The bubble style silicone and wood teething rattle is not only visually appealing but super functional as well. It offers two different textures of teething material for my baby to chew. The double beech wooden rings rattle when shaken which he loves.
Estella Avocado Rattle: I’ve written about my love of Estella toys before (they make great baby shower gifts), and nothing has changed – I still adore them! This soft rattle is handmade in Peru from organic wool. Not only is it fantastic for little hands that are just beginning to explore the world, it looks super-cute in any nursery.
Baghera Speedster Plane: Before your little one is ready for a balance bike or trike, let them scoot around on three wheels and they’ll feel like they’re soaring! Fun and completely adorable, right?
Hape Sushi Selection: Perfect for little fingers and strengthening fine motor skills, Hape’s Sushi Selection Set enables role play and will help expand your tot’s vocabulary.
Tender Leaf Toys Color Me Happy Snake Toy: I love this toy because it is fun and educational. Great for teaching colors and shapes, it’s made with water-based inks and is free of toxic chemicals like formaldehyde.
OMY Coloring Belly Bag: OK, how cool is this: a belly bag you can color in! Affordable, functional and really, really fun, I always have one of these in my house for a last-minute birthday gift. Kids of all ages will love this, believe me.
OMY Ultra Washable Felt Pens: Perfect to go with the backpack above, these felt tip pens are colorful and bright but (importantly!) the color can be easily removed from skin and clothing (and, you know, the couch).
Petit Collage Wooden Ferris Wheel: What kid doesn’t love a ferris wheel? Designed to encourage hand-eye coordination and numeracy skills, it’s a toy that will allow your tot’s imagination to get involved too!
Wooden Story Shape Sorter: It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, kids love shape sorting. Made of FSC certified wood, this set is fun, functional and easy to store.
Hape Happy Grand Piano: Not every kid is going to grow up to be a concert pianist – but they should all get the chance, right? I love this scaled-down, toy version of a grand piano so much. It encourages musicality, is really fun and intuitive to use, and it looks great.
Bajo Totem Stacking Blocks: This genius toy teaches kids about the traditions of totem poles, while enabling them to have fun and work on their hand-eye coordination. I also love it because it doubles as decor!
Jupiduu Slide: How cool is this toy! It’s made from molded wood and can be used for sliding, climbing, sitting, chilling and balancing!
Hape All-in-one Kitchen: Encourage your junior Masterchef with this ultra-cool model kitchen! Kids learn so much through imaginary play like this, so let them run wild with “dinner.”