We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Some may have been sent as samples, but all opinions and reviews are our own. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.
1. A bestselling Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Musical Toy with catchy, classical melodies (by Mozart, Vivaldi, and other masters) and twinkling lights that any parent will tell you is their secret weapon to immediately calm down a fussy baby.
Promising review: "I LOVE this thing! I bought it before my daughter was born because of high reviews. It's a reasonably priced toy and my daughter has been using it since birth. Whenever she's having a meltdown I break it out of the diaper bag and she's all better. :) I actually memorized the songs and order and they're pretty catchy. Not annoying and overbearing like other toys. I don't know what I would do without it!." —uhhdorkable
Promising review: "The best baby distractor EVER! Every person with a child must have this toy! I had about five tucked in various places in case one got lost. My son loved them from basically birth and sometimes it would distract him for hours of non-crying! (heaven for a new mother) Of course in the beginning you have to keep pushing the button for them but compared to swinging him in his car seat that was easy! Then we he got older he would spend entire car ides just playing with this one toy. I give it to everyone I know who has a baby." —NH-Mommy
Get it from Amazon for $9.99.
2. A pack of brightly colored stacking cups guaranteed to become any baby's fave open-ended toy. Just trust the 60,000+ 5-star (!!!) reviews and the many, many reviewers who have said "this is the best $4 I've spent on a toy."
Bonus: These have holes in the bottom for water play and come with a cute star ring to keep them together.
Promising review: "The best $4 I have ever spent! Such a simple and inexpensive toy that has entertained my 10 month old so much and has been his most used toy so far. He has been playing with these since about 5/6 months old and he just comes up with new ways to enjoy them which has been so much fun to watch him discover. He started by just grabbing them and tasting them. Now he puts them inside of each other, looks for other toys to fit inside them, and pretending to drink out of them. I know this is a long review for a $4 item, but I really want to express how great such a simple toy can be. I will be buying this as an add on for every baby gift/shower that I need!" —GW
Get a pack of eight from Amazon for $4.99.
3. And a pack of spill-proof Munchkin snack catchers that'll allow easy access for little hands but prevent Cheerios from flying everywhere. No more handing your toddler snacks *one piece at a time* or constantly clean their trail of snacks.
Promising review: "What a lifesaver! I mean really! My daughter loves her snacks, she also loves to make a mess, give them to the dog, or fill her car seat up with them. Then cry when she has nothing to eat. My wife picked one up at Target and man... we used it so much, we couldn't clean it fast enough. SOOOO we bought a few more. and for less than $5 for two.... this is a no-brainer!" —jeffgrantMEDIA
Get a pack of two from Amazon for $5.95 (available in two color combos).
4. A clever sight word Bingo game; if you've ever asked yourself, "How do I take the frustration out of learning sight words and make it FUN?" then this game is for you.
The set comes with 36 playing cards, 264 playing chips, caller's mat and cards, and a storage box. This version is a fun twist on the classic, but instead of calling out numbers, the leader calls out words (there are 46 most-used words), players search their cards for a match and place a red chip on the match. Once a player has covered the spaces on their card needed to win, they call BINGO!
Promising review: "Our first-grader was feeling really discouraged with her sight words and I've been trying to think of ways to encourage her and get her excited to learn things she doesn't already know. She loved this game! We played with the whole family and her 3-year-old sister even enjoyed playing (we show her the cards and have her find the word that matches on her Bingo card). I think this is a great way to make learning/practicing sight words fun! I am very happy with this purchase and I can see how it would be great for teachers in the classroom as well!!" —Jennie
Get it from Amazon for $8.89.
5. And a pack of bright laminated flash cards to help toddlers and preschoolers aka little Einsteins soak up their ABCs, 123s, shapes, and colors. They're like knowledge sponges at this age, so why not start them early?
Promising review: "My 2-year-old mastered the her numbers, alphabet, colors, shapes, and identifies all animals and objects on the cards. When I first received the cards I thought they may be a little too advanced for her age (18mo old at the time), but I was dead wrong! After about a month and a half of using the flash cards she mastered them! We usually 'play' with the flash cards for only about 10 minutes before her bedtime. This is a great tool in the early developmental stages for any toddler. I’m excited to get her the next card set. Material = durable, same as a normal deck of cards. Size = a little bigger than your typical deck of cards. Fits nicely in pocket or purse, great for keeping toddlers busy while traveling. Overall = A+." —M. Abdallah
Get a pack of 58 cards from Amazon for $12.99 (also available for babies).
6. A leave-in conditioning spray for curly hair so you can restore your little one's curls to their former glory once more! It's also free from any toxic stuff including parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.
Reviewers say this spray will leave wavy or curly hair (from 2a–4c hair) shiny, soft, and bouncy.
Promising review: "This stuff is fantastic for curly girls! I spray it in my daughter's dry hair in the morning, run my fingers through her ringlets (never ever comb or brush curly hair dry), then clip the top back. It smells amazing, and the price on Amazon is better than other national retailers I've found it at. The price is worth it. Minimizes frizz and keeps curls soft and natural looking. My daughter has soft/fine thick hair." —Carolyn Smith
Get it from Amazon for $9.20.
7. And a detangling brush that'll glide through knots to turn your kiddo's daily hair-brushing ordeal into a painless experience minus the *ouchies or tears* (for both of you). Just trust the 30,000+ people who gave it a 5-star review.
Reviewers swear this brush works on all hair types: straight, wavy, or curly (from 3a–4c hair).
Promising review: "I'm a single dad of a 6-year-old girl and combing her hair is the hardest part of taking care of her. She gets really bad knots in her hair. This brush is the only thing that has ever worked. Thank you so much. She even likes to comb her own hair now." —Nguyen P.
Promising review: "I was shocked at how much easier it was to detangle my 3-year-old daughter’s mixed super-curly hair with this brush and she didn’t cry. It’s a huge win for us!" —Leanna
Get it from Amazon for $8.97 (available in six colors).
8. A pair of cult status Native slip-on shoes, basically the ultimate ~wear-everywhere~ shoe. The only downside is when winter comes, you'll find yourself trying to convince your kiddo that "wearing them with socks *isn't* a better alternative to boots."
Promising review: "I love Natives and pretty much every mom I know says the same thing. We get compliments on how cute they are almost every time my daughter wears them. I would say they run about a half size big or so. They also wash wonderfully! They were covered in mud the other day and I soaked them in hot soapy water and they looked perfect an hour later!" —leslies
Promising review: "I’ll buy these in every size for my kid. These shoes are the best solution for when weather calls for sandals, and the kiddo needs the support of a tennis shoe. My son can run and climb all over in these, just as he would in in tennis shoes, with the breathability and ease of cleaning that you would expect from sandals. He can get them covered in mud, and we can just wash them off with a hose or in the sink, no need to throw in the washing machine. These are an absolute necessity for summers with an energetic kiddo who loves to play in the dirt." —Shauna
Get them from Amazon for $23.63+ (available in 34 colors and in sizes 4–10 toddler 1–3, 11–13 little kid).
9. A space-saving Graco Slim Snacker high chair that's a total ~godsend~ for small spaces because you can LITERALLY fold it up one-handed and tuck away when not in use in 30 seconds flat (*while* holding your baby or phone).
Promising review: "Amazing highchair! Seriously, can’t say enough nice things. I love how easy it is to clean, to fold, to use. The storage bin underneath has been incredible! It’s very sturdy, lightweight, and not top heavy at all! And it works at our counter height table! The recline option is great too-so easy to adjust even when my son is in it. I looked at a lot of high chairs before getting this one and SO glad I did. This may be my favorite baby purchase to date as far as simplifying and improving my role as Mom." —Sarah C.
Get it from Amazon for $79.97+ (available in two colors).
10. And a set of handy starter spoons ingeniously designed to encourage your babe to self feed. These have crevices that purees and mashed foods stick to easily, letting little ones dip and explore exciting new flavors all on their own.
The set includes a stage one spoon and stage two spoon. The first stage spoon doubles as a teether, and is designed to introduce babies to holding utensils and exploring purees, as they soothe their sore gums. The second stage spoon is capable of holding more food and can even be loaded with solids for the child to grab and eat.
Note: The spoons don't have a stopper, so please supervise your babies to make sure they don't stick the spoon too far back in their mouth. Recommended for ages 6 months+.
Promising review: "Great skill-building utensil. My baby loves gnawing on these for teething just as much as he loves eating with them! I love that you can load the spoon and hand it to baby to feed themselves. My little one just turned 6 months and uses these spoons with wild success. A must-have for BLW or feeding, in general." —Christopher
Get a set from Amazon for $13.99+ (available in three colors and packs of two, four, or six spoons).
11. A National Geographic geodes kit because it'll blow any junior geologist's mind and give them an excuse to smash rocks with a hammer.
This science kit includes four natural crystal-filled geodes, one pair of safety goggles, one display stand, and one learning guide.
Promising review: "My daughter is 10 and this kept her busy for HOURS! She had so much fun and was excited every time she got a glimpse of what might be inside. A couple of them were pretty cool, while the rest were just white. She didn't care, she loves them all. She was so proud to gift them to her grandparents." —Michelle
Get it from Amazon for $29.99+ (available in three sizes).
12. A set of kid-safe plastic knives for parents who want to enlist their mini sous chef's help with dinner prep. While these do a pretty decent job of chopping, they're not sharp enough to slice a finger.
Note: Children still need supervision while using them, of course.
Promising review: "I’ve only had these for a couple of days, but already my 4-year-old daughter keeps asking me for things to chop up. They’re perfect for the little chef in your life or the kid who want to be a big helper. So far she’s easily (and safely) chopped up: lettuce, apples, bananas, strawberries, potatoes, even carrots! I can run my hand along the blade and not cut myself and yet it’s designed in a way that you can still chop through veggies and fruits. Another pro is they are super easy to clean and dishwasher-safe. They came exactly as pictures for me: in three different sizes and colors, with a slight grip texture on the handle for little hands. They’re nice and lightweight as well so it’s not cumbersome for younger kids. Love them!" —Abby Roeller
Get a set of three from Amazon for $9.95 (available in two color combos).
13. A Whiskware pancake batter mixer with a BlenderBall wire whisk that'll let you whip up a batch of pancakes at lightning speed on hectic mornings — no separate mixing bowl, messy spoons, or batter-coated countertops. Simply add your ingredients, shake, and pour from the spout. Breakfast's ready 😋!
(You can even store leftover batter in the bottle and pop it in the fridge for a time-saving weekday breakfast!)
Promising review: "This is the best breakfast invention after the waffle maker. LOVE IT! As someone who makes pancakes or waffles three to four times a week (my kids are pretty spoiled, but breakfast is key to getting through the first part of the school day), this is the easiest and fastest way to get that done. I just add everything to the bottle, shake, and pour into the waffle maker or griddle. When I am done, just add some water, shake again, empty, and then place everything in the dishwasher." —Amazon Customer
Get it from Amazon for $15.50.
14. A pack of Crayola Globbles so your mini whirlwinds can run around the house hurling these sticky globs at the wall or ceiling. Don't panic, parents, reviewers say they don't leave a sticky residue.
Promising review: "Amazing toys! My 1- and 2-year-old LOVE them! They scream 'sticky balls!' and run around throwing them on the fridge, windows, cabinets, walls, etc. Easy to wash and air-dry, and don't lose their stickiness! My new go-to gift! Love them!" —Rachel
Get a pack of six from Amazon for $9.99.
15. And a value pack of reusable 500+ puffy stickers that'll keep your perpetually bored toddler engaged for hours (which is nothing short of a miracle, TBH). Plus, they're easy for little ones to peel, stick...and restick all by themselves.
The stickers feature letters, numbers, vehicles, butterflies, deep-sea life, animals, fish, dinosaurs, and more.
Promising review: "I love that they are removable. They don’t leave marks on your window. You can even place them back on the plastic sheet and use them again. I have a busy box for my toddler and these stickers are in there. She peels them off and puts them on the lid of the box and then peels them off again and puts them back. She creates scenes with them. She puts them on windows at home. I peel them off and put them back. They really are fantastic stickers." —Elizabeth A. Zapf
Get a pack of 500+ stickers from Amazon for $7.99.
16. A two-pack of super soft and stretchy sheets designed to fit most pack-n-play mattresses like a glove, eliminating any bunching. You'll be jealous they don't make these for adult beds, tbh.
Promising review: "Do they make these in adult sizes? These are the softest sheets I've ever felt in my life. They are SO soft, perfect for cold or warm nights. I've purchased two packs now and they are the only sheets that fit our Graco pack n play PERFECTLY. They also sell these for cribs and bassinets, which I will likely purchase!" —Kate
Get a pack of two from Amazon for $13.99+ (available in nine print combos).
17. A Melissa & Doug magnetic calendar that'll teach your preschooler the days of the week, months and the weather in a hands-on, interactive way. They'll jump out of bed eagerly to update it every morning.
Promising review: "My 4-year-old loves loves loves this! He gets excited to change the magnets every morning. I had some magnet strips and made additional magnets for activities (preschool, zoo, library, Grandma's house). I am really happy I bought this, and it has helped teach him months, and days of the week. Determining the weather is fun too. One day we came home after school and he couldn't wait to change the weather from sunny to raining. I highly recommend this for preschoolers, it's a lot of fun." —Hammyg3
Get it from Amazon for $21.24.
18. And a Melissa & Doug activity book with a pair of safe scissors that'll channel your destructive, er, busy toddler's energy into a creative activity that'll put their fine motor skills to the test.
Promising review: "Scissors skills are important both in and of themselves and because it strengthens the hand muscles to be used for learning to write. My 4-year-old LOVES this book. We received it this week and she has used it for a couple of hours each day. Many of the pages are cutting things out and putting them together (four-scoop ice cream cone, pizza with pepperonis, the components to build a house or a car, puzzles). We've used tape or glue to put the components together. This book is interesting enough to have caught the attention of my older children as well, although I make them let her do the cutting. :D Would make a great gift as it is so unique." —Mom of 7
Get it from Amazon for $6.99.
19. A pack of sink extenders you can install on any faucet to enable your little one to finally reach the water all by themselves *and* to save your back the strain of hoisting them over the sink.
Promising review: "Must have for toddlers and small children! LOVE this! My 1- and 3-year-old love washing their hands now, and my back gets a nice break. Adding the faucet extenders and a stepstool to our bedtime/morning routine has been a godsend. Great bargain for the price." —TeaBea21
Get a two-pack from Amazon for $10.95.