Congratulations! You did it! You survived that first year with your baby, and boy, did time fly by! Your once tiny newborn is now mobile, learning to talk, and growing, growing, growing! It’s time to pack away all the baby stuff that you no longer need–bassinet, jumper, bouncy seat, infant car seat, bottles, bibs, burb cloths, formula dispenser, breast pump, one full box of baby toys, and SO many boxes of clothes! Phew! You never realize how much baby STUFF you have until you have to try and store it somewhere for the next baby.
Although most stores will give you a list detailing the suggested supplies to survive with baby for the first year, there’s not too much out there for the toddler and early preschool years. Thank goodness they don’t require as much stuff, but there are some items that have proven themselves as useful, or even necessary in our household. Here’s my list of my top 10 favorite toddler and preschooler products:
**For convenience, I’ve added links to Amazon and include Amazon’s prices, but some products may be available at Target or Walmart too.**
1. Boon Catch Bowl with Spill Catcher ($7.40): Yes, you can buy 3 suction cup bowls at Target for the same price, and I did and then returned them because they didn’t stay suctioned at all! Which led me to this bowl. Suction is good, but the added lip for catching spills is awesome! Our 14-month old son is using it now, but our daughter used it for quite a long time. It was especially helpful when she was mastering the use of a spoon–think cereal, soup, yogurt, anything liquid. Between this bowl and the bib, their clothes stay pretty clean!
2. Reflo Smart Cup ($6.47): This cup is a great transition from a sippy to a regular cup! By the time my daughter was 18 months, she could drink from a regular cup! The Reflo Smart Cup is a regular cup, but it has a piece that slows the flow of the liquid. They drink it normally, but if they spill an ocean of milk doesn’t go all over your kitchen.
3. Silicone Bib ($4.99): A bib that catches all the food is necessary! I’m not too particular about the brand on this one. I bought mine at Target for my son, but my daughter used to always pull the bib up over her head. So for her we bought a bib that had all the perks of a silicone one (expect rolling it up), but was made from a harder material. You can see it here.
4. Potty Seat ($15.95): When my daughter was potty training, we had this seat set up in the living room with a cheap plastic container under it. Once she started going in the bathroom, she used it on the toilet. Plus, it folds up pretty well so you can stick it in your diaper bag or large purse for traveling.
5. Skip Hop Zoo Utensils ($5.98): My sister gets credit for this one! We were using Ikea utensils and my daughter was struggling to stab her plastic fork into food. My sister suggested this set because they’re metal, not plastic, and her twins really liked them. They’re a hit for us too! Just got a second set in the mail this week!
6. Skip Hop Zoo Pack Little Kid Backpack ($19.99): These are so stinkin’ adorable!! It’s a mini backpack for younger kids, and, for us, have replaced a diaper bag. If we’re going to visit the grandparents for the day, we pack extra undies, blanket, toys, and some books for our 3-year old (who LOVES wearing her kitty backpack), and diapers, wipes, pacifier, and blanket for our 1-year old son (he has the puppy backpack). Other companies make similar mini backpacks for cheaper, though I can’t speak to the quality of those.
7. Infantino Keeper Squeeze Pouch ($7.99): This is the third version I’ve purchased of a reusable pouch! Other pouches designs are flawed because food always gets stuck in the corners or by the mouthpiece, which then eventually molds. Because these are made of silicone and have no corners, no food gets stuck. And the mouth piece is completely removable and easily washed. We own 2, and both my 3 and 1 year old use them. We do applesauce, yogurt, smoothies, even thicker soups (all of which I like to hide veggies in!).
8. Camelbak Kids’ Eddy Water Bottle ($11.74): Both my kiddos have one and we use them constantly! They go with us everywhere. They even sleep with them. Yup. You read that right. It’s the most leak proof cup I’ve found, but will still leak minimally if the straw is squished. How minimally? Enough that my son has his in his crib, knocks it over, and the mattress isn’t wet.
9. OK to Wake Clock ($37.79): This is my secret weapon in the early waking battle! At bedtime, the yellow light on the clock turns on and stays on acting like a nightlight. In the morning (7am for us), the clock turns green signaling to the child that it’s okay to get out of bed/leave their room. We have this clock, which has some extra time teaching features, but there is a more simple clock by the same company for around $30.
10. Prince Lionheart Soft Booster Seat ($28.56): Despite having a highchair that fits on a chair and claims to convert to a booster, we bought this booster seat. It’s much easier to clean–we rinse it off in the sink and let it dry! Plus it’s small and more portable than the highchair. And by the time our daughter was ready for a booster, we were SO ready to have the highchair out of the kitchen!