My husband and I don't really have much in terms of finances. And we also did not want to spoil our child. But if ever there are things that we wanted to buy for her, these are books (even just second hand) and educational toys. We are not really for clothes and shoes because they will outgrow them easily and won't have much use.
Anyway, when our baby was 5 months old, we thought of investing in a stackable toy where she will learn a lot of things. We wanted the toy to be reactionary, like when our baby does something to it, it will react, and my baby will react as well. We scouted for the best buy (looking for discounts) etc.
Then we decided on this stackable toy by Play & Learn. The original price is $10 but we got it for only $8. There are other more expensive brands that are sturdier and have more features, but they are really pricey at $16, so we settled for this. My only concern was that the plastic used was not very durable.
So this toy has a yellow base and pole where with the baby can stack three rings of different sizes and colors. The sizes of the holes inside also vary so that the baby will have to stack them in proper order (the red with the big hole should be in the bottom of the pile). Then there is the head of the bear on top. When the head of the bear is pressed, the base will light up the red ring and then music will play. There are three tunes loaded (London Bridge, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Mary had a Little Lamb).
So there are many things that baby can do in a single toy. When pressed, the toy doesn't just play the music but will have a prelude that sounds like when Tinkerbell would wave her magic wand. I love it!
When we first introduced it to baby, her only goal was to get to the head of the bear and chew on the ears. This went on for several weeks. Despite trying to teach her what to do, she would only gnaw on the rings or throw them around.
But two months later, when she was six months old, she already pressed the head or the pole so that the music will play. How happy I was that our teaching her already paid off! She knew that the toy is not really for chewing, although she would still taste it from time to time. She enjoys it so much already. And despite the rings falling every now and then, they are still intact. We just make sure that the base does not fall because the lights and sounds may be affected.
So it has been three months since we bought it and each my baby finds a new experience playing with it. So this is really a good investment for our baby's learning.
By the way, this toy is recommended for 12months onwards, so we just keep our baby supervised while letting her play.