Mums often have a hard time keeping their babies still during mealtimes. Here’s my tried-and-tested solution: high chair toys!
Squishy toys, cars, blocks or animals are not only for fun and entertainment. These can keep your little one preoccupied when you need to do a quick prep or clean-up, too.
Your baby will be busy playing and eating at the same time, and before you know it, his food is all gone. The best part: he finished it without too much fuss!
Playtime and these toys double as your baby’s first teachers as well.
Best High Chair Toys
Any parent will surely appreciate stress-free mealtimes. And so, I’ve listed a few high chair toy options for you.
Just remember to secure your baby during high-chair playtime and do not leave him unattended.
High Chair Suction Toys
Babies have this habit of putting toys in their mouths. They also enjoy throwing things on the floor that mums end up playing fetch!
That’s why I love suction toys a lot. All you need to do is moisten the suction cup, stick the toy onto the high-chair tray and voila! No more flying toys from an overly excited baby.
With a high-chair suction toy, your child also learns to play and explore with his hands instead, not his mouth.
Some suction-type high chair toys also have a detachable feature. This way, you can hang them onto a baby gym or take them as carry-along toys during stroller or car ride time.
- Skills developed: hand-eye coordination, fine and gross motor skills, sensory exploration
Bath Squeeze Toys
These high chair toys are a personal favourite because they’re durable and super versatile. Your child will love squishing them with his little hands while enjoying his food.
They make great teething toys, too. And you don’t even have to worry about your child throwing them to the floor.
When your baby can sit in the tub, let these toys bob and float around to keep bath time smooth-sailing. He can use them for pretend play and underwater bubble making.
They make fun water squirters, too – perfect for strengthening your child’s hand muscles.
- Skills developed: reaching and grasping, oral exploration and discrimination, visual tracking
Activity trays are your all-in-one toys that can keep babies busy. This high chair toy typically features chunky bead loops, rings, rotating wheels, a teether, a picture book and a baby-safe mirror.
Most of these activity trays come with a large suction base, so they stay secure on any smooth surface.
With several toy arrangements in one clever activity centre, you can easily tap on your child’s different developmental needs.
The variety of bold colours and textures of these toys are also ideal for stimulating the senses. More importantly, these are the type of toys that can grow with your little one.
- Skills developed: hand-eye coordination, fine and gross motor skills, sensory enhancement
High-Chair Board Books
Books are not exactly toys. However, it’s essential to introduce our children to literature early on.
And what better way to do that than with attractive, colourful board books! Their extra-thick pages are ideal for training little hands to turn book pages.
The large illustrations are best for keeping babies attentive and engaged. Also, the words in large, bold letters can help with reading and alphabet learning later on.
Mums can even use these high chair toys for bonding, pre-nap routines or bedtime. Alternatively, mealtime flashcards are also great items to use for your baby’s educational entertainment.
- Skills developed: motor and language skills, vision and attention
DIY High Chair Toys
Store-bought toys are great. But if you’re on a budget, you can always make toys out of everyday objects that are just as fun. Here are a few ideas.
Find a large plastic jar with a twist-on lid. Next, drill holes into the cover. Then slip ribbons of different types and lengths into each hole.
Make sure to tie both ends, so your baby cannot pull the ribbons out. You can create this toy out of an old colander and some pipe cleaners, too.
- Skills developed: motor skills like the pincer grasp ability
Texture Sensory Bags
Fill three to four resealable bags with dry items from your pantry. These can be cereals, sugar, oats or beans. You can try ice cubes and hair gel, too.
Seal the filled bags, then tape them onto your baby’s food tray. Let your little one touch and press the bag so he can feel different textures or temperatures.
Sometimes, I’ll fill the bag with cream or yoghurt and berries, then let my baby do the smashing for me! Your kids will surely enjoy seeing the colours shoot out from the fruit.
- Skills developed: fine and gross motor skills, sensory enhancement
High Chair Toy Features to Consider
It’s easy to be overwhelmed in a baby product store and start grabbing all the high chair toys you see. So, before that happens, it’s wise to trim down your choices based on the following factors.
- Safety. Make sure the toy is age-appropriate to avoid accidents or choking hazards.
- Versatility. Look for toys that can help develop multiple baby skills. Ideally, choose those that can grow with your baby or encourage reciprocal play.
- Durability. You don’t want baby toys that are easy to throw on the floor and break. To avoid wasting money, go for toys with suction cups or made of high-quality materials. Make sure they’re easy to clean, too.
- Value for money. Babies will outgrow their toys in a flash. However, they still need playtime to learn and develop. To strike a balance, give them toys that are useful yet affordable. Choose durable ones that you can pass on to your next child. You can also check out garage sales in your area to look for second-hand baby toys.
High-chair toys are multipurpose: they keep the baby busy and mum stress-free. By choosing the best toys, we get to support our kids’ early development, too.
However, no perfect toy can replace parents’ bonding time with their kids. So, don’t rely solely on toys. Talk and interact with your baby when you can while he plays.
And, of course, use the best portable high chair to make your happy moments together happier!