By six months, many infants can grasp objects—combine that with endless curiosity and everything-in-mouth syndrome and most parents are constantly seeking safe toys to keep them occupied. LeapFrog's new Brightlings learning toys are made for this age group (6 months to 3 years) with different colors, various textures, and just the right shapes for small hands.
The Brightlings Exploration Station has something different to do at every angle. Your baby needs to push, pull, or grab parts to initiate the lights and sounds. There's a Greetings Gate, which says hello and goodbye in five languages when you open or close it. Alphabet Alley sings the ever-popular alphabet song when you push the knob. Pull the ribbons to learn colors through song and a twirling kaleidoscope. The Bitty Bright play pals also sing when touched, emphasizing different consonant sounds, or you can pop one into the Tumble Tunnel and music chimes.
The Builders, Stackers, Matchers, and Dancers are smaller sets to be used on their own, mixed together, or with the Exploration Station. Each have three or more colorful pieces with flashing lights, rattling balls, and chunky textured shapes. They all encourage your baby to match colors and explore different sizes and stacking combinations. Sounds and lights chime and glow when the objects are touched or fitted together. These small pieces are great for travel on long airline or car trips.
Overall the Brightlings toys offer a lot of activity, and the learning benefits in the brochure are impressive (e.g., introducing creativity, cause and effect, social skills). But how would they rate with a real-baby test? Turns out my 7-month-old was more interested in turning the Exploration Station upside down and studying the screws underneath than making the lights atop glow. Perhaps it's because since birth he's been exposed to the current generation of battery-powered baby toys that sparkle like disco balls with endless chanting of songs. The simple things are much more fascinating…like spoons, Poland Spring water bottles, and screws. I do believe that as he grows, he'll appreciate these toys more and more, and because they're safe and perfectly sized I wouldn't hesitate getting him a set or two. Visit www.leapfrog.com for more info.