Top 5 Developmental Toys for 2017


If you follow my posts (I hope you do!), you may have read that my youngest son has Autism. Which means we go to a lot of therapy, and it is fun! They have so many great toys and games that help him develop and reach his milestones. The best part is he is just having a good time and has no clue that he is actually working his mind and body. We have purchased several fun items to use at home and want to share them with you in case Santa is looking for a few ideas. 

A few details to note. My son is 3, but I have a daughter who is 6 with no delays and enjoys all of these items just the same. In full disclosure I should also note that the older kids and myself pretty much play with them too. I have listed two versions of each item. One for a bargain price and one that is more of a splurge, both work great so the choice I up to you.


  1. Teeter Popper by Fatbrain Toys $39.99 (SPLURGE)

My kids love this and so do I.  Our family owns two. This is a popular activity while I am in the kitchen cooking. It is a balance board fun suction cups on the bottom that make an exciting popping sound. Kids get a core work out from the board and all the giggles that come with it. Their website states this: Improves core strength & stability, balance, coordination and gross-motor skills

Play Monkey Balance Board by LEX Toys $14.99 (BARGAIN)

This colorful and fun balance board is an affordable alternative. It doesn’t make the fun popping sound but it still provides endless fun. Plus the colorful monkey graphic makes it a standout in the toy box. Here is what they have to say about it: Helps kids improve their balance and coordination. Perfectly sized for little feet–yet able to accommodate larger ones.


  1. Whoa-Bots by Tree Hopper Toys $24.99 (SPLURGE)

These are amazing. They literally keep all of us engaged and excited. The unique shape of these wooden stacking blocks challenges your mind to let the creativity flow. They also have ninjas and monster blocks to add to the fun. Tree Hopper adds this about Whoa-Bots: balance them(selves) into evermore complex and impressive formations, all while improving the motor skills and providing endless fun for human children and adults alike.

Stacking Monkeys by Wild Ways $14.99 (BARGAIN)

This the exact same concept as Whoa-Bots. The only real difference is the price and graphics. I have both and my family enjoys them equally. Seriously we play with these and the Whoa-Bots a lot. In addition to monkeys you can purchase stacking elephants to enhance you building fun. Wild Ways would like you to know this: Wild Ways will pile on the fun along with helping your child improve their hand-eye coordination, focused concentration and introduce them to physics.

  1. Spinning Top by Gonge $74.99 (Splurge)

This is a great way to get some of that fun playground feedback in the house without taking up a bunch of space. You and your family will love spinning, hiding and climbing all over this toy. It is perfect for a cold winter day inside and warm summer fun in the yard. Here is what Gonge has to say on their site: The Top helps children develop physical coordination and provides vestibular stimulation while they spin, rock and play.

Bilibo  by Moluk $26.95 (BARGAIN)


The most distinct difference in these two toys is the size but that in no way impacts the fun. Bilibo has more color options and can float! So, while you are giving up a little you are still getting something in return. I have this toy and it is well played with. This little seat is strong, durable and up for any challenge your child brings it’s way. Moluk makes these statements: Bilibo arouses curiosity, engages the imagination and playfully trains basic motor skills and balance.

  1. Squigz by Fatbrain Toys $24.99 (SPLURGE)

This was one of the first toys we played with at therapy. These colorful suction cups offer endless possibilities. They come in several sizes from over-sized(toddler) to mini for older kids. The over-sized and regular Squigz are great for fine motor and hand strength while the mini Squigz allow kids to build 3-D projects on unconventional surfaces. Here is a fun statement from their website:  Connecting to each other and to any solid, non-porous surface – Squigz are a species all their own. They flex. They stick. They suck people into creativity.

Boon Jellies by Boon $12.99 (BARGAIN)


First let me say that Boon makes the most awesome bath toys. In this case the bargain is a bit different from the splurge but still a great substitute if you have younger kids. These chubby neon jellies aren’t made for building complex structures but they’re are a ton of fun. They can be stacked in a tower, float through a sea of bubbles and still provide the benefits of fine motor play  The ample size suction cups also are great for exercising grip strength. Even with these differences it’s still a win in my book. (shh I play with these in the tub too.) Boon offers this insight:   These tiny jellyfish will never sting—but they will use their suction cup tentacles to stick to all sorts of stuff including the aforementioned wall, the tub and even each other so they can be formed into cool shapes and structures.


  1. Perplexus by Spin Master $25-35.00 (SPLURGE)

This one is more targeted to the older kids and parents but the colorful shapes and rolling metal ball are still intriguing to younger kids even if they don’t quite get the gist of it. There various levels of challenging mazes from rookie to epic. Busy minds will enjoy completing this monumental task over and over again. Perplexus i the perfect activity for quiet time. You can read more about this on their sight:  360 degrees of orbital track filled with mind bending turns, brain-thrilling twists and jaw-dropping stunts that will challenge you, inspire you and have you wondering how can something so easy to pick up, be so hard to put down!

Shaper Image Maze Ball by Sharper Image $9.99  (BARGAIN if you pick it up at Walgreens)


Same concept but a different style. This ball has a more mature color palate of red, black and white. There is only one option, which is comparable to the original Perplexus that offers a medium challenge level. This would be a great grab bag gift for any age level, even grown-ups.  Sharper Image says about the product:  Test your hand/eye coordination with 100 challenging obstacles.

There you have it… 10 great engaging toys to give to your kids.  And Bonus, none of these are electronic, so no batteries.  I hope your family gets as much fun and enjoyment out of them as we have.  

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Lanae is lifelong Pittsburgh resident with a brief stint in Ohio for her high school and middle school years. Most of her life she lived in Wilkinsburg but recently became a resident of the north boroughs. Lanae holds an associates’ degree in fashion merchandising and a bachelor’s degree in business management. After college, Lanae, entered the insurance and financial services industry by becoming a licensed agent and a claims specialist. Lanae also is an advocate for cloth diapering and baby wearing. Through her website she offers information and sources offering cloth diapering to all women and families in need. With two boys and 3 girls ranging in ages from 18- 2 most of her time is spent traveling to ballet lessons, band practice, and cello lessons. Also, two of her children are special needs and require various appointments and therapy. When there is time left, she enjoys writing, sewing and cooking. She is currently finishing up her first novel with more already in the works. With a love for travel, Lanae and her family have been to 5 different Caribbean islands and 2 countries in South America. So, look to hear more about the organized chaos that is traveling with 5 kids.