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Quick! Close your eyes and picture a doctor's or dentist's office waiting room. What do you see?
Chairs, a receptionist, other patients, maybe a fish tank? I bet you also see one of those toys with the beads that you can slide across a loopy wire.
My poor daughter Ellie never gets to play with those toys in the doctor's office waiting room. Call me a germaphobe, but I don't want her touching toys in a room that sick kids cycle through all day long. Lucky for her, this waiting room staple has now become a staple in our home as well.
Enter the Battat Wooden Activity Cube. These toys are so stereotypical of waiting rooms that it almost seems weird to have in your home, but hear me out.
The activity cube has lots of colors, beads, and manipulative activities that keep kids entertained while also helping them develop new skills
I love a toy that can grow with your kids, and this one definitely does. There are a lot of interesting animals and colors for babies to look at during tummy time, activities on all four sides for crawlers, and counting beads and moveable figurines on the top for walkers.
It's beautifully made and has much more than loopy wires with beads. The four sides feature colorful doors that open and close, animal-printed blocks to spin, painted cylinders to mix and match, and wooden chips to drop.
The learning opportunities with this toy are almost endless:
- Identifying colors
- Developing hand-eye coordination
- Naming animals and making their sounds
- Refining fine motor skills by moving beads, animals, opening and closing doors, spinning blocks, and more
- Imaginative play with the farm scene
- Learning about gravity and cause and effect
Every time Ellie goes through a new developmental stage, she seems to rediscover this toy, and at only 14 months old, there is still so much more for her to learn. The company recommends this toy for kids ages 12 months and up, but I bought it for Ellie when she was about 9 months old, and she loved it then too.
Read more: The best fine motor toys for toddlers
It's a sturdy wooden cube that kids can use to pull themselves up, though you should keep an eye on your babies in case they fall
The activity block is quite sturdy but lightweight.
When Ellie was learning to stand and walk, she would use it to pull herself up, and it never toppled over. The four corners are beveled so there are no sharp edges, but the wood is still solid and would definitely hurt if your baby fell on it. I still kept an eye on her, so definitely stay close by your baby if they're in that development stage.
The cube works great for toy rotation too. I try to switch out what toys Ellie has available to play with every so often to keep her interested in them longer. Since this cube has so many activities on each side, I keep this cube in a corner and rotate which sides face the walls every couple of days to keep things fresh.
A similar but less expensive option is the Melissa & Doug First Bead Maze, which would be a good choice if you're only interested in the bead part of an activity cube. With suction cups to keep it in place, you could move the ToyerBee Bead Maze from the floor to higher surfaces like a side table as your baby grows into a toddler.
The amount of time Ellie spends playing with her activity cube speaks for itself. Overall, I'd recommend this colorful toy to anyone looking for a product that supports learning through playtime for babies and toddlers.