Only what you need for your baby. Really. (OK – and some fantastic things you don’t that are pretty cool.)
I loved music boxes when I was a kid. The little machine inside – OK, yes, I broke one in half to see it – was like magic and the music was just my size. I don’t know how boys feel about them, but they were one of my favorites and Astrid seems pretty intrigued, so I’m going to say they’re at least a good bet for little girls (with supervision until they’re three, I imagine).
When I set out to find a music box for Astrid, it was surprisingly hard to find ones that weren’t either very expensive and fragile antiques or Barbie-type jewelry box pop-ups. I just wanted one A. could listen to as a baby and maybe try to wind herself without breaking while she was developing some motor skills. After some searching, I found these three, all of which we like.
The best one ever for little ones is the KidO Melodia Music Box. It’s genius: no matter which direction you turn the little handle, the song continues to play. Brilliant for little learning hands. Safe and wood and colorful too. Sadly, also hard to find. If you live in San Francisco, try Ambassador Toys. If you don’t, try searching online or at your local high-end toy store (It’s less than $20 but will be with the Euro-type toys, not at Toys R Us.)
In the long tradition of kids buying their parents self-serving presents, Astrid got her dad a Kerri Lee music box for his birthday. They’re pretty sturdy, the tunes are nice and the pictures are retro and sweet. Not exactly as ornate or interactive as I was looking for, but a nice addition to the nursery and a basic mechanism for when she gets the hang of twisting the knob.
And finally, I couldn’t resist buying this little dancing ladybug music box one afternoon at the counter of The Ark toy store. Never underestimate the impulse buy! It’s a little too complicated for a one year old, and I think Astrid takes inexplicable exception to the tune (Fur Elise), but those bugs are a serious attraction. At about $15, it’s an ideal gift item for little girls. (See it in action on YouTube.)
Schylling Busy Bugs Music Box, $14.99 at Amazon and offline