I take a lot of joy in finding interesting toys for my children as they get older. With each new stage, I pore over Amazon, researching and reading up on toys that will teach, engage, and stimulate his growing interests.  Now that Christmas is around the corner, I thought I would do a small series on some of our favorite toys of the past since Juliet will be inheriting many of them.

Drake was 6 months old at his first Christmas and Juliet will be roughly the same age.  I remember getting so excited to celebrate Drake’s first Christmas, but wondering what would be a good present to get a six month old baby who was barely even sitting up.  As a whole I prefer toys that serve a purpose, whether it’s to educate or to help promote some kind of physical learning like crawling or walking, as well as ones that can sustain interest for a longer period of time so I get more bang for my buck.

That first Christmas I asked around on one of the forums I belong to about a good gift for a six month old, and the resounding answer I received was the Bright Starts Around We Go Activity Station.

The premise of the toy is that there is a stationary activity center that contains various engaging toys, like a flip book, piano, etc., and there is also a seat that makes a complete 360 rotation around the station, allowing your child access to all the toys powered by their own legs.   At six months old Drake was capable of holding himself upright with support, but was still not ready to stand yet.  With the support of the toy however (which held him upright similarly to the jumperoo or exersaucer) he could walk around the station playing with the different toys as he chose.  Since many doctors discourage the use of walkers and push toys, I felt this was a way to assist Drake in learning the basics of walking while still keeping him safe from falling or getting hurt.

At first Drake had difficulty walking and moving around the toy as he wasn’t used to the idea of walking or moving forward, since the jumperoo and exersaucer are stationary toys that only allow for up and down motion. But this moving seat taught him to propel himself forward in the same manner we learn to walk.  For a long time Drake would only play with the toys right in front of him when placed into it, but over time as the other toys drew his attention he would attempt to reach over to them thus pushing the seat slowly around the center.  It took a little bit of learning but soon Drake was whizzing around the entire station with ease and it soon became his favorite place to play as he grew.

Drake quickly lost interest in both the exersaucer and jumperoo once he mastered the Around We Go Station, as it allowed him to move around more.  Drake used the seat well past twelve months and once he was able to walk fully on his own, we removed the seat and the station still remained one of his favorite toys.  I loved how long the toy kept his interest over such a long period of time, aided him in learning how to support himself upright as well as taught him the basics of putting one foot in front of the other to walk.

 I am so glad we bought the toy for his first Christmas as I think right around six months was the perfect time for Drake to really get the most out of it.  Now that Juliet is hitting that age, we plan on retrieving this from the basement. I think Drake might also be interested in it again so he can play along side her, allowing them to interact together.

The one big con about this toy is that it has a large footprint since you need space for the seat to be able to rotate in a full circle around the entire toy.  We managed to find a perfect spot in our apartment after moving furniture around. I hope we can do the same in our new place as this is such a great toy, I just can’t imagine not using it again.