Becoming a parent is fun and exhausting at the same time, am I right?! Not to mention you are just trying to give your new little the best so they can grow and become their unique self. As pediatric physical therapist, the mom guilt, pressure, and anxiety were real. I was always searching for the best products that met my needs as a mom and requirements as a pediatric physical therapist. I spent countless hours on the internet, usually during nursing sessions in the middle of the night! These items are what worked for me and my family and they may work for your family too! I always recommend these products to other parents so I decided I should put it in writing now that I have this platform. If I can share my experience and give one parent hours of their life back to enjoy their family, I consider that a success. I am always happy to chat about our parenting journey with these products if you have any questions! 

Books:

  • Not only is the The Able Fables Book Co. a series of books that promotes inclusion, these books were created by Dr. Nicole Julia, a pediatric occupational therapist, on a mission to build inclusive playgrounds everywhere. I love reading these books to my son, they are visually beautiful and have a wonderful story. And one is about gymnastics, which I obviously love. I highly recommend checking out her website for her books, super cute t-shirts, and to support her cause!  
  • Oh Crap! Potty Training Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Rightby Jamie Glowacki. This book was recommended to me by another parent and I hope to do the same for you. Most of us parents are just winging it. This book helped walk me through the entire potty-training process, what to expect, what to say, what to do, etc. I was hesitant to start the process because we were happy with our "diaper routine". This book set us for success and I am so happy I read it!  

Education: Craftly Ltd is my go-to for customized routine charts, calendars, and reward charts/jars (we even have the potty-training reward jar too!). I have SO many beautifully crafted charts, calendars, and educational materials lining the walls of my home and playroom. The quality is unremarkable! They are customizable and my son loves them. My favorite is our bedtime routine chart, it was a necessity for that 2–3-year mark. It created a visual of our nap and nightly routine and he found joy in placing a star at each item once it was complete. I didn't have to wrestle him to bed or be the bad guy anymore, it was a win win! Go check her out, she has so many items and keeps adding more!  

Sensory Kits: During my stay-at-home mom days, playdough sensory kits from Young Wild and Friedman were clutch! We have several and they truly last forever! Her collection is huge and will meet any kiddo's interests. There are several size options and subscriptions available. They are truly a wonderful gift for any kiddo. Follow along on Milestones at Play's Instagram and Facebook for some ideas on how to integrate sensory play into gross motor skills.

Art Kits: Another stay-at-home mom find, the Mommy & Me Art Kit. We created piles and piles of artwork and looked forward to the monthly arrivals. It comes with all supplies and instructions. There was always enough for leftovers, creating endless opportunities that required little to no planning on my part - a win in my book! If you're looking for an easy, yet creative way to bond with your kiddo, check out the Kids Art Boxwebsite. There are boxes for kids from 3-12 years old with "Mommy and Me" and "Daddy and Me" options, too! Use this link to get $10 off your first order.  

ArtKive: I wish I thought of this, truly it is a mother's dream! The ArtKive Box* turns all of your child's artwork into books and framed mosaics. No more clutter of construction paper and crafts in a box, because no one wants that box sitting around! You get a beautifully crafted photo album of your child's artwork AND digital files. You never have to pick and choose which artwork you want to keep, because you can keep it all! I have 3 years of books thus far (many Mommy & Me Art projects included). It is something I look forward to every year. Use this link to get $20 off your first book.  

Bikes/Scooters:

  • Kinderfeets: The Tiny Tot bike was gifted to us and we LOVED it. My son is a short little guy and he was able to ride around on the three-wheeled balance bike starting at 12 months. The Tiny Totis perfect for those little ones, it has a seat height of 8.5-11 inches and is great for 12-24 months. AND it easily transitions from a three-wheeled balance bike to a two-wheeled balance bike. It sets up the foundation to transition to a two-wheeled balance bike and later pedal bike without training wheels. This little bike gave him freedom and so many wonderful experiences! He was moving and grooving with confidence on the Tiny Toy! They also have larger versions of the bike and many other wooden products.  
  • Micro Kickboard - Mini*: This mini scooter has 3 wheels and is designed to develop balance and coordination in kiddos as young as 2 years old. It's "lean-to-stear" design helps develop necessary balance your little needs to ride a bike! It is a scooter with a purpose! They also have larger versions for those big kiddos AND a ride on attachment that can act as a balance bike. This scooter will last for years. If you kid is anything like mine, you better get a bike to keep up!
  • Thule RideAlong Child Bike Seat*: Our family LOVES bike rides and our Thule RideAlong has been a member of our family for 3+ years now. It's relatively light and comfortable for the kiddo. We're able to do short or long rides and everyone stays happy! That's a win! Bike rides have been a great way for us to enjoy to outdoors and expose our little one to an active lifestyle. He loves them just as much as we do! And when he's in the RideAlong Child Bike Seat, he can relax and take it all in - it's a FAR more comfortable ride for him compared to a bike trailer and we can still have a conversation. Yay for language skills! 

Travel: We are a family who loves travel and these are my absolute must-haves:

  • JetKids by Stokke*Y'all this is a ride on suit case! Legit wish they made adult versions of it. We can seamlessly travel through the airport with our son, no hassle, no stroller, just a kid enjoying a ride on his suitcase. It is large enough to fit all of his clothes for at least a week and it easily fits in the overhead compartments. It goes over bumps in/out of an elevator or plane train with ease. Put a backpack on your kiddo, have them climb on to the suitcase and BAM they are carrying their own stuff. We have taken early flights and late flights; with the JetKids by Stokke - no problem! You won't regret it.  
  • Ergo 360 Cool Air - Mesh Carrier*: This was by far our most used registry item! Did you know you can carry your baby in a baby carrier THROUGH airport security? I took a stroller once and that was a HUGE mistake. I travelled by myself often and the Ergo 360 made that possible. I'd strap my son in, wear a backpack on the back with all his essentials, pull my suitcase and at times throw the infant car seat on top of my suitcase AND still have one free hand. Daily, the Ergo 360 was great for those clingy days and walks with our dogs. It is easily adjustable for you and your spouse; they even have an infant insert* for those tiny littles. We also had cold weather cover*, perfect for snowy and rainy days when traveling or on hikes.  As a therapist, it keeps those baby's hips safe and head supported if necessary.
  • Guava Lotus Travel CribThis travel crib lived in our living room AND traveled with us on road trips. It is light yet sturdy and has a side zipper door for easy snuggles. When your little one is on the move it is also a great crawl in play yard and safe space. The bag is also a backpack and the whole set is airport friendly!

Shoes:

  • See Kai Run Adaptive Line and High Tops: I absolutely love these shoes both as a mom and physical therapist! My son lives in them AND they last! The adaptive line is wonderful for little ones with orthotics and the high tops are rigid yet flexible to provide stability and allow for optimal motor development of ones who need just a little more support at the ankle. The high tops have plenty of room for shoe inserts as well, just take out the sole and slip the shoe insert in - it works beautifully! 
  • Stride Rite First Walker Collection: Another line of shoes that made my mama and pediatric physical therapist heart happy. The first walker collection is soft, flexible, and made to last. Again, my son lived in these during his early walking days to ensure the safety of his feet at daycare and when exploring outside our home. They let his little feet feel all the things to develop necessary foot muscles and body awareness. I know you'll love them too! 

 Sleep: 

  • Nested Bean*This was another middle of the night find! These are gently weighted sleep sacks aimed to reduce fuzziness and improve sleep. My little guy is/was a cuddler, on top of reflux and ongoing congestion and cough, he ALWAYS wanted to be held. When I first purchased the Nested Bean, honestly I was skeptical. Like, how could a little bean bag on his chest help? Well, I was proven wrong. With the Nested Bean Zen Sack, I was able to transfer my little guy to his crib (without crawling inside, yes, crawling inside because I am short!) without him waking AND he was able to sleep longer periods of time. I had several and we used the Zen Sacks until he grew out of them. I am so happy to see there are more products. If I were to do it again, I would start invest in these sooner!
  • Newton Baby Mattress: The Newton mattress is 100% breathable AND washable. AND it is recyclable. This mattress helped easy my worrying Mama mind. I personally slept on this mattress too and I can say it's also comfortable! Anyone else climb in the crib with their littles for snuggles? Just me? I wouldn't have it any other way! 

Clothing:

  • Primary Clothing*My son has a closet full of Primary Clothing. Their products are sustainable, simple, classic, and versitle. We can mix and match any item! If your kiddo has a little waist and you struggle to find pants that don't have drawstring, I highly recommend their PJ pants...my son had all the classic colors and wore them to school - yep! he wore them to school ALL. THE. TIME. because you would never know. They fit his waist, were light weight, and he could easily manage the waist independently. We also love their bright colors and rainbows; I am so excited to shop their new back-to-school items. (click the link and use AFF20PCT for $20 off first order plus free shipping).

All of these links above are links to purchase from a website or affiliate link. Many are small businesses run by Moms, show them some love!  We used each and every item listed above during our parenting journey, well before Milestones At Play was a vision. I truly loved all of these items as a parent and therapist. I hope you find something here that helps improve your parenting journey. Thanks for reading!  

 

And if you made it this far, thank you! And check out and follow, like, comment, etc. our social media accounts. I appreciate it!  

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*For transparency, I receive a small referral bonus for sales through these links. This does not impact my support for the products, and all views are independently my own.

Dr. Amie Dougherty

Dr. Amie Dougherty

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