ONE: Activity play gym
I think that these are a must. Even if you have very little space, a baby does need an engaging place to do tummy time and to interact with things overhead. While we just used a blanket at the beginning, eventually they need something for them to grab to help develop their body for crawling. Of course, you could make your own, or simply hold objects/your hand above the baby, but if you can afford it, a play gym seems really useful. SC seems to like the one we are borrowing, but this one from PBK is the chicest one I've seen. I am also sentimental, and I think this play gym based off "Guess How Much I Love You" is adorable. While Land of Nod also has some cute activity bars, they are super pricey, and I think Ikea offers two reasonably priced options at a nicer price point.
While SC hasn't done much with this in the way of teething with it yet (despite the fact that she is at a stage where she wants to put everything in her mouth), this toy is great because it also squeaks. About a month ago, SC thought that was the greatest thing ever, so I highly recommend at least some type of squeak toy.
THREE: Manhattan Toy Winkel
I read about this toy on Classic Annie, and decided to buy one for SC a few weeks ago. While I think she is still growing into this toy, she enjoys grabbing and holding it. You can also rattle it, so the toy serves double-duty there. Not to mention that it has provided the husband endless entertainment as he likes to throw it in the air and put a spin on it.
We own only one of these, but SC loves the one we have. We had bought this one on a whim last summer at Ikea, and I'm so glad we did. It has different animals showcased on each of the pages in various textures, and we go through the pages and I make different sounds. SC loves it and this was the first toy she was really interested in. It is not fancy, but promotes our little conversations and stories!
So those are the four toys (besides her mobile) that we have used. While we have other toys, those are really the only ones she seems to care about at the moment...besides the other non-toys we have. SC is probably most attached to the various burp cloths that we have and loves grabbing onto those throughout the day. And you can't forget the endless entertainment that she gets from my singing with her in the mirror. Does anyone else have any recommendations? I've also read great things about the Whoozit, but we haven't tried that. I am thankful that her toy collection is minimal now, but I know as she gets older it will grow exponentially. I'm not going to lie, I'm not looking forward to the all the really loud toys that I know are in our future, but I am thankful that we have these to facilitate interaction and her development!