If you have aspirations of your bundle of joy being one day accepted at Harvard, winning a Nobel Prize or even exploring the stars, starting them off with baby rattles and pacifiers isn't going to cut it.
You need to put them on the path to greatness right out of the womb, so we've put together a collection of educational but kid-friendly tools that will have them saying words like "metamorphosis" and "decrudescence" before "mummy" and "daddy".
Periodic Table Building Blocks Even before you get them home from the hospital, your little one should already have a healthy grasp of the alphabet. So skip the simple ABC building blocks for this more complex set which features 20 select elements from the periodic table. The solid wooden blocks are also printed with the element's atomic symbol, bright colours and scientific facts about their unique properties. After all, they're still designed for kids. $US40.
55,000 Word Talking Spelling Bee Every kid likes spelling right? Probably not, but if they want to get into a prestigious private school, a few spelling bee victories on their CV isn't going to hurt. While it looks like a mobile phone, this pocket-friendly device will speak one of 55,000 words from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, requiring your kid to then spell it out using the slide-out keyboard. A correct spelling is rewarded with applause, while a mistake results in being reminded what letter was wrong, as well as shameful disapproving looks from a parent. It's like having all the pressures of a spelling competition in the comfort of their own home. $US80.
SmartE Interactive Plush Teddy Bear It's probably safer to save the electronics until your baby at least loses that soft spot on its head, but who said a stuffed animal had to only serve as a source of comfort? This interactive SmartE bear can sing songs, tell stories and play games with your kid, but since it's upgradeable, you'll probably want to erase all that crap and just install a host of educational apps. The bear's paws can be squeezed to respond to questions, and while it's not exactly preparing them for the HSC, it's probably a good idea to start slow during those times when they barely know how to roll over. $US100.
Nerdy Alphabet Flashcards Even if your kid is struggling to master their ABCs, there's no reason that a set of flash cards has to be limited to mind-numbing word associations like C is for Cat. So Tiffany Ard created these nerdy flash cards that instead feature scientific concepts. By making associations like A is for Atom, N is for Neuron and R is for Rhombus, these cards help your kid get up to speed on physics, astronomy, biology, chemistry, geography and even mathematics, while they work on mastering the 26 letters of the English alphabet. Let's face it, if they're not master multitaskers by the time they're crawling, you might as well just teach them to ask customers if they want fries with their order. $US20.
Mozart Magical Cube When he was composing his symphonies I don't think Mozart ever thought his creations would one day be used to help young minds grow. But classical music has been shown to improve a child's early mental development. At the least this Mozart Magic Cube toy, which plays one of eight different compositions, is easier on the ears for parents. But a set of buttons that can add and subtract individual instruments while a piece is playing could put your young one on the path to becoming a musical prodigy. They can even use the instrument buttons to compose their own symphonic masterpiece — or a moving rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. $US35.
Nerdy Baby Colouring Book For Very Young Scientists Colouring books are a great way to develop your child's creative side, but there's a reason the term 'starving artist' exists. While you might not be able to pry the crayon from their hands, this colouring books will at least subliminally introduce them to important scientific concepts. The book is filled with 60 pages of puzzles and other activities, covering topics from famous scientists to particle physics. Your kid might feel a sense of accomplishment from successfully colouring inside the lines, but you'll feel just as satisfied knowing you've secretly put them on the path to greatness. Even if they just managed to insert that crayon up their nose. $US12.