Developmental Toys for Babies of Every Age
At the moment a baby’s soft head exits the womb, they begin to take in the sights and sounds around them. It’s a whole new world and there’s so much to learn. Fortunately, as parents you’re there to guide them and give them the tools they need to grow and develop.
Toys for babies are more than just something to occupy a baby’s time and keep them from crying – they’re important for building visual and motor brain pathways and for teaching problem-solving skills. That’s why the types of toys you choose for a baby should vary with their age. What’s good educational play for a newborn isn’t stimulating enough for a toddler who’s beginning to walk around and explore the world on foot.
When selecting toys for babies, safety comes first. Toys for infants and toddlers need to be non-toxic and non-flammable and should not be small enough to fit inside their mouth or have loose parts that can come off and present a choking hazard. Fortunately, there are lots of toys for babies that meet these criteria and will make mom and baby both happy.
Newborn to 6 months
The first six months are all about discovery. At this stage, babies are noticing the sights, sounds, smell and texture of things around them. Toys that stimulate their senses with bright colors, textures and movement capture their interest while strengthening brain pathways that control sight, hearing and touch. Playthings in bright colors that have moving parts and make sound are ideal for building greater motor and visual skills while enhancing coordination.
Newborns less than three months old don’t yet have the dexterity to grasp objects. They’ll benefit from brightly colored rattles, small stuffed animals and brightly-colored mobiles that hang and offer visual stimulation. Once a baby reaches three to four months they’ll appreciate toys that are more interactive. An example is the brightly colored Vtech Roll and Sing Caterpillar that babies twist and move around as it flashes and makes noise. Multi-functional toys like Bright Starts Bunch-O-Fun that doubles as a rattle and a teether offers lots of brain-enhancing stimulation and keeps babies occupied for hours.
6 to 12 months
By the age of six months, infants are beginning to crawl and lift themselves up off the floor and can grasp things more easily. Play gyms like Fisher-Price Kick and Play Piano Gym takes infant learning and fun to a whole new level. Your budding piano star can lie on their back and kick the piano keys to play their own unique musical compositions. It’s good physical and mental stimulation for infants at this age. Who knows, you may have a young pianist in the making. Toys that make music are ideal since research shows music helps to build cognitive skills.
1st and 2nd year
By their first birthday, most babies can stand by themselves and are beginning to walk. As they start to move around on foot, push-pull toys help to develop motor skills. Even before they take their first steps, infants can explore a push-pull toy with movable parts and it will be there for them once they begin walking. Winfun Talk N Pull Phone is a brightly-colored play phone that baby can pull around. It has punchable numbers from 0 to 9 and makes fun noises and sound effects for lots of brain stimulation. It’s a simple way to teach numbers, too.
Infants and toddlers love building things. Give them the tools they need with Exploration Blocks – Towers. They’ll have the materials to build towers or entire cities. Building things enhances motor, dexterity and problem-solving skills. Watch them spend hours creating cities while they’re building brain connections and the ability to solve problems that’ll serve them well throughout life.