The first year of a baby's life is marked by many milestones, one more exciting than the next. With encouragement from parents and engaging toys, your baby will improve mobility and begin developing language during the first year. Interactive toys promote fine motor skill development, stimulate the senses and encourage curiosity. Stock up on these baby toys that help encourage development.
It's never too early to encourage creativity and curiosity in your child. Many toys work well for babies who are just a few weeks to a few months old. The best toys for newborns are those that he or she can try to grab onto, touch and feel. Consider plush toys that vibrate or rattle. Many of these colourful toys feature built-in mirrors or different textures and come with a clip to attach the toy to the baby's stroller or car seat.
Soft-sided books are another useful toy for young babies. Babies who are just a few months old can practice grasping the pages and turning them. These cloth books are easier for a young baby to pick up than heavier board books. Select books featuring bold patterns in black, white and red hues, which are most vivid to baby.
Larger toys can prove useful for the curious newborn. A playmat serves as an ideal spot for baby to lie on his or her back and explore. These play mats typically feature a mobile hanging above the mat, as well as toys to practice grasping along the edges of the mat. These mats also work well for tummy time practice, which allows baby to build neck strength. Similarly, a mobile positioned above the crib can engage baby and encourage him or her to focus on one and then multiple objects.
Toys for Babies Who Sit Unassisted
Once your baby starts sitting up unassisted, he or she enjoys a fresh perspective and a new world. As a result, developmental toys should engage your baby's new abilities and encourage meeting even more developmental milestones. Activity gyms and playsets engage the senses and allow baby to explore. These gyms and sets allow your baby to sit inside or in front of them and twist and turn toys, push buttons and even look in mirrors. These activities stimulate the senses and improve baby's ability to grasp, reach and touch.
Let your sitting baby boost his or her leg strength and get ready to walk with an exerciser or jumper. These toys feature a seat built on a platform, allowing baby to safely practice standing. With plenty of toys included, these seats offer plenty of stimulating fun for a curious infant.
Finally, improve baby's fine motor skills with blocks and other stacking toys. Large blocks are easy for your baby to grab onto, stack, knock over and try again. Likewise, stacking cups are an engaging toy that improves fine motor skills both in and out of the bathtub.
Toys for Curious Walkers
Your baby is on the move and he or she needs toys that promote mobility. Push toys are an ideal toy for new walkers. They provide some balance, making walking practice fun. Plus, they can play music and light up, further stimulating the senses. In addition, a kid-sized shopping cart or baby doll stroller encourages pretend play, offers balance and allows your baby to practice walking.
Chances are your new walker always wants to be on his or her feet. If so, an activity table offers a spot for your baby to stand and learn. Activity tables are built at baby's standing height and feature a variety of levers to pull and buttons to push. They light up and play music as well. Finally, if your baby is particularly steady and ready for even more challenge, try a ride-on toy. Select one with a comfortable backrest so that the baby sits steadily in it. These ride-on toys allow baby to propel forward with the feet while steering with the hands.
Ideas for All Babies
Perhaps you're purchasing a gift for a friend's baby or shopping in advance for your own. You might not know what stage of development the baby is at and that's OK. Plenty of toys engage babies of all ages, allowing them to learn to use their senses and develop their brains. Consider these must-have toys that babies of any age will adore:
Board books: Reading to your baby begins at the newborn stage and never stops. Board books are easy for baby to grasp. Choose books with vivid colours to engage the baby. Books with flaps and different textures engage baby's sense of touch. Look for books that point out colours, shapes, animals and letters, giving baby a head start on learning these preschool essentials.
Bath toys: Bath time can be a sensory experience for babies. Bath toys, are much-enjoyed toys that allow baby to explore, touch and feel. Pitchers, cups and bowls for pouring and rubber toys for squirting allow baby to have a fun time in the water.
Musical toys: Toys that light up and play music engage newborns to walkers and everyone in between. These toys come in a variety of sizes and shapes, whether they're pretend phones or battery-operated musical stuffed animals.
Watching your baby develop from a tiny newborn to a curious toddler is an unforgettable and, at times, unbelievable experience. Toys can encourage development and allow your baby to listen, learn and touch. Pique your baby's curiosity with these toys and watch as he or she discovers and learns.