Selecting Developmental Toys for Infants

People always have advice for you on what type of diapers, car seat, and stroller you should buy for your baby. But you don’t get many tips on what type of toys to buy for your baby. Babies learn through play, so it is important to select developmentally appropriate toys for each stage of your child’s development.

Birth-3 months

For this age, look for bright, stimulating primary colors that will catch baby’s attention. Mobiles are ideal because they combine visual stimulation with auditory stimulation. However, newborn babies spend most of their time looking to their sides, so toys that attach to the side of the crib are better. At this age, babies love looking at faces, so getting a mirror to attach to your baby’s crib bars is a good idea. Look for toys that are not too complicated, babies at this stage can get over stimulated when there is too much going on in their world.

3-6 months

At this age, your baby starts being able to grasp toys in her hand. Rattles are a time-tested favorite. Your baby learns that whenever she moves her hand, the rattle makes noise. This helps her grasp the concept of cause and effect. Anything that makes a noise or lights up in response to your baby’s movement will help her in this regard. There are activity mats that have places where your baby can kick, and as she kicks, she is rewarded with lights and songs. Another important consideration for toys in this age group is texture. This adds another dimension to your baby’s sensory exploration. Many toys are available now that incorporate many different types of textures, both hard and soft.

6-9 months

Around now your baby will be sitting on his own, and that opens up a whole new world of toys to play with. Activity centers are fun, and include many various activities to keep your baby entertained. Water play during bath time can be educational as well. Show your baby how he can dunk a cup under water, then lift it up and pour the water back into the tub. Let him feel the difference in the feel and weight of a terry cloth bath toy before and after it gets wet.

9-12 months

Although it will still be a while before your baby masters any of these, now is a good time to begin teaching her colors, letters, shapes, counting, and body parts. Any toys that help you do so are good developmental toys. There are electronic toys which sing the ABC’s and count. Babies usually love these, but at the same time, make sure to teach these to your child yourself. Human interaction makes for better and faster learning in children. Show your child her dolly and name each body part, pointing at the part on her, her dolly, and you. Count blocks as you stack them up. Name the colors of different toys. Sometime within these months, your baby will probably begin pulling herself up to stand. Once she does so, get a push toy that she can use to help develop walking skills.

Although they are not technically toys, books deserve honorable mention here. It is never too early to begin reading to your child. Reading to your baby will hopefully pave the way to a love of reading later on. It also provides great interaction time.

Throughout each developmental stage, it is important to note that nothing can replace playing with your baby. So while your baby is playing with his toys, sit alongside him and talk to him as you point out colors, count parts, and praise him as he shows an interest in what you two are playing.

Once they turn around 6, a sensory gym designed to provide sensory resources will prove beneficial for them as it will make them health conscious from childhood.