There are so many different baby toys out there! From educational toys to straight up fun play toys, how are parents supposed to know which toys to buy for their children?
Choosing baby toys is an important task: toys for babies aren’t just for entertainment! You might be surprised to learn that baby toys are an important part of a baby’s development and learning. Of course, not all baby toys are suitable for all ages, and depending on your baby’s age, the best toys for him are her will be different.
Choosing Baby Toys: Birth – 6 Months
It’s a fact: even newborns are able to able to learn, and toys that help stimulate sensory data will in turn stimulate brain development! Stimulating all five senses is a great way to help boost your baby’s brain development. Of all the senses, vision is the least developed at birth; your baby will have very blurry vision at first and will respond best to objects with contrasting colors. It will also be difficult for them to grasp objects. Before long, though, their vision will improve, and they will begin to try to hold things!
The best toys for children under 6 months of age will be toys that give audio and visual stimulation.
The best baby toys for babies under 6 months include:
- Hand-held toys: Since babies are very short-sighted at first, they will appreciate toys that can be placed in their line of sight. Of course, he or she won’t be able to hold anything at first, but they will show their preference for certain toys by batting for them. Things like rattles, teethers and other toys that give sensory feedback are a great idea.
- Musical toys: Music is one of the most effective ways to sooth your baby, and it provides great entertainment, too! There are lots of different musical toys out there that are perfect for young babies.
- Unbreakable mirrors: Baby mirrors are great for providing visual stimulation. Whether you hang the mirror on the wall or use one as a crib accessory, being able to see his or her reflection will give them entertainment for hours on end.
- Mobiles: These are a classic baby toy. Look for mobiles with high-contrast colors and patterns as well as those that play music. A mobile provides visual stimulation and encourages your baby to reach out for it while they’re in their crib.
Choosing Baby Toys: 6 – 12 Months
When babies reach this age period, they begin to discover that they can physically interact with things, and they’ll begin touching and shaking everything in sight! Around 6 months of age your baby’s eyesight hand-eye coordination will be improving by leaps and bounds, allowing them to pick up and hold objects. On top of this, don’t forget that babies will begin to crawl around this age, too! This is a fun time for both babies and children, and it will be a good opportunity to play a variety of games with your little one.
The best toys for babies around this age will be interactive toys, those that help build hand-eye coordination, and those that encourage crawling and getting around.
The best toys for babies aged 6 – 12 months include:
- Shape sorters: These are a classic toy that helps your baby develop fine motor skills as well as their logical thinking ability.
- Stuffed animals: Dolls and stuffed animals are great for cuddling and are another classic baby toy that you’ll want to have in your baby’s crib. They offer a sense of belonging and security and will be a great comfort to your baby, too.
- Rockers & bouncers: At this age you can think about getting a rocker or bouncer for your baby. These help satisfy your baby’s need to move.
- Interactive toys: When your baby is around this age they will have a lot of fun and also develop skills with interactive toys. Your baby will love to experiment with toys that give visual or aural feedback to their actions, such as those that play a sound or light up when they press a button.
- Walkers: These can be a great way for your baby to get around before they’re able to walk. However, there are some controversies surrounding baby walkers, so be sure to inform yourself on them, first.
Choosing Baby Toys: 12 – 18 Months
This is an exciting time for you and your baby! Most children will be walking around the time they are 12 months of age, which opens a lot of new experiences and gives a strong desire to explore! Most toddlers will be very active at this age, leading them to develop strong muscles and further develop their motor skills.
The best toys for toddlers aged 12 – 18 months include:
- Active toys: Toddlers love things like swing sets and trikes that will allow them to get around while having fun. Not only that, but these kinds of toys are great for helping your baby develop stronger muscles.
- Building blocks: Another classic, building blocks help develop both fine and gross motor skills and are a very versatile toy.
- Puzzles: Specialized toddler puzzles are great for helping your toddler improve his or her problem-solving skills.