What appears as a simple toy to you and me is actually a wild sensory experience to a baby that helps him or her learn more about his world, says Elizabeth Pantley, author of Gentle Baby Care.
Toys help babies learn how to move their limbs and control their reflexes. They expose your baby to new ideas, sights and sounds and they help her master new skills, like moving or stacking objects.
Most parents agree that too many toys can be overwhelming. The best practice seems to be to choose sturdy, safe, quality toys and offer a few at a time in a toy box, routinely rotating them with other toys you have stashed in a closet or high shelf away from baby’s exploration.
Books, rattles and squeaky toys in high-contrast colors are best for young babies, says Pantley, while older babies will enjoy chunkier toys like balls, blocks and playthings that stack and nest.
With so many toy recalls and concerns over lead in toys manufactured in China in recent years, you may want to consider “eco-friendly” or “green” toys made from sustainable materials and produced without harmful chemicals, plastics or paints and in ways that don’t impact the environment.
|0-6 Months||6-12 Months||12-24 Months|
|Inspiration||Plan Toys rattle mobile plantoys.com||HABA Corella Clutching Toy haba.de||Toys ‘R’ Us giraffe walker/sorter toysrus.com|
|How you can help||Until baby can sit up and grasp things on her own, toys for newborns are all about watching and listening. Choose musical toys or toys that move to engage baby’s senses. Talk to baby about the toys; she’s learning language each time you speak to her.||Now that baby can sit up and reach for things, it’s time to expand her world with toys that raise a reaction. Let her bang toy pots and pans or shake car keys (don’t use your own keys in case they contain lead in the paint or metal). Baby may now choose a favorite stuffed animal as a comforter.||If baby’s not walking yet, he soon will be. Toys that help baby find his balance and move are popular with the toddler set.|
|Types of Toys|
What’s New with Safe Infant Sleep? The latest safe infant sleep recommendations are based on what experts have learned and are known risk-factors for sleep-related infant deaths.