Infants take in everything happening around them. “Playing is a great way for parents and caregivers to build that vital bond with their baby, while sensory stimulation helps baby’s brain grow.” Developmental toys help babies’ senses, muscles and gross motor skills develop throughout their first months.
In the first couple of months, playing should encourage babies to strengthen their core and limbs, as well as turn their heads. It’s important to engage your infant’s senses of sight, hearing, touch and smell. At this point, activity mats (that aren’t overwhelming) are age-appropriate. In the coming months, as your baby’s sight and muscles strengthen, you can add more toys and activities to the mats. Early on, music is also important.
The next age-appropriate developmental toys for babies will be ones that encourage them to reach, grasp and touch. Play with rattles, board books and crinkle toys that offer unique textures, bright colors, interesting noises and mirrors. Not only do books encourage physical development, reading to your child is essential, even in infancy.
One of the next stages of development will be hand-eye coordination. There are many educational toys for infants that help them figure out exactly where their body is. Lightweight balls can be thrown without being dangerous. Consider toys with pieces that fit together, such as stacking cups, ring towers and shape cubes.
When your baby begins to move around on their feet, it’s time to invest in toys that encourage infants to stay standing and walking. Try activity tables, large stacking blocks, push toys and raised bead mazes! At this stage, your children will also be familiar with everyday objects from your home. Play cars, baby dolls (especially when there are younger siblings on the way) and kitchen accessories will likely be more fun than any expensive educational toy.