You may not have considered using play time to help your new baby grow and develop, but that is exactly what healthy infants need!
Not only is visual, auditory and sensory stimulation important for your child’s development, but if you offer your child this kind of stimulation from an early age, your child will become more involved in the world around him and his natural curiosity will lead the way.
While an infant or one-year old is not ready for the toddler toys his siblings covet, she can use toys that will help her develop her coordination and motor skills.
In the beginning, your baby can’t hold a toy or sit or stand to play with an object, but she can watch mobiles and brightly colored crib ‘hangings’ that will help her focus her eyes.
Her vision is a bit fuzzy but she can see things that are about 8-12 inches from her face. So, in addition to mobiles, you can decorate the walls around her crib with animals, figures or brightly colored shapes with lots of contrast. She will love that!
Many mobiles also play soft music which your young baby will find enjoyable. Make sure you mount the mobile well out of baby’s reach and that it is fastened solidly to the crib or other surface, and choose a mobile that has lots of color and shape.
You can also play a music box or a CD or tape with lullabies or soothing music your child will love.
As your baby gets a little older, he will love to look at his own reflection in the mirror. Many baby supply stores and toy stores sell safe, plastic mirrors that can be mounted on the crib or playpen.
Very soon, your child will start to turn over and even sit up. When your child is sitting in a walker, a swing or a high chair, you can give them brightly colored shapes to handle.
There are many options, including plastic ‘rods’ that fasten onto strollers or walkers and fasten across the front with circles, squares and other shapes attached to the rod. These shapes can be twirled, spun or pushed back and forth and make for great play for your young child.
Soft, sturdy, washable fabric books allow your child many hours of practicing motor skills as they grow. They can flip pages, look at animal shapes, letters and numbers and YOU can wash their favorite toy – no muss, no fuss.
The old standby rattles and various ‘shaker’ objects, allow your baby to practice new motor skills by grasping and moving these baby-friendly shapes – and he is rewarded with an interesting rattling or rolling bell sound.
When your baby is old enough to hold and snuggle a stuffed animal, there are great options for child safe bears and other animals that make noises, talk, sing and play music.
By all means, when you are looking for toys for children and infants of this age, or ANY age, be sure they are age-appropriate toys, labeled as such by the manufacturer. Do not put makeshift toys or toys for older children into your child’s crib.
And stay away from toys with small pieces that may detach from the toy or be pulled off by little hands or budding teeth.
Try to buy toys that can be easily washed and be sure you don’t use toxic or strong detergents or cleaning fluids on your child’s toys. Remember, your baby will put EVERYTHING in his mouth!
The Ultimate Toddler Toys
Explore unique, traditional, non-electronic classic educational toys with truly developmental value, for children from 0 to 12 years.