Play is the way for baby to learn and grow each day. The right toys can help babies develop physical, social and emotional skills, engage sensory awareness and promote cognitive learning. Here is an easy-to-follow guide to baby's first year of play from Fundamentally Toys in Houston, Texas
Just home from the hospital, a newborn's vision is fuzzy. Baby's gaze will fix on objects 8-15 inches away. She is naturally drawn to the human face, but it will take about a month for her to recognize yours.
During these first three months, baby will be visually captivated by bright colors and high-contrast patterns - especially objects that move slowly. Her little ears will appreciate soothing sounds, gentle music and lullabies.
Suggested Toys for 0-3 months:
- Wimmer-Ferguson Infant Stim-Mobile, Mind-Shapes and Car Seat Gallery
- cloud b soothers and sleep aids such as Twinkling Firefly Frog, Lullaby to Go Turtle or Ladybug and Glow Cuddles Bunny
- Jellycat soft cloth books: Are You are My Mommy and I Love My Daddy
Little fists begin to unclench as baby discovers how much fun hands are! Tactile sensation becomes important at this point.Tiny fingers can reach for objects and fine motor skills start to develop.Baby can grasp, rotate and move objects from hand to hand. Rattles make a delightful noise and after a little exploration objects usually go into the mouth!
As baby starts to push up and begins to sit up, physical development comes into play. There is so much more to see and hear and interact with!
Suggested Toys for 3-6 months:
- Sassy Development Playmat
- Lamaze Sit Up and See Gym
- Oball Twist-O-Round or Clickety Twist
- Sassy Flip & Grip or Rings Around Rattles
- Baby Paper (crinkly paper toy)
- Sassy Sensory Ball Set
Baby's play is becoming much more vigorous. As she masters new fine motor skills, her movements are more precise and her fingers more dexterous.Teeth are starting to come in, so teethers and toys to soothe the gums provide relief.
At this stage, babies often develop an attachment to a favorite toy or blanket. Pediatricians encourage this connection because familiar objects comfort and soothe and can help little ones deal with future changes and transitions.
Suggested Toys for 6-9 months:
- Earlyears Stack N Nest Cups, Sweet Baby Blocks and Baby Driver
- Baby Cheeks Puppy or Cow Loveys from Mary Meyer
- Cora Doll Snugglers or Sshlumpies from Douglas Cuddle Toys
- Freezies Terry Teethers by Sassy
At 9-10 months baby is creeping and crawling around the room, maybe even trying to stand up while holding on to furniture. He's well on his way to walking soon.
Starting to close in on the one-year mark, baby is able to understand words and recognize the names of familiar objects. Problem-solving skills begin to kick in as she or he takes things apart and starts figuring out relationships between objects.
Suggested Toys for 9-12 months:
To encourage crawling, standing and walking -
- Little Autos by Hape
- Press 'N Go Worm from International Playthings
- Fisher-Price Activity Walker
- Walker Wagon from Radio Flyer
- Boppin' Activity Bugs by Fisher-Price
- Shape Sorter by Green Toys
- Ophelie and Her Chicks by Haba
Keep a variety of toys coming during baby's first year.
If you're not sure what is best or age appropriate, get advice from specialty toy store experts such as Fundamentally Toys.
Introduce new toys one at a time.
Never overwhelm a baby with too many choices.
Rotate toys every few days to keep interest fresh
Strive for diversity in toys and activities to stimulate all senses.
Remember that play is not just about fun. It's a very important way for babies to develop physically, mentally and emotionally and learn cognitively.
We're here for your early years!