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The Right Baby Toy, Keeps Away the Lullaby!
It is a universal understanding of how toys are more than just playthings, which is why they should not only be fun but age-appropriate, stimulating, and safe. Since they are also developmental learning tools, baby toys are must-have baby items in every household with kids.
A month-by-month guide on Baby Toys
The important thing you need to keep in mind regarding baby toys which are one of the top newborn baby essentials is the baby’s developmental skills before purchasing the right kind of infant toys for your little bundle of joy! Here’s a breakdown of what you need to look for:
Birth – 3 months:
This is the first most blurry phase of a baby’s life. The baby starts showing slow signs of their developing personality by smiling and developing head control to look at people and objects around them.
Gross Motor Skills: Increasing neck strength is one of the most important motor skills of a baby during these first three months.
Social-Emotional Skills: The baby also recognizes his/her face and develops a sense of who she/ he is. Hence, they begin noticing themselves wherever possible like a mirror, a toy that shows shadows of themselves, window panels, etc.
Vision and Hearing: During the first few weeks, the baby cannot see things clearly but takes hold of objects by looking and listening to the noises around them.
It is hence important to keep these three skills in mind while purchasing baby toys for babies of this age group. It is highly advisable to purchase must-have baby toys that help the baby gain neck strength, head control, baby toys with sounds and lights to help grab the baby’s attention in terms of visual and hearing senses, and ones with baby-friendly mirrors to help the baby recognize its face and build a sense of self adding to their social-emotional skills.
4 – 6 months:
Without any doubt, around four months, babies will start exploring objects not only with their tiny angelic hands but with their notorious mouths too! While they were only looking at objects during the first three months, now that they’ve developed a clear vision, steady head, and neck strength, they’re all up to shaking and sucking on baby toys too!
Fine Motor Skills: Grasping objects with their hands and passing them on to the other hand or simply keeping them on the floor is what the babies of this age group will be focusing on.
Hence, parents are advised to look for must-have baby toys that are colorful, small, and soft so it does not end up bruising the baby. Around 6 months, some babies also begin trying to sit up, therefore, it is important to go for toys like little rings and soft blocks with which the baby can not only hold, explore using their mouths, but also stack!
7 – 9 months:
By the time they reach 7 months, the babies are now able to look clearly, listen sharply, hold objects steadily, pass them from one hand to another, and finally sit up independently. Hence, the babies will now begin to develop their speech by vocalizing many different sounds and words they hear.
At this stage, parents are advised to go for baby toys that help improve the baby’s motor skills, communication, and social skills keeping in mind that the baby now can hold two objects together, bang them together, and also vocalize the many different words and sounds they hear through their tiny ears and eardrums!
Must-have baby toys at this point will be wooden building blocks, baby-friendly musical instruments, and other kinds of baby essentials that will help keep the baby engaged in nursery rhymes, baby phrases, and statements.
10 – 12 months:
The little bundle of joy is not so little anymore! During 10 to 12 months, babies are sure to respond to simple verbal requests and statements. In terms of motor development, at this stage, babies will begin to stand up by holding onto furniture and the hands of parents or other older people.
It’s important to note that, they may not stand independently yet, they may stand for a few seconds unsupported and crawl back on hands and knees.
It is advised to purchase toys that are easy to hold and stack. Most importantly, at this stage to sharpen their communication and social skills, it is important to get the books with large pictures. Real pictures indicating real-life things are considered since the baby is just starting to learn and see these.
Colorful stacking cups, building blocks, puzzles, and picture books are encouraged during this stage.
18 – 24 months: (1.5 – 2 years)
This is the phase you have been patiently waiting for! Your child is finally a toddler who most of the time wants to do everything on their own. At this stage, your toddler is more mobile because he/she can walk with ease and enjoys running around. Besides, his/her vocabulary also increases up to 200 or more words. Furthermore, the toddler experiences high levels of a variety of emotions related to his/her surroundings making them feel distinct emotions such as happiness, sadness, frustration, and jealousy truly and clearly.
Parents of toddlers who belong to this age group are highly advised to purchase developmental toys that encourage eye and hand coordination in order to develop their sensory, fine motor, curiosity, and discovery skills.
Parents hence need to invest in fixable and moveable toys to help develop these skills such as toy trucks, cars, airplanes, and activity puzzles, miniature homes with little dolls for role-playing, and miniature basketball with a basketball stand and net.
In addition to buying them the right toys, parents can also follow some developmental activities at home. They can allow their toddlers to pick and choose what to wear. Although the dress pairs may never match and go with one another, this activity will teach the toddlers independence. Reading a book, particularly a picture book will do wonders in terms of understanding objects around them and their uses. This activity is also critical for helping develop the rapid language skills of the toddler. Parents can also buy their toddlers a plastic grocery cart or a stroller in order for them to enrich their mobility skills. Further, this can also teach them about how things can be moved from one place to another.
3 – 4 years:
This is the phase your baby moves from parallel-playing to joint-playing with another child. Hence, they start making friends and moving around with kids of the same age group. In this phase, your child will be involved in pretend playing such as pretending to be a teacher, police, doctor, etcetera. Furthermore, this is also the phase in which the child is all about creating, making and moving. In terms of moving, children belonging to the 3 – 4 age group have their balance and coordination improved as a result of which they move their bodies with the right amount of needed control.
Therefore, parents of kids in this age category are encouraged to invest in toys that will capture their imagination and foster creativity, and helps build core strength and balancing skills.
Examples of toys for kids at this phase include art activities, play doh, and building games.