Choosing Toys for Babies
Don’t know what to buy the newborn baby that has come into your life? You're not alone. Buying toys for babies can be confusing, so we have put together these gift ideas to give you a head start.
Toys for Babies - Newborn to Three Months Old
In the first few months of life babies are most appreciate of things that she can look at and listen to. Her vision is still fuzzy so things that have bright colours and high contrast patterns are ideal. She will be drawn to human faces and can recognise Mum and Dad’s in about a month, so she'll enjoy pictures of faces.
She can’t really hold things properly yet but her short sight makes her excited about anything you put in her line of vision. You will know she likes it if she’s grabbing at it! So here's some baby gift ideas that are sure to please.
- Wrist Rattles - soft with bright colours will entertain her as she delights in noises she makes herself. Booty or sock rattles are also fun for bubs.
- Soft Books - There are many designed just for babies that make noises and have different textures. She'll enjoy time spent reading together.
- Hanging Mobiles - Bold patterns and high contrast colours are a must and don’t forget the music. They can add a new dimension to baby’s world, but make sure you hang it out of reach and towards the right as this is where a baby this age will look, around 80% of the time. Interesting huh?
- Plastic Mirror - A baby this age will find its reflection most entertaining – even though they will not realise it is themselves they are looking at. At about 3 months they may start smiling at it too.
- Black, white and red baby toys - Any baby toy or play mat in these colours will help with baby’s visual development, and with any luck, match the décor! Baby toys that squeak when squeezed will please baby for months to come and bring awareness to what her hands are doing.
Toys for Babies - Three to Six Months Old
At this stage your bub has discovered how much fun his hands are now. They are no longer clenched up and can grab anything in reach. He can rotate his wrists and look at toys or other things from all angles and then usually send them straight into his mouth! Make sure all baby toys are safe for him to chew and beware of attaching baby toys to the cot with string or elastic as these pose a strangulation risk.
At around 6 months he will be able to sit up and look around with a great new perspective. Look for fun baby toys that aid his development from 3-6 months.
- Play Gym makes life more interesting for a baby that is still horizontal. He can pull, squeeze, swing and rattle toys attached to the overhanging bars. Keeps a 5 month old baby entertained, until he is able to roll over.
- Soft Baby Toys – At this age babies start to form an attachment to a special snuggly friend. Toys must be squashy and soft, without any bells, buttons, ribbons, eyes or noses. Any of these thing can be yanked off and go straight into their mouth. Choose toys with stitched on features.
- Soothing Teething Rings – many teething rings look just like toys now and have multiple textures that massage gums. You can also get cooling teethers which you can put in the fridge to help soothe teething pain. Try to buy teething rings that are BPA-free and phthalate free.
- Squeaky Toys – especially rubber ones are hard wearing, washable and can provide bubble bath fun. Anything they can grip onto and make noise with will be a hit!
- Play Mats – it's good to provide a clean and soft play arena for tiny tots. The Silly Billyz Play Mat is soft and bright, so baby is comfortable at home or out-and-about. Sew some loops around the edge so you can hook on bubs favourite toys for excursions.
Toys for Babies - Six to Nine Months Old
At this stage your baby’s play is much more vigorous as she is more dexterous. She is grabbing at your keys and banging them against the pram, and using her spoon as a drumstick. She is happy clanging and banging anything that makes noise. As well as all this, she is able to gently pick up a crawling beetle.
This is the age that most babies become mobile. At around 8 months she will be pulling herself up to standing position. The following baby toys will help her explore and increase her developing skills.
- Balls - are fun toys for babies at just about any age. Light weight, brightly coloured balls help to increase coordination and build strength as she crawls after the rolling ball. Fabric balls are ideal for this age. You can also interact with her by rolling the ball between the two of you.
- Blocks – wood or soft blocks help your baby’s developing dexterity as they try to stack blocks. Even more fun is knocking them down!
- Activity Boards – increase hand eye coordination with an activity boards that allows them to spin knobs, twirl balls, flick levers and look in mirrored surfaces to see themselves.
- Moving Toys – Your baby will find toys that move and crawl far more interesting because they are doing what she does! Cars, moving puppy dogs, trucks or buses that sing a tune as they are pushed are a big hit.
- Books – Books that have interactive qualities such as furry or crinkly textures, sound or a CD with them work well now. Your baby can also take time “showing” you all these interesting bits and pieces.
Toys for Babies - Nine to Twelve Months Old
At 9 to 10 months old, most babies will be on the move, scrambling on their knees or cruising with assistance from furniture. Many will be able to stand and walk. They understand cause and effect, so interactive toys, where they can make things happen, appeal the most. Best of all they understand some words and recognise the names of familiar objects like their favourite toy cat, “Meow”.
Eager to use of their freedom of movement, babies at this age want to move, grab, and investigate all the things they couldn’t reach before. Watch out!
- Toy Phones – they love to mimic their parents, and will try to talk into the phone, push button and enjoy the beeps and rings.
- Shape Sorters – Trying to work out why the round piece won’t go through the triangular opening is a nice challenge for the problem solvers in the bunch. This is a baby toy that will fascinate (and sometimes frustrate) babies, over and over again.
- Musical Baby Toys – whether they make the music or just push the button, babies at this age can’t get enough of music, songs and sounds.
- Role Play Toys – like vacuum cleaner, shopping trolley, baby pram or lawn mower. Role playing not only helps your baby understand how things work, it also encourages them to engage in imaginative play.
- Bucket and Spade – A handy baby toy when your bub loves filling and emptying bucket load after bucket load. He’ll stay contented for hours in the sand pit in the park or the biggest sand pit of all – the beach.