In the excitement of welcoming a baby, you might feel tempted to fill up your home with toys, but just how many toys does a baby need? It’s advisable to actually rein back on the shopping and just go with a few classic developmental toys at first. Not only will you be tripping over fewer toys and games, you’ll find that babies actually need different types of stimulation at different ages.
What to know about baby stimulation
Before we go into describing baby toys and games, you should know that the most important “toy” your baby has is you! A baby is like a sponge, absorbing everything from the world around him, but especially learns the most from watching your face, listening to your voice and interacting with you. It is better you spend more time talking, reading and singing to your baby, than sitting him in front of a toy.
Toys and games for babies
The following is a guide to the basic toys and games that every baby will enjoy.
- A baby rattle. A rattle is essentially anything that a newborn can shake to make a sound and is fun to look at. It doesn’t have to be a toy; many babies are fascinated by a set of keys, for example, but you would want something baby-friendly with soft edges. Choose bright primary colors as newborns have limited vision.
- A stuffed toy. When choosing a stuffed toy, buy one that has eyes, as babies enjoy and are reassured by eye contact. Many babies enjoy “communicating” with stuffed toys as they grow older and can grow attached to them. Some toys come with music or white noise simulators, making them doubly useful.
- A baby playgym. To develop your baby’s abilities and neck strength, get a playgym, which comes with all kinds of little toys suspended on bendy bars. They usually include soft toys, mirrors, and musical devices and are great for tummy time.
- Stacking toy. This classic toy helps your baby develop his fine motor skills starting from 6 months as he tries to stack colorful rings onto a stick. Alternatively, consider soft cubes which your baby can stack or squeeze for fun.
- A ball. When your baby can sit up, he can start playing simple games like rolling a ball or crawling to fetch a ball with you.
- Shape-sorting toy. When your baby is 15 months old, he can learn about shapes with this toy which teaches him to fit shapes into the right holes.
- Musical instrument. All babies love to make sounds, and they enjoy musical toys and instruments. Remember that they can enjoy makeshift instruments just as much, so don’t be afraid to use a pot as a drum.
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What to look out for
Safety should be your number one concern when buying toys and games for your baby. Look out for sharp edges or corners, which are dangerous for baby. Avoid any toys or games that come with small pieces that can be swallowed. This includes any toys with stick-on or sewn on eyes or accessories.
Also, babies love to suck and chew on their toys, so make sure your toys are BPA-free, have no toxic chemicals, and that any ink and paint won’t come off. It’s better to leave the cheap toys you can buy at the Pasar Malam till your baby is older.
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