Babies rely primarily on their 5 senses (seeing, smelling, hearing, touching, and—yes—tasting) to play and explore. If you keep this concept in mind, it will serve you well when selecting the best toys for your baby.
- Eye catching. Babies typically prefer objects with bright colors, high contrast, simple designs, and clear lines.
- Shakes, rattles, and rolls. Your baby’s exploratory efforts will be rewarded with both sounds and movement.
- Touchy feely. Remember to let your baby explore various textures. Think soft, smooth, fluffy, and fuzzy.
- Holds its own. Look for toys that will be easy to hold so your baby can get a good grasp.
- Drool resistant. As soon as they’re able, babies use their mouths to explore their world. Fortunately, there are plenty of baby toys today designed with this in mind.
- Stands up under pressure…not to mention all of the pushing, pulling, dropping, and smushing that baby toys are inevitably subjected to.
When it comes to toys (and, ultimately, learning), active play always wins out over passive entertainment such as watching a TV. Although your newborn certainly won’t be getting a full-fledged workout just yet, she’ll be moving more in a matter of mere months. As she does, offer her toys that she can reach for and hold, look at, listen to, wave, shake, chew on, make noise with, and more. An activity mat that you put on the floor can make an excellent fitness center for your new baby as she learns about the textures and sounds of different objects as well as works on her depth perception skills by trying to grab such items as hanging rings and plastic mirrors.
The Perfect Fit
Finally, be sure to offer toys to your baby that are at an appropriate level for her development. While you may love the idea of building Legos together, she won’t yet have the required dexterity (or self-control to avoid eating the pieces) to make them a good fit. If a toy is too advanced (or too simplistic) for a child, they will quickly lose interest or get frustrated.