Toys for Newborns & Infants – Birth to 24 Months

When it comes to baby toys, there are appropriate ones that should be played by them.

Not all toys will be beneficial for them, will stimulate baby’s brain, and will prepare them to learn something as they play.

Children grow and learn from the games they play. With this in mind, you should pick brain toys for your children that are appropriate to their stage of development. It is important to give your child toys that help them grow. Let's see which brain toys are suitable for which stages and how to pick them.

So pick the right baby toys for your baby. Let’s discuss more information.

How to Pick out the Right Toys

Age-appropriateness

baby toys

No matter how nice or educational the toy is, it won't attract your child's attention if it is not age-appropriate. Most mothers pick out toys based on their own personal standards. However, inappropriate toys do not help your child's mental development in the very least. Simple toys are boring, complex toys can be frustrating. That's why it is best to find toys for your child that match their developmental stage and age level. It is not enough for your child to like a certain toy, it also must match their age level. Most toys indicate what age level they were made for.

Check for Toxicity

The younger the child, the more prone they are to put something in their mouth. A toy may be covered in pretty colors, but you should always check to make sure that it is non-toxic. Brightly colored toys can entice youngster’s attention and promote sensory development, but some of these colors are achieved through the addition of toxic substances or metals. Always double-check, just to be sure.

Safety First

Through their explorations, children's senses and intellects are given stimulation. Paying close attention to safety during playtime is a hard thing to do, so it is your responsibility to ensure that the toys you give your child don't have sharp corners or edges that can lead to injury.

Sturdy and Solid Toys

Most of the time, children play by throwing, knocking and hitting without paying too much attention to whether something will break or not. Children play by doing whatever they want with their toys, regardless of how the toys were intended to be used. This too is part of the exploratory process. To best accommodate this kind of behavior, the best toys are ones that can change shape and that cannot be shattered or broken.

Open-Ended Toys Are Better

Toys with too many functions or that are overly complicated will hinder your child's imagination. Pick solidly-shaped, flexible toys instead.

The more complicated the toy, the less your child will be able to focus on it, leading to distraction. Pick simple brain toys that will allow your child to link it freely to other objects in their surroundings.

Furthermore, toys that can change shape are always better than toys that come with lots of features and accessories. They are better to use in activating your child's imagination and thought processes. Pay close attention to this point. Shape-changing toys include blocks, clay, dough, paper, etc.

Quality Control

Make sure that the toys you buy are certified for their quality by regulatory standards. This is the easiest way to check for the safety of a toy. You should also check closely to see whether toys have met a company's production standards, indicate the company's address, the date of production, warnings, etc. All of these are important pieces of information. If you can find all of this information on the packaging or toy, it means that the toy has come from a trustworthy company.

0-3 Months Baby Toys

Characteristics

For the first two months after a baby is born, baby toys that can be hung before their eyes or mobiles that emit sounds are enough to bring a smile to their face.

Provide toys that stimulate vision and hearing. Like things that are brightly colored and contrastive. Also those with solid lines and visible outlines, all of which elicit a quick response.

It is always better to pick out a toy that stimulates your child's vision.

At 1 month, your child will still be incapable of distinguishing colors. Being drawn rather to geometrical lines, they will benefit most from a black and white mobile.

When, after 1 month, your child can distinguish colors. They will be most attracted to green, blue, red – mostly primary colors. At this time, you can give your child a flowery and green mobile. Children who are this age like to suck on their fingers and feet. They will enjoy watching the mobile's rotation as they reach out their limbs. It is always important to give your child this time to play on their own.

Appropriate Toys

Rotating Mobiles

With an array of designs, from bears to butterflies to fish, not only do mobiles aid vision and eye-movement, most also play aurally stimulating melodies. When picking out a mobile, make sure it goes at the right speed and that there are no angles at which it can reflect bright light. Hang a mobile within 20-35cm of a child's center of vision and let it slowly spin while tilting it at a 45˚ angle.

Rattles

Children at this age prefer loud and clear sounds. Rattles are one way to make your child interested in the world around them. These toys contribute to hand-eye coordination and engage both hearing and vision. Look for rattles made from non-toxic materials which are brightly colored. When considering the size and weight of a rattle, go for something circular. It is easy for your child to grasp, made from solid materials. Also be sure it isn't too loud.

Noise-Makers

Toys that make noises can do much to inspire the interest of a child who is still unable to actively explore the world around them. Toys that make noises when you press them stimulate hearing and vision. Most toys like this are made from rubber, so when choosing between them, be sure you know which are safe to give your child and which are doing harm to the environment. Aside from this, make sure that dyes from these toys won't get in your child's mouth when playing with them.

Months 3-6

After 3 months, your child will become interested in and concerned with the sounds that they themselves make. Other people's voices will also become an object of interest. After 4 months, your child will enjoy rattles that can be shaken, touched or knocked to make sounds. Your child will repeat the same motion over and over to get a sound out of a rattle.

Because children like grabbing things, no matter what they are, it's always better to pick toys that can be grasped by one hand. Another thing kids love to do is put things in their mouths, so pick toys that are non-toxic. You should also try to avoid giving your child anything too small or bristled.

Appropriate Toys

Roly-Poly Dolls

Children use their hands frequently at this age, so roly-poly dolls, which stand back up after being pushed over, are a fun and exciting way to stimulate curiosity that they won't want to put down. Playing with these today is a good way to develop fine muscles and intelligence. Pick ones that emit a soft and high-pitched sound.

Teething Accessories

Young children will want to put just about anything in their mouths. Teeth start coming in at 4 months, but more frequently at around 6 months. At this time, your child's salivation increases. It is the perfect time to provide them with teething accessories. When picking one out, choose something that will not harm your child no matter what way they put it in their mouth and that will be non-toxic.

Toys with Sound Effects

Children love toys like rattles which make noise when shaken. Toys that incorporate different sounds offer a variety of aural stimulation for your child, which they will seek out through play. Remember, your child will be keen to put most objects in their mouth, so pick out a toy that cannot be swallowed and is brightly colored, that's not too loud, like a toy piano or mini-guitar.

Stuffed Dolls

Stuffed dolls can help bring out your child's social intelligence and bring them calm. In addition, touching soft and pliant textures aids mental development. Dolls should be safe for your child to chew and all of its parts should be securely attached to the doll so as to avoid swallowing risks. You must also pay attention to whether or not the seams of the doll are flat, whether or not it is brightly colored and whether or not it is made of all-natural materials.

Stuffed Blocks

Blocks made from fabric are a good choice for children this age. Stacking blocks is still a tough task at this time, but as they watch Mom play, they will follow along and grow more interested. There is no single way to play with stuffed blocks. They are a great way to foster imagination and creativity. Soft toys like this will never result in injury should they tumble over.

Picture Books

Your child will still just like to chew on and toss around picture books, rather than read them. Nonetheless, you can still read picture books to your child with them in your arms, explaining the exciting pictures as you go. It is even better if you can find some fabric picture books, which are widely available.

6-9 Months

Characteristics

At 6 months, you will find that your child has gained remarkable physical talents. They can turn over, climb and crawl, not to mention their improved dexterity. When your child has reached this stage, they will also be able to know that the things that you cover or hide still exist. If you cover a toy they were playing with under a cloth, they will still be able to find it. Your child will show concern for the people and things that seemingly disappear from their world.

From 6-9 months, your child will try to stand up from a seated position only to turn over onto their belly and play in that stance. They will use their hands to feel most objects that come within their reach. Now is when your child will begin exploring the things around them. At this age, it is common for children to enjoy making loud noises with whatever is on hand, tilting things over, poking things with their hands, wrapping their hands around things, twisting things, chewing on things and tossing things around. Good toys for this age include transparent, noise-making balls, toys that can scoop up water, and soft wooden blocks.

Appropriate Toys

Balls

Balls not only help with hand-eye coordination, they teach children how to use both of their hands and gauge their own strength. Pick out a ball that suits your child in terms of size and weight. It should be made from non-toxic materials so that no harm will come even if your child puts it in their mouth. Don't forget to pick a color that the child will like.

Toys that Vibrate or Shake and Toys that can be Grasped

For example, any toy that can be hanged up on a string in front of your child, which will allow them to tap and poke it over and over. Toys like this are fun both alone and with someone by their side helping. It will help with baby's finger movement and workout major muscles.

Moving Toys

Your child will try to catch any battery-powered or wind-up toys placed in front of them which exercise their body. Watching wind-up toys move will also teach your child about cause and effect. These kinds of toys should not move too quickly. It is better if they also make noises.

Safety Mirrors Made from Special Materials

You'll never have to worry about these mirrors shattering. Not only will your child be able to look at their own face, they will also form a self-image.

Floor Puzzles

The best floor puzzles are made from different kinds of materials, like textured fabric and smooth fabrics that can all be pieced together. Then, as your child rolls around, stamps their feet and crawls, they will not only be able to stimulate their skin, but will also exercise their major muscle groups.

9-12 Months

Characteristics

At 9-12 months, your child will be capable of standing with support and even walking a couple of steps, expanding their range of activity. Since they have just learned how to stand, it is highly recommended that you provide toys that will encourage them to use their major muscle groups.

This age is also when your child's desire to investigate objects sees a marked leap forward. Your child will enjoy grasping, shaking, flinging and pushing over just about everything. Visual and aural responses are very quick now, so the best toys are those that make noise.

At this age, children enjoy moving around and wriggling their bodies, so swings, brain toys with wheels, and animal-shaped toys are all appropriate choices. Aside from major muscles, minor muscle development will start at this time, so you should pick out more toys that work your child's fingers and stimulate their memory.

Appropriate Toys

Push-Cars

There are toys with wheels that your child can push all over the place. Since your child has just learned how to stand on their feet, it is now your job to help them learn how to walk. When picking out toys, choose ones that suit your child's ability to walk and that have adjustable speeds.

Phones

This is the time when your child will start using their hands to manipulate finer and finer objects, making pushing things one of their favorite activities. Phones are the prime example of a suitable toy. Toy phones will satisfy your child's desire to push on things. Phones with light up number buttons and that come with a mirror are recommended.

Drums, Tambourines and Other Instruments

When your child becomes familiar with moving their hands, they become more prone to striking objects directly. Child-sized drums, tambourines and accordions are all great choices. You should pick instruments that are light and sturdy. Make sure you pick instruments that produce a high-toned, clear sound. Watch out for sharp edges as well.

Kitchenware

One way to encourage independence is to let your child play with bowls. This will go a long way towards teaching your child about proper dining etiquette.

Water Toys

By now, your child will be able to sit in shallow water and play on their own. They will be more interested in playing with these toys than the water itself. Pick toys made from light materials that float on the water's surface and that won't sink. You must also be sure these toys are non-toxic and will not harm your child if they put them in their mouth. Avoid toys that are too small to avoid choking. Make sure that the places where parts of toys are joined together have been doubly reinforced.

12-18 Months

Characteristics

Now your child has started walking and moving freely. Your child will touch whatever their curiosity draws them to. Children especially like the sounds that their own actions make or toys that can be moved around. They should be able to link together toy trains and even know how to string together beads very slowly. They can pinch pieces of clay and dough to make their own creations.

Children will bring toys with them wherever they go, so pick out ones that are light and easy to carry. Suitable toys include toy carts, rocking horses, toy phones, puzzles, simple toy cars and clay. Kids enjoy walking on their own while pushing or pulling their toys along. Furthermore, children can more or less maintain their body's balance and will be able to kick balls along. Children at this age show a keen interest in toys that move and toys that have been hidden from sight. They will also be able to put toys of the same type together and remove ones that don't fit in.

Appropriate Toys

Blocks

To facilitate hand movement, give your child big blocks that they can squeeze between their hands or matching blocks (these come in a container with holes that correspond to the shapes of the different blocks). You can put a certain block over its hole and let your child push it in. This activity helps with hand-eye coordination, exercises muscles, their ability to match objects and distinguish size.

Picture Blocks

Aside from stacking, introducing blocks that come in various colors can help your child develop a sense of color. These can also familiarize your child with triangles, rectangles, circles and other shapes. Before 1 year, your child will not do anything with these but throw them and look around for them. It is only at 3-4 years that your child will be able to play with these toys as intended.

Picture Books

As your child develops the ability to name objects, they should look at picture books that only depict the things around them. Put pictures of similar objects together to help your child learn how to distinguish categories. The best picture books have bright colors, clear pictures and cannot be torn to pieces.

Small Vehicles

Push toys, carts with spinning wheels, etc. These are all toys that kids love. Pick toys that are at your child's hand-level or that come with a string so that they can be pulled along.

Tambourines, Accordions, Horns

Kids love to watch mom sing and play instruments. There is no need to force your child to play instruments, just let them play when they want to. The best instruments have clean and bright tones. Horns offer your children a new experience.

Mini Cars

Give your child cars, trucks, buses, police cars, fire engines and other kid’s toy cars. Teach them how to open and close the doors and what the different cars are for.

18 Months-2 Years

The best toys are those that exercise hand-eye coordination and concentration. By this time, the hand muscles will have reached a certain level of development, so that throwing, piling and turning things over will all be easy for your child. Major and minor muscles can be used equally well, so pick toys like balls or toys that can be sat upon or ridden.

Because your child will be able to remember and imitate the behaviors and actions of those around them, you can show them how you talk or perform certain actions with their toys, which teaches them about speaking and socializing. Toys that can be broken, that are unsafe or crooked are not recommended.

Appropriate Toys

Flat Construction Toys

Starting with one or two simple flat pieces, gradually increase the number you give your child. As your child puts these pieces together, their concentration and patience improves. This also aids hand-eye coordination.

Solid Construction Toys

Whether stackable or connectable, your child can craft whatever shapes they please with these toys. These kinds of toys improve your child's imagination and hand-eye coordination, as well as their ability to use their hands to move and construct things. Do not interfere with your child when they are making new things. Wait until they are finished before asking "What's that?" Your child will try to come up with an answer based on the shape. If you see your child building a house, do not just say "Why not put a door there." It is always better to let your child's imagination go where it will, but if your child dislikes these kinds of toys, you shouldn't force them.

Sand

Guide your child's hand into some sand to let them feel the texture, use a cup to make a sand pile or pour the grains out. There are many ways to play with sand. This way, your child can learn about what sand is like, practice using their hand muscles, and exercise their imagination.

Playing House

Playing House is a great game that teaches your child how to interact with their friends and allows them to imitate grownups, while exercising their ability to express themselves and use their imagination. It is also helpful in developing their sociality. When playing house, give your child some fruits or snacks, and let them wear one of their parent’s garments to make things more interesting.

Picture Puzzles

These exercise hand-eye coordination, shape and size discernment, as well as their ability to investigate things. Brightly colored puzzles with pieces that are easy to tell apart and that can readily fit into the rest of the puzzle are best. Start with easy puzzles before moving onto more complicated ones.

Threading Toys

Beads, threading, sewing buttons, tying ropes, etc. All of these are great ways to practice hand-eye coordination and help teach your child about cause and effect.

And those are the baby toys that are appropriate for each age.

Stephanie
 

Editor in Babiology, mother of two, highly passionate about sharing the pregnancy care and post delivery care learning with the readers.

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