Most parents want to know what is an age appropriate toy or toys for their baby to use at different ages and the different stages of development. Parents may often be disappointed that an expensive, seemingly interesting toy that they got for baby seeks to evoke no interest, whereas common household objects seem to get more of a response.
Toys should be age appropriate so that they not only interest the baby but also help baby get the most learning and advantage from them. Here are some general guidelines about what kinds of developmental toys are suitable for babies at different age –
Birth to 3 months of age – Typically in the first few weeks baby may not respond to anything much, but at 1 to 2 months may start to show interest in different colors, faces and so on.
Toys should ideally be able to stimulate a baby’s sense of vision and hearing as well as touch.
At this age they may be interested in soft items of different textures that help them get used to different sensations of touch and which will also help to stimulate those senses.
- An activity mat and other activity toys can help a baby learn new physical actions and develop motor skills.
- Soft toys such as soft blocks or balls and squeeze toys give them a feel of different surfaces and feelings – smooth, furry, rough and so on.
- At this age, when babies are learning to focus and follow objects with their eyes, a mobile suspended to the top of a cot or play area will help baby develop this skill and also entertain and fascinate for a long time.
- A mirror for tummy time play.
3 to 6 months of age – A lot of the same toys that baby was using hitherto will suffice at this time as well, but baby is also now ready to learn more of new skills. While the mobile that goes round and round may still fascinate and the rattle will still entertain, baby will now be reaching for and holding things and will be more able to differentiate between different textures with the tactile sense. Here are some good toys for this age:
- Musical toys are a good idea at this time, a baby will listen and learn to recognize a tune and also learn to associate the sound with the toys that it emanates from.
- Board books with simple illustrations can be introduced. Plush books are another great option, to give babies the chance to experience different textures. Waterproof books are also a great idea to keep baby engaged at bath times.
- Teething toys are a good idea at this age because most infants start to teethe about 7 months of age and may start to feel teething discomfort long before this.
- The mirror for tummy time play will still be interesting.