Your baby is growing every day. Do they require toys to further their development? Here's what experts have to say.
Having a newborn involves an irregular cycle of feeding, changing diapers and sleeping. As they begin to attune to the world around them, they'll express curiosity. This is where having forms of stimulation can be integral to their development. This guide helps you understand when to give your baby toys, which toys are appropriate for their age group and expert insights.
As your newborn grows, they'll slowly start noticing the world around them. For the first month, they'll only be able to see about 8 to 10 inches around them. You might notice that they start following movements or faces as they become more perceptive. With this improved awareness, they'll develop another reflex: a palmar grasp. This is when they'll reach for hair, faces or anything. And if they grab hold, good luck trying to get away.
Along with slowly developing vision, babies are establishing hearing around this time. As your baby becomes familiar with your voice, you'll see them respond more when you speak. This is another opportunity where toys can aid in their development.
Read more: A Parents Guide: How to Clean Baby Toys
For newborn babies to 1-month-olds, here are some of the best options:
Your child is starting to interact more with the world around them. Here are some toys that can help them develop more interactive skills:
Your child has become a master of interaction, so reward them in kind with the following types of toys:
Do babies need toys? The consensus among the experts is yes. But what age is the most appropriate to introduce them to toys? Victoria Taylor, a teacher and founder of Best Case Parenting, explains: "Babies need toys starting at approximately 1 month old. Babies start teething and exploring objects as they get a little older, so it's smart to have safe options on hand that also stimulate development."
Meanwhile, how do toys aid in a child's development? "Babies discover their world through play," states Fisher-Price Play Lab Child Development Expert Lisa Lohiser. Along with introducing textures, sights, concepts and sounds, "Play is also a time when they interact with their caregiver and bond, hear words, and develop social connections."
And when it comes to choosing the most appropriate toys, there's a good balance between gifts and what your baby likes. "I buy the gifts my kids like, and when people would ask me for gift ideas, I would say get whatever you like. This way, both my children and I were introduced to new toys I didn't know existed," remarks Bethany Cook, author of For What It's Worth: A Perspective on How to Thrive and Survive Parenting Ages 0–2.
When buying toys for your child, here are a few considerations:
Having your baby play with toys is integral to their development. You can begin around the first month of age as your child becomes attuned to the world around them. Over time, interaction with toys helps your baby learn and develop social, problem-solving and emotional skills. It's even better when you use your imagination while playing, as your child can pick up on sounds, emotions, body language and other cues. From an early age, toys will be an essential part of interacting with and helping your child's development.