The first six months of a baby’s life are remarkable. From the moment a child is born, their little minds are curious and they have an innate hunger for discovering and learning. Your role as parents is to help them feed this hunger through play, song, stories and love, but there are other things you can do to supplement the learning process. In particular, you can choose the right toys.
Toys can be valuable tools when raising happy children, and the toys you choose in the early development years are crucial in the development of language skills, motor skills, cognitive thinking, sense of safety and social skills. Before buying any toy simply because it looks cute or is trendy, take a few moments to consider the impact it will have on your child’s development.
Things to ask yourself include:
Bear in mind that toys don’t need to be expensive, and they don’t need to be the latest or hottest item on the market.
Activity mats are great for floor play, and there are several options. If laying your baby on their back, a playmat should feature an overhead bar with dangling toys they can bat, pull, spin and rattle. Look for mats that make sounds and/or lights up when touched, and mats that offer a variety of textures. If it’s tummy time you’re hoping to promote, look for a mat that offers a few attached toys they can reach out and grasp.
Quilted, cozy and offering lots to do, this fun play gym is perfect for giggles, dreams and games. Featuring an arc of touchable, squeezable toys that magically float above, your baby will love mat time.
Loaded with features for baby to explore, the Symphony Motion Gym is perfect for both play and tummy time. The mat itself features fun pond graphics and as well as a tummy time mirror, baby can enjoy five pillow characters that jingle, squeak, crinkle and rattle.
Babies love making noise, and giving your baby a rattle is helping them to understand cause and effect. As your baby is learning to appreciate rhythm, consider playing some music to accompany the sound.
High contrast colours and patterns encourage discovery and the understanding of cause and effect by strapping foot and wrist rattles to your baby. Each bug offers fun sounds that reward your child each time they move.
This colourful bunny rattle will stimulate your baby’s senses and keep them entertained as they bend, shake and chew.
Easy to grasp, these colourful cars rattle and roll and feature multiple clear windows that reveal beads to captivate and stimulate baby.
Reading is important from day one of a child’s life, and introducing books early helps instill a love of stories. Board books are great because they can withstand mouthing, drooling and most other forms of baby love, and because they encourage special bonding moments that tell your child they are living in a safe environment. Good examples include:
Two books featuring bright, bold pictures of familiar animals. Don’t forget to make the sounds as you read!
Lift the flaps with baby and find out where baby is hiding. Lots of touch, feel, and lift opportunities will help baby develop thinking and memory skills.
100 everyday words to teach your child as you bond over a book. Words include: cup, dog, cat, ball and bear and each word comes with a colourful picture.
When your little teeth are trying to pop through, there’s nothing better than a soft plastic or rubber teething ring to chew. Certain types can be stored in the fridge for extra comfort on the gums. Good examples include:
Made from flexible, renewable, natural rubber materials and non-toxic paint, Sophie the Giraffe is an all-natural safe teething ring for your little one.
Specially designed to hold your baby’s attention, the Winkel uses bright colours and shapes for visual stimulation. It can also be refrigerated and turned into an ultra-soothing teether.
Babies love to touch the surfaces of stuffed animals, feeling their briskly whiskers, soft fur and hard eyes. Just be sure that there are no removeable parts that could be swallowed and avoid toys stuffed with small beads. Good examples include:
Bashful bunnies are the ultimate in plush and your baby will love the soft fluffy ears. Suitable from birth, Bashful Bunny is sure to become a best friend that’s easy to hold onto.
Made from the highest quality plush, the Nici koala is incredibly soft, just the right size and featured beautiful sewed-in button eyes and a big squashy nose.
Toys that can be attached to a cot or pram will bring hours of delight, with baby able to tug, pull, bat and cuddle without fear of losing it. Good examples include:
Baby’s first doll features a rattle necklace, clinky rings, and interesting sounds and textures designed to stimulate and captivate your child.
Featuring different stimulating colours and patterns as well as a surprise self-discovery mirror, rings, soft handles and a ‘lift-the-flap’, the Peek A Boo Surprise Cube is great fun attached to the pram or cot.
As your baby nears the six month mark and becomes more comfortable sitting up, stacking blocks can help develop fine motor skills. Building a tower with your little one is a surefire way to keep your baby entertained and while they may not be able to help you stack at first, they will be great at the knocking down part.
Good examples include:
Made of sturdy cardboard, these blocks can be knocked over time and time again, all while you teach your baby about numbers, colours and shapes. Nestle down next to your child and talk with your baby while you stack.
Ten nesting and stacking cubes featuring brightly coloured illustrations, letters and numbers that help enliven your child’s imagination.