Pregnancy week by week

Baby

Toddler

Play time


Newborns spend most of their time watching your facial expressions and listening to your voice. But soon toys begin to play a fun role in your baby’s development. Play is an important way by which your baby learns to move, communicate, socialize, and understand their surroundings.  A simple business of playing with your baby can promote bonding and boost her development. From hand-eye coordination (developed between 2 and 4 months) to fine and gross motor skills (developed between 4 and 10 months), play nurtures and inspires baby to keep on learning.

Play is a big part of your child’s development and you have an important role to play as a parent. You can choose toys and activities that motivate your baby to play, explore and learn about her environment. 
You may find that your baby responds more to toys she hasn’t seen before. Babies are busy learning, and objects which look different, do different things, or make new noises interest them more. Try swapping washable toys with friends with babies of similar age to give your baby something new to try.  Or put some toys away for couple of weeks, so that they seem new to her when she sees them again.

Here is a list of some age appropriate toys for babies to play at different ages and different stages of development.

                                      New born to 3 months

It may seem like your new baby doesn’t do much except eat and sleep- but those few hours a day that she’s awake and alert are vital for her development. In the first few weeks your baby will be drawn to high contrast colours and patterns. In the first few months, you can introduce toys that can stimulate her senses of sight, hearing, and touch.

Play mat and baby gym

A play mat will give your baby room to stretch and kick, as well as somewhere safe to enjoy “tummy time”. Babies need to make up for the amount of time they spend sleeping on their backs, and “tummy time” also helps with their over all development. Place your baby on her tummy for short periods (never leave her unattended) and position her arms so she can gradually start to lift her head and arms. This will also help her strengthen her neck and shoulder muscles. Always supervise your baby during tummy time.



Toys


At this age, when babies are learning to focus and follow objects with their eyes, a musical mobile (or musical swirling toy) suspended to the top of a cot or play area will help her develop this skill and also entertain her. Make sure it is well out of her reach. Or try a projector, which plays lullabies and projects soothing light patterns onto the walls or ceiling. Other toys that will stimulate her senses are squeaky, rustling soft toys that are graspable (and safe to put in her mouth).

Music and singing


Singing and talking are vital ways of boosting your baby’s language and communication skills. Your new born loves the sound of your voice and singing to her can help her brain develop. Choose some soothing lullaby and softly sing to her often. The familiarity of the sound will have a soothing effect, especially when your baby is fussy. You can also put on soothing music, and hold your baby, gently swaying to the tune. Find the words to popular nursery rhyme lyrics. Talking to your baby about whatever it is you are doing not only keeps her entertained but also lays the foundation for her language development.



Interactive play


Make eye contact with your baby. Smile, pull faces, laugh, roll your eyes, and poke out your tongue, your baby will be fascinated and amused. Babies love to be touched, so include tickling, massage, and toe-counting in your play times. Play peek-a-boo.

Bouncing cradle

Whether you go for a simple bouncing cradle or an all-singing, all-dancing model that rocks your baby with music and a light show, your newborn’s sure to enjoy the ride. Grizzly and colicky babies often find the rocking motion particularly comforting.


                                          3 months- 6 months

By 3 months of age, your baby will begin to open her wrists and grasping skills will start to develop. From now on, your baby will reach out for objects in her vicinity and almost everything she grabs is likely to end up in her mouth. Your baby will love to explore anything that’s brightly coloured, noisy, or highly textured, especially, if it comes with a mirror. Your baby loves to see her reflection. Here are some good toys for this age:

Musical toys

This is a good toy for this age. A baby will listen and learn to recognize a tune and also learn to associate the sound with the toys that it emanates from. The baby mirror is great for tummy time. An activity mat or baby gym are still great toys that can help your baby learn new physical actions and develop motor skills.

Reading

You can start reading to your child as early as you like. As your new born learns to focus, black-and-white contrasts and bold colours are her favourite things to gaze at. Board books with simple illustrations can be introduced. Fabric books are another great option, to give babies the chance to experience different textures. Some books have textured mirrored pages (older babies love looking at their faces) to help stimulate her senses. It’s never too early to start reading to her; she may not understand what you are saying, but she will be soothed by your voice.


Rattles & shakers

Babies aged within 6 months love toys which make sounds and those which they can handle themselves. At this stage rattles are the most appropriate baby toys. She will enjoy learning to hold and play with these colourful rattles and shakers. Light weight wrist and ankle rattles will encourage her to wave her arms and kick her legs. However, you need to ensure that these toys do not make sounds that are too loud for your little one as it can adversely affect the baby’s hearing.

Toys for babies this age needn’t cost a lot of money; wooden spoons from kitchen are great for banging, and empty plastic bottles filled with little rice or pasta and securely closed, make good shakers.

 

 Textured toys

Your baby’s hand-eye-coordination is steadily improving, this is a great time to offer her  toys with variety of textures, noises, strong contrasting colors, symmetry, and patterns like red, white, or black, curves.

Place toys just out of her reach and you will encourage her to roll over.  Soft toys such as soft balls and squeeze toys will give her a feel of different surfaces and textures like smooth, furry, rough and so on.


 
   Teethers



Teething toys are a good idea as this age because most infants start to teethe about this time and may start to feel teething discomfort. Babies love to chew, bite, and suck teethers as it soothes their gums .The harder the tether the better, as your baby needs something solid to ease the pressure as her teeth cut through the gums.



                                        6 months-9 months

Babies at this age enjoy making something happen themselves, like making loud noises, or causing a jack-in-the-box to pop up. They also begin to roll over, grasp objects, sit with support, start to babble and locate partly hidden objects. Toys that are great for this age are:

Stacking cups and rings

Choose toys that will encourage the development of fine motor skills, reasoning skills, by making your baby work things out. Some good options are activity centre, blocks, stacking rings/cups, jack in the box, cloth books, or small card books.

You can also encourage her physical development by introducing toys that will get her moving. Balls, pop off toys, and toys that roll are a good option.
 


Music

Your baby will love it if you sing to her rhymes/songs with actions. This will help boost her language and communication skills and promote intellectual development, too. Slow rocking and swaying music can be soothing while gentle jiggling and bouncing can be fun. Favourites are: twinkle twinkle; this little pig; pat-a-cake; round and round the garden etc.

Peek-a-boo

Babies like to explore how things disappear and reappear. This is why peek-a-boo is a favourite game for this age. Pop out from behind the sofa, or just pull your hands over your eyes and then lift them away with a big smile! Sit on the floor with the baby, and partially cover your face with a baby blanket. Take off the blanket and say, "Peek-a-boo." Do this a few times before trying it on the baby. Then partially cover the baby's head with the blanket.
Pull the blanket off and say "Peek-a-boo." Babies usually love this game. Stop immediately if your baby shows any signs of disliking this.

Explore safely

Create safe places or play area in your home where your baby can work on her latest skills that can be sitting, crawling, pulling up, picking things up, cruising along, or walking.

Bath time

Bath time is a great opportunity to play and bond with your little one. Once your baby can sit up, she will begin to love playing in the bath. Give her a selection of bath toys, cups, containers, or just make your own. She will enjoy  pouring, splashing, and singing games.  Play with sponges, funnels, floating toys, bubbles, cups, or, strainers, all of which will make bath time fun. Always supervise your baby closely at bath time.
Never leave your baby unattended in the bath.
 


 
                                                         9 months-12 months

Around this time, your baby will be crawling full-speed and may begin to pull herself to standing before progressing to cruising and eventually walking unassisted. Babies of this age continue to love games that let them make noises or make something interesting happen. They enjoy using their new found skills i.e. crawling and pulling themselves up. Here are some examples of toys that are appropriate for this age:

Push and Pull along

Once your baby is steady on her feet, a sturdy push-along toy will offer lots of fun, as well as helping to encourage her walking skills. Toys that have wheels or that roll along are great for mobile babies. She will love to push the toy along and then crawl-chase after it. It will also help in the development of physical coordination.

Activity centre

Your baby can now make things happen, which is very exciting for her. Toys that respond to your baby’s actions will be popular. Pressing buttons, making lights flash and music play will be favourites and she will love to play with them over and over again. For instance, activity centres provide a combination of colours, sounds, buttons, shapes, and texture. This will not only stimulate your baby’s senses but also hold her attention for a long time.


Books

You can encourage her growing vocabulary by introducing toys and games that will help in the development of speech and language skills. Baby books preferably, board books or cloth books are suitable.

Role playing

Role playing encourages imaginative play and also allows your baby to discover how things work in her world. Good options are telephone, mobile, or a tea set.  Give her some saucepans and a wooden spoon. Alternatively, give her an item that will fit into the pans. She may spend ages putting it in and taking it out again. Let her crumple and rip a magazine you've finished with - she'll love the noise it makes. For a fun physical game, set up an obstacle course made of cushions for your baby to negotiate - then give her a huge clap and a cheer when she reaches the finishing line.


Remember
  •     Purchase toys from a reputable retailer
     
  •     Dispose of packaging after opening the toy

  •     Keep toys away from fire

  •     Watch out for older children playing with toys that have small parts, close to your baby

  •     Always use a harness when using swings

  •     Put toys away after use to avoid falls, and do not leave toys on the stairs.

                                               

 

 



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