Your tiny newborn will have spent a lot of time sleeping, feeding, and gazing into your face. However, surprisingly quickly, your baby will become more alert and start to take a real interest in their environment and the people around them.
Playing will not only keep your little one entertained but it will also really help with their development. Here’s a guide to the best baby toys to entertain and encourage your baby in their first six months.
To one month
In the first months your baby will love things that they can look at and listen to. From black and white contrast books to tummy time toys, we’ve rounded up the perfect toys that work with your newborns senses to help with your baby’s development.
Soft toys Even at this young age, your baby is intrigued by what’s going on around them. It’s not too early to start playing with your little one, but what are the best newborn baby toys?
Soft, cuddly toys designed for newborns are perfect, especially if they have clear faces (babies love faces). Toys with embroidered features are the safest. Cuddly animals or dolls with different textures help your baby to discover and develop their sense of touch. Their eyesight is still developing, so choose simple and contrasting colours.
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Many babies start to smile and gurgle around now. Encourage your baby’s sense of fun by introducing a few new toys. Wrist rattles are fabulous for attaching to those waving little arms. Young babies aren’t very coordinated, and tend to hit themselves in the face with whatever they’re holding, so soft rattles are the best.
If your baby is starting to get a bit grumbly in their cot or basket, try a cot mobile. Your little one will love watching the moving figures and listening to the music. (Just try to choose a tune you don’t mind hearing a hundred times a day.)
As your baby’s strength increases, encourage them to raise their heads with plenty of ‘tummy time’. This can be made easy with a baby gym. Baby gyms consist of lots of wonderful dangly things hanging from a floor-standing arch. Your baby will find them fascinating to watch and even more fun to try and bat. Some gyms come with their own mats, and have stimulating objects and pictures to engage babies during tummy time.
Now that your growing little one is starting to roll around, a large, soft playmat is a great investment. Set it up with a variety of eye-catching toys around your baby so they can practise moving and stretching to reach them.
It’s also a good time to share some stories with your baby. Snuggling up with your little bookworm on the sofa or bed with a book is a lovely habit to get into, and one that you’ll be able to do together for years to come. There are some wonderful soft fabric books available, complete with lots of fascinating textures and colours.
As your baby discovers cause-and-effect, interactive toys are ideal. Anything that makes a noise when prodded, poked or bashed will keep them entertained for ages. This can be something as simple as a maraca or a toy drum.
Your baby is still fascinated by faces – and this now includes their own. Young babies love looking at themselves in mirrors, and you can get safe ones that are designed for children to play with. These are particularly handy given that babies often tend to lick or try to kiss their reflections..
As your baby’s emotional development continues, you can start introducing games such as peepo with soft toys and puppets. This will encourage your baby’s sense of fun and mischief, appeal to their love of faces, and help them start to understand that things don’t simply vanish. Similarly, your baby may now like books with lots of fascinating flaps to lift. Try acting out stories with them, adding in plenty of funny voices and sound effects.
If you have a water baby, it’s great fun to introduce a few simple toys to the bath. More reluctant bathers may also be happier if bathtime becomes playtime.
Play it safe
It’s important to keep playtime safe as well as fun. Choose safe newborn baby toys that conform to British Standard BS EN71, and check the label to make sure they’re age appropriate. Snip off any labels and remove any packaging before allowing your enthusiastic little playmate to grab their exciting new plaything. However tempting, little newborns shouldn’t sleep with toys, even snuggly ones – and always remember that babies can have a surprisingly long reach to grab toys and mobiles that appear out of the way.