The gut reaction to this question is that of course babies don’t NEED toys. Early humans didn’t have toys and they built the pyramids, right? It seems like they were doing just fine without ‘em. … But is that actually true? This month, we’ll be digging a lil’ deeper into the world of babies and the key role that toys play in their lives!
If we travel way, way back, the archaeological evidence presents a very different story about our early ancestors. While it’s true that prehistoric humans played with sticks and rocks, they also played with toys. In fact, the oldest known doll is 4000 years old! The Indus Valley civilization, dating back 3000 years BC, had toy monkeys on strings and wheeled carts. In Rome, dolls were made of wax and terracotta. The children had bows and arrows, spinning tops, and yo-yos.
So toys have been around for as long as we have archaeological evidence to support it. But what about toys for babies? Do babies even need toys?
According to Kids Health Dr. Mary L. Gavin, MD, the answer is yes. Babies do need toys, as it helps them develop cognitive functions and understand their environment. Your little one is learning every minute of every day, and they’re soaking in all of the information that is presented to them. This creates a ton of opportunity for you to connect with your baby and give them the things they need to continue to developing in body and mind!
How Many Toys Does My Baby Need?
When your grandparents arrive with bundles of toys, your baby isn’t going to need every single one of them. When you have a baby shower and get, well, showered with gifts, there’s no need for all of them to be toys. Babies will find things to grab and play with wherever they go, whether it is a spoon, or a box, or a pile of blocks! All of these things are good for your little one, as they introduce them to a world of colors, shapes, textures, and wonders.
But there are toys and then there are toys. If you want to boost your kiddo’s mental and physical development, you want to make sure they have everything they need to excel – and there is a science to that. After all, a lot of thought and study goes into the development of toys that help babies learn and reach their full potential!
According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Professor Jeffrey Trawick-Smith said “The most important finding emerging from our studies is that different toys impact children’s behavior in different ways. Some toys have a powerful influence on children’s thinking, interaction with peers, and creative expression. Other toys do not. Some of the toys that look most interesting to adults are not particularly effective in promoting development.”
When asked what are the toys that perform the best, Trawick-Smith said “We are cautious about recommending specific toys to families. However, one trend that is emerging from our studies can serve as a guide to families as they choose toys: Basic is better.”
What are Some Examples of Toys that Fit the Bill?
A prime example of what can improve your children’s thinking and creative expression is our aBc Block Party play set! With colors and textures that delight little hands and curious minds, your baby can explore a world of sensory wonders with the simplicity of stacking blocks. Similarly, you could also try the Elemenosqueeze – a set of unique shapes that can be stacked into towers (and knocked back down again!), all while giving your baby a variety of toys to nibble on.
For more creative yet classic play ideas, give our Ball-A-Balloos a try. Although they appear as simple balls on the surface, they have wildly different textures, patterns, and colors! And if your baby is too tiny to chase a ball, our Under the Sea Jamboree will fit the bill: a soft and friendly octopus that makes a different sound each time you touch a tentacle. Your kiddo will get this octopus putting on a performance in no time!
We at B. toys continue to craft classic, educational, and creative toys that can inspire any baby to discover, explore, and play. Tune in next week to learn about how to introduce toys to your little one!