While it may seem that your little one is easily entertained with music or boxes or wads of wrapping paper – all of which can be delightful for babies – there is so much more that goes into play time! In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics says that playtime is essential for the cognitive and physical development as well as the emotional and social growth of your baby.
But with so many options to choose from, how do you find what’s right for your kiddo? To help you along the way, here are a few guidelines that we’ve come up with after looking into the recommendations of doctors, teachers, and parents.
When Your Baby is 0-2 Months Old:
In this stage of life, a baby is beginning to hold their head up on their own, smiling, making eye contact, following objects with their eyes, and turning their heads toward sounds. Good toys during this time period are soft ones that you hold and let your baby engage with it simply by looking. This is a great way for them to strengthen their neck muscles and it helps them focus their eyes and enhance their visual development.
It’s not too tough to find toys for this time period as your child is not necessarily making a connection with the toy itself, but is rather getting excited about seeing something new. That’s not to say that little ones can’t have favorites! Toys are a great comfort to a child, and a favorite stuffed animal or ring of keys can turn into their must-have buddy.
Another great option is our colorful Elephantabulous! This plush elephant comes with multicolored ears and a striped trunk that are easy for your baby to grip and hold onto while they’re making a new friend.
What to Look for in an Early Child’s Toy?
When choosing a toy for your kiddo, there are several specifics about the toy that will boost your child’s engagement. Some of them are:
- Contrasting colors and patterns: A baby’s vision is still developing for several months after they’re born, so for them to see and focus on toys, those toys need to have good contrast. As much as you may want to shower your baby with a rainbow of colors, studies show that babies respond best to black and white items because of the stark contrast! And same goes for toys with tons of patterns – when babies see patterns, chances are they’ll engage with them.
- Varied textures: Babies want to be able to feel whatever they’re touching, and they love to explore new fabrics and textures. Toys that are furry, satiny, rubbery, bumpy, fluffy, or smooth are all things that little fingers will love to touch! Not to mention that a mix of textures will also help them as they begin to learn how to grasp.
- Safe for chewing: More often than not, lil’ ones are going to put toys into their mouths as a way of experimenting with new things. This is why we at B. consider safety our top priority and use worry-free materials when it comes to our toys. We want to make sure that when your baby is nibbling on a toy, you can feel calm and cool about it.
- Easy to clean: Just because your baby is happy and healthy it doesn’t mean that their toys are always clean! Take a look at our guidelines for cleaning toys for more information, but generally speaking, you want your kids’ toys to be free from any harsh chemicals and dried completely so that mold won’t make an appearance.
- Musical features: Anything that makes sound will draw your baby’s attention, be it lullabies, musical instruments, bells, rattles, and more. Babies love the cause-and-effect process of making objects make sound – like shaking their arm and listening to the clatter of their rattle. Test it out and watch them giggle with delight as they explore our Wee Jams or follow our Escar-Glooooow ball popper!
As Babies Get Older
As bittersweet as it is, babies don’t stay babies for too long! But we are ready to be by your side as they become 4-to-6 months old. At that age, babies are looking at themselves in the mirror and responding to their name. They can roll from side to side, and many can sit up without additional support. This is also when babies start to get interested in board books, for example… even if it’s just to chew on the corners.
It’s also a time when they’re ready for toys that require a lil’ more dexterity, like our Elemenosqueeze blocks – each representing a deep dive into the letters of the alphabet. Or our aBc Block Party, which comes with soft baby blocks and sensory inserts that are tiny hands-friendly. Discover the secret surprise hidden inside each block!
So Many Choices!
There are tons of toys out there, but if there are things that we can guarantee here at B. is that we put a whole lot of effort, research, and development into making toys that your little ones will love and that can be passed on from one generation to the next. And we always wrap ‘em up in recycled packaging with soy-based inks to make the environmental footprint on our children’s world as light as possible.