In most cases, the arrival of a baby is accompanied by a lot of purchases that we believe are important (and even essential!) for their first few months. But how many of those things are left unused or barely used? Exactly the same thing happens with toys, and now that Christmas is approaching, it is important to take into account which toys can bring benefits to our baby and which could be dispensable for their first months.
Today I will share with you the toys and games that I consider especially useful for the development of the baby in his first year of life and that, therefore, should not be missing at home.
MUST HAVE TOYS FOR BABIES
Doudou dolls are usually in the shape of an animal or animal head. Their texture is soft and loving, and they are attached to a small blanket.
Although not all children use it or choose it as an object of attachment, given my experience I consider it one of the first essential toys for the baby. The object of attachment can become very important for the child in his first years of life, as it provides security, and comfort and even becomes necessary at bedtime after a certain age. Also, it becomes his first possession; the gateway to playful activity.
RATTLES AND RAIN STICKS
The rattle is one of the baby’s first toys and it is hard to believe that such a simple object can bring so many benefits. Playing and shaking a rattle will help the baby to stimulate hearing, sight, and touch, as well as strengthen the muscles of his hand and help the development of fine motor skills.
There are a large number of rattles on the market made of different materials. Some even incorporate music and lights, although personally, I have always preferred to opt for simple rattles, with soft textures, and without strident sounds.
As the baby grows, we can also offer him the so-called ‘rain sticks’, which are tubes that include different balls or colored pieces inside that move and sound when shaken. They are a perfect size so that the baby can grasp them with their hands, and being round they can also be easily rolled on the floor, favoring their eye-hand coordination.
Play and activity blankets or rugs are the perfect option for your baby to spend a little time each day, strengthening their muscles, exploring the world around them, and discovering different textures, sounds, and colors.
When buying an activity blanket, I advise you to choose one that is made of a soft, pleasant, and comfortable fabric for the baby, and that contains accessories that allow him to stimulate his senses whether you place him on his stomach (for example, small mirrors, sensory and sound textures, built-in teethers…) as if you put it on its back (game arches, musical mobiles…)
There comes a time when the baby wants to bite everything. His teeth are coming in and at the same time, he wants to explore with his mouth. For this reason, teethers are widely used in the first months of life, and usually become the baby’s favorite object.
When choosing a teether, it is important to know its composition, avoiding toxic materials that may pose a danger to the child. It is also recommended to clean them frequently with soap and water, as well as avoid those rubber toys that have holes because although their soft texture invites the baby to nibble them, they can pose a risk, especially if they are submerged in water.
When we leave the house with the baby, we cannot forget to prepare the bag for the walk with everything that may be needed during the time we are away.
In this sense, if our baby is already beginning to interact with the environment and enjoys manipulating and chewing on his toys, it is advisable to take some with us so that he is entertained while we walk or run an errand.
I personally recommend sensory toys that have a handle to hook them to the bar of the cart, so they don’t fall or get lost.
These types of toys are made of various materials and textures so that the baby can shake them, bite them and reproduce her sounds, thus stimulating all her senses.
The sensory ball is another toy that I consider essential for the baby’s first year of life. They are made of soft fabrics, and some also have different textures, sounds, colors, and striking drawings to stimulate all baby’s senses.
We can offer this toy to our baby from approximately five or six months when he is already able to hold the objects that we give him in his hands. When he starts to sit up on his own, we can play with him by passing him the ball by rolling it on the floor so that he tries to catch it, this is an excellent exercise in psychomotricity and eye-hand coordination.
Rolling rattles are toys that develop eye/hand coordination, visual perception, and gross and fine motor skills.
When the child throws it, the rolling rattle will run along the floor making the bell inside the ring, which will attract the attention of the baby who will want to go behind the toy to catch it, which will encourage his crawling or dragging.
PERCUSSION MUSICAL TOYS
Music is essential in children’s lives, as it contributes to their brain development and provides them with multiple benefits, helping to improve their concentration and body expression, promoting speech learning, stimulating baby’s imagination and creativity, and thus developing their intelligence.
An excellent way to incorporate music into children’s lives is through the use of musical educational toys or toy instruments, but it is important to take into account the age of the child since there are toys or instruments that may require greater coordination and dexterity in playing music.
Percussion musical toys, such as drums, bongos, Chinese boxes, xylophones, tambourines, or cymbals, are perfect for a baby from seven or eight months, when he is already able to sit up.
Most of these types of musical toys are made of wood and as they do not require force to reproduce sounds, the child is motivated to discover them.