Playing with your baby is one of the most important things you can do as a mum. Not only does it enable you to have fun and bond with your little one, but playtime can also benefit your child's overall development as they grow. According to child experts, play gives children different experiences, and through these experiences, they build connections in the brain which helps them to be physically, socially, cognitively, and emotionally healthy. Even newborn babies can benefit from play, as it helps them develop as they grow, and it makes the bond stronger between mums and babies. The right type of playthings can enhance your child's play experience, so find out how to choose the right toys for your baby.
For Your Newborn
Newborn babies like games such as peekaboo, and they love listening to gentle music while you interact with them. They also love to touch toys made of soft fabrics, such as a plush whale toy, a book made out of cloth, or a set of soft blocks. Meanwhile, classic newborn toys such as a plastic rattle or a musical crib mobile can help stimulate and develop your little one's hearing. Make sure that no newborn toys have loose parts that could become a choking hazard, and avoid buying toys that have lead in them. After playing, keep all toys in a toy box, and never leave them in your baby's crib.
For Babies 6 to 12 Months Old
Babies between the ages of 6 to 12 months are curious about their surroundings, and they love to interact with people and the things around them. To help your child learn new skills at this stage, try letting them play with toys that promote inclusive play, such as balls, wheeled toys, bean bags, puppets, stacking cups, and shape sorters. Giving children gender neutral toys at a young age helps them develop a wider range of skills, and it counteracts stereotypes about what they should play with. Other toys that will benefit babies ages 6 to 12 months include cause and effect toys such as light-up toy musical instruments, or activity gyms which encourage them to crawl and explore.
Toys for Toddlers
Babies who are on the go will love toys that they can play pretend with, such as dolls, costumes and accessories, plushies, toy telephones, play kitchen and food sets, and plastic animals, since they're more creative at this age. Art materials are also a hit among toddlers, so provide your little one with non-toxic crayons, washable markers, finger paints, and paper. Be sure to supervise them so they don't scribble on walls or other surfaces during playtime. Other playthings that are appropriate for children ages 1 to 2 include toys that they can build with, such as wooden blocks or Lego, and plastic or lightweight rubber balls for kicking or tossing around.
Toys can aid your baby's overall development. Remember to choose toys based on your child's age and interests, and spend time playing with your little one every day to help them reach their full potential.
ABOUT OUR CONTRIBUTOR:
Sara is now a freelance writer who pens pieces on parenting, and lifestyle but prior to this she worked as an holistic therapist and took a keen interest in diet and fitness. She lives with her partner and their daughter and a menagerie of pets