Toys are one of the most exciting and memorable parts of childhood – every adult will be able to remember in detail their favourite toy that they received when they were children, remembering not only the actual favourite toy itself but also the detail of how and when they received it! Most people have a memory of a particular Christmas or birthday in their childhood that was extra special because of the association with receiving a particular favourite special toy that was either a surprise or was begged for on a Santa list or a birthday! However, long before we can remember any of the special toys from these precious memories, we would have started playing with baby toys as babies!
SO, WHEN DO BABIES ACTUALLY START PLAYING WITH BABY TOYS?
It is important to remember that all babies will develop at their own pace, every child is different, with some reaching certain milestones faster than others and if you wish to check your child’s developmental milestones, I have included a link to a HSC website information page that has an average guide to these developmental milestones broken down month by month from 0-6 months if you’d like to read about this further.
As for when they start playing with baby toys; the first form of exploring your baby will do will be with their eyes as they take in the world around them. Their eyes will provide stimulation that is very important for their development. When your baby is a Newborn, they can only see 8-12 inches in front of them so during the first month no matter how many baby toys you have bought for your baby your face will actually be his or her favourite form of entertainment!
During this early, beautiful and treasured bonding period it is important to hold, touch and talk to your baby as much as possible as they are learning about their new and exciting world through their touch, sight and hearing senses. Don’t underestimate the amount they will learn by just watching and listening to you!
As your Newborn baby grows, they’ll slowly become more aware of the world around them and start showing more of an interest in baby toys. This new awareness provides a good opportunity to begin to introduce baby toys that not only entertains them but baby toys that also helps to aid their development. So, for the first 3 months, as babies are learning through their senses; touch, hearing and sight, its best to include baby toys that have gentle, trinkle, musical sounds with appealing bright colours and an array of different textures to help hold their attention such as baby comforter soft toys with different material tags, and brightly coloured mobiles.
Bear in mind though that it is recommended, for safety reasons, that you do not place anything, including a soft toy comforter in your baby’s cot until he is 7 months old. There are so many baby comforters available for you to purchase in shops and online but here are a few examples of the gorgeous organic cotton baby comforter soft toys that are available in our luxury hampers and gift sets for babies. These particular ones are also GOTS certified so you can rest assured that they are made from a non-toxic material.
When your baby reaches about 3 months, he will start to benefit from tummy time which is when babies should spend a little time each day on their tummies on a blanket or playmat. This tummy time helps babies strengthen their neck and shoulder muscles thereby helping to develop the muscles they need to lift their heads. You can even try to help him further strengthen his neck and shoulder muscles by dangling a toy or place a colourful mobile above his head during tummy time making him look up.
Even though babies are able to grasp from birth he won’t start to actually develop his grasping skills properly until he is about 3 months old. During tummy time it’s a good idea to spend a little time holding out different baby toys for him to reach and grasp which will also not only help your baby’s hand-eye co-ordination along with their motor and visual skills but also the fun you will be having playing with your baby will help develop his creative and social skills.
A baby gym or an exciting baby activity mat with different textures and things to play with and grab onto will hugely benefit your baby at this stage of their development as they will help develop your baby’s hand-eye co-ordination, motor and visual skills while also helping with their reaching and grasping skills while providing a safe and cosy space for supervised tummy time!
As your baby gets a little older one of the first things he will do with his toys is to put them in his mouth so, with this in mind, along with buying toys for your baby’s pleasure you will need to make sure that the baby toys you buy for your baby are non-toxic and that they don’t have any smaller parts that could potentially break off and end up in his mouth. Also ensure that the baby toys are safe for chewing, have no sharp edges or any long strings attached.
Once your baby can sit up (at around 6 months) a whole new world of toys will become available to him. You’ll often find that sometimes the box the toy comes in will supply more entertainment for your baby than the actual toy itself! When both my babies were able to sit in a highchair, a couple of Tupperware containers and their lids that I’d place on the little highchair table for them to play with used to keep them entertained for ages (trying to fit the lids on the boxes!) Proving that baby toys don’t have to be expensive or fancy and sometimes simple objects can create the most fun! (This is also a handy way to help to distract your baby while you prepare his meal or while tidying up!)