Best Buy Christmas Baby Toys
Choosing toys for babies is great fun, especially with so many different products to choose from and Christmas on the horizon. However, deciding which toy will keep your baby happy, interested, busy and stimulated can be difficult.
We have lots of ideas to get you started, but you can also visitwww.babysensoryshop.co.uk for additional gift ideas.
Newborn to 3 months
Newborn babies enjoy looking at black and white objects and bright, colourful toys. They are also attracted to things that move or make soft gentle sounds. Here are a few ideas that will capture their attention and aid development:
- Cot mobiles (remove the mobile once the baby learns to sit up).
- Tummy time play mat.
- Musical toys.
- Pictures with high-contrast graphics, bright colours, or black-and-white patterns.
- Textured fabrics.
- Comforter with ribbons attached.
- Soft toys with large eyes and happy faces.
- Rattle or jingle toys.
- Lullaby CDs.
3 to 6 months
Babies between 3 and 6 months-old may be able to reach out and grasp things with their hands. Favourite toys often include objects that can be held, biffed, kicked or dropped. Examples might include:
- Brightly coloured toys attached to the pram.
- Play gym or activity centre.
- Textured play mat.
- Books with mirrors, faces and bright colours.
- Toy telephone.
- Giggle ball.
- Teething toys.
Toys that move and make sounds provide amusement and encourage babies to exercise. Babies who are learning to sit up will enjoy toys with buttons to push or press. Generally, toys that can be gripped, squeezed or mouthed will be popular with this age-group.
6 to 9 months
From 6 to 9 months-old, most babies can sit up unsupported for an extended period of time. Some babies may have started to crawl. The following toys will help to lead their learning and development forwards:
- Pop-up toys.
- Activity tables.
- Large plastic animals.
- Toys that can be pushed or pulled.
- Musical instruments.
- Toys with mirrors.
A ball encourages a whole range of mobility skills as well as hand-eye coordination and sensory exploration. Balls that are lightweight, bouncy or make playful sounds can provide an endless source of amusement and fun!
9 – 12 months
Between 9 and 12 months-old, some babies will be crawling and some may be walking. Hand-eye coordination is usually well established at this stage. Babies are amused by toys that they can stack or knock down; they also enjoy putting shapes in holes and making music. The following are both fun and educational for this age-group.
- Push along floor toys.
- Shape sorters.
- Nesting cups.
- Large plastic bricks.
- Wooden puzzles with large handles.
- Hammering toys.
- Large interlocking beads.
Some babies enjoy playing with bricks while others love puzzles or push-along toys. Very often, it is the simplest toys that offer the best value. Toys that include everything from flashing lights to electronic sounds reduce the potential for creativity and may be relegated to the bottom of the toy box a few days later.
Containers that fit together are fun to play with. They can be stacked, nested or used as hiding places for toys. When the novelty wears off, the lid will provide entertainment. A soft fabric activity set such as a farm or doll’s house travels well and provides endless opportunities for imaginative play.
A blanket or quilt can be used as a play mat with toys attached to hooks sewn along the sides, or used as a comforter on long car journeys. A treasure basket filled with interesting objects such as paper cups and plates, a sock with a ball in the toe, a soft brush, reflective paper or a shiny box can provide endless hours of play.
Other simple homemade creations or everyday objects include:
- Objects that vary in texture and sound such as cotton reels and large play buttons hung from a play frame.
- Books with different textures glued to each page.
- Plastic containers made into sound shakers.
- Net bags filled with crumpled paper.
- Measuring cups and large plastic spoons.
- Plastic cubes filled with family photographs.
A cardboard box filled with shredded paper, fabrics or soft balloons offers endless possibilities for creativity.
If homemade presents or everyday objects are given to babies, they should be carefully supervised and removed from the cot during daytime naps and at bedtime.
Classic toys that parents had as babies such as bricks, stackers, balls, tea sets and puppets are usually favourites. Babies will enjoy these toys for many years to come.
Books are also one of the best toys for babies and it is never too early to introduce them. Some contain textured materials, shiny pages and lots of other sparkly surprises. Three-dimensional books, books with large, brightly coloured pictures and hide-and-seek books that encourage interaction with the parent make great toys for babies.
However, second-hand toys may not meet the current safety standards and they might not be safe for mouthing.
If you are looking for great toys, music and fun ways to play with and stimulate your baby, ask your Baby Sensory Class Leader for information about our baby bundles.
You can also visit www.babysensoryshop.co.uk for best-buy baby bundles and other great Christmas gift ideas.
By Dr. Lin Day (www.babysensory.com)