Baby Learning Toys – Tips and Suggestions Before Buying
The play is probably one of the best teaching methods that you can use for your little ones. It does not only promote mental growth but as well as social and emotional development. It will not only strengthen your bond with them but will also allow you to introduce learning little by little. Let’s take a close look at the different baby learning toys.
I remember when my daughter was just a few months old I tried my best to get the best baby learning toys for her. Of course, with all the tempting products out in the market, it was such a hard decision for me to choose. In addition, I had to keep in mind that these particular toys are not cheap at all. So each decision that I will make must be logical and would assure long use.
That’s why I really took my time in researching and studying what particular type of toy is best for my baby according to her age. This was truly a lifesaver for me because I got to pick the right toys that can greatly help stimulate her learning and senses.
I know that you are thinking the same as me every time you stand in front of a baby store and starring for God knows how long at the wide array of toys available. Don’t get too overwhelmed by it though. You can get the right toy for your baby as long as you know what they need.
Best Developmental Toys for Infants
The infancy stage mostly revolves around tactile and oral satisfaction. This means that your baby, during this phase of their first year, loves to hold things and put it in their mouths. With this in mind, you need to think of the possible baby learning toys that are appropriate for them.
Another thing to consider is that this is the time that they are starting to practice the use of their other senses. These senses include their hearing and visual stimulation. Basically, what you need to look for is a toy that can stimulate your baby’s primary senses, namely their sense of touch, sight and hearing.
When your child reaches the 3 to 6-month mark they are no longer content with just lying down and just looking around. During this time, my daughter has started wanting to move on her own and explore everything around her. That is why I made sure that her “play” equals “learning” because this is the only way that she can be taught and have fun at the same time.
That is why I took careful consideration and decided to choose the best toys that are appropriate for her age. So instead of me just buying a toy out of my whim or in a rush, I carefully studied each toy available and made sure that it was “age proper” and educational at the same time. These are the top toys that I was able to come upon:
- Versatile Teether Toys
One of the toys that I decided to buy was a colorful teether/rattle all in one. It also has several shapes on it that acts like small jigsaw puzzles that my daughter can tinker and play with. It was an answered prayer for my worried self. Yes, it cost a little bit more than what I budgeted for, but she enjoyed it so much that it became her favorite thing up until she reached her first birthday.
- Linking Rings
These are very colorful rings that can be easily stored and carried away if you and your little ones are going somewhere. It also comes with other shapes attached to it like stars and some even have bells attaché to them. Plus, it can double as a teether every now and then, based on my experience.
- Jungle Gyms or Activity Gyms
Another learning toy that I decided to buy was a jungle gym. The jungle gym is like a large, cushioned rug that has a variety of colorful tinker toys on top of it. The best thing about this product is that it exercises your baby’s motor skills. At the same time, the colors of the toy and the sound that they hear as they play with it allow stimulating their sense of sight and hearing.
- Rotating Crib Mobile
Mobiles found on two of cribs is one of the first toys that you have probably thought of buying and it is a good choice indeed. It does not only promote visual and hearing stimulation, but it also encourages your little ones to stretch out and grab the hovering toys above them. It is also a great sleepy time companion because of the lullabies it produces.
- Bath Toys
Bath toys are a great distraction and learning tool for babies. Sometimes they can get fuzzy when you bathe them. There are even times when they do not want to take a bath at all and would cry the whole time. Having bath toys is like hitting two birds with one stone. You can continue to teach them at the same time have a hassle free and enjoyable bath time. Bath toys can be as simple as rubber ducks and other rubber animals that float. Bath balls of different colors are also a great example of it. Alphabet or number foams that your kids can play with and even stick on the bathroom walls are also a good toy to use. Anything that floats, rattles, squeaks and is vividly colored can catch your baby’s attention.
Rattles are a must for newborns. It helps them with their gripping reflex and at the same time their visual, tactile and auditory senses. It can also double up as a teether as well. You would be amazed at how much time your baby can have to focus on how a rattle works and enjoying it each time it makes a sound.
- Stuffed Toys
These are soft and are to use for your little ones. Use these toys to tell stories with, play “peek-a-boo” or even make it your baby’s comfort item. Just makes sure to wash them frequently for your baby’s safety and health.
Baby Learning Toys for Babies 6-12 Months
Now when your baby starts to grow into the latter parts of their first year, is when it gets a little trickier in choosing the right baby learning toys for them. They will more or less show interest in what they want to play with.
- Stacking Cups
My little one had an obsession with stacking cups when she reached her eight months. She would giggle and squeal with excitement every time I stack the cups up in front of her. When she was able to grab each cup she starts to do it on her own. Amazingly, she had easily mastered it with just a few tries. Then she would do it over and over again for the entire day.
- Bounce Seat
Bounce seats are those that look like a small chair that is sturdy enough have you baby bounce on it. A bouncing seat is very sturdy and flexible so each movement your child makes can help strengthen their legs, shoulders and back muscles and bones. It is a great way to keep your baby fit. At the same time, your baby will learn how to make their bodies more stable and strong. It will also teach your baby how to properly make a certain movement on their own, of course with the assurance of safety given by the bounce chair.
- Musical Toys
Musical toys are also a good addition to your babies’ toys. It can go from drums that they can hit to make sounds or a piano with different sounds and colors. It also helps to give them some musical toys that teach them numbers, alphabets colors and even animals and the sounds that they make.
- High Chair Toys
It is important to have a toy designated for each place you baby goes to. This includes when they are staying in their high chairs. There are certain toys that are specially made for high chair use. These are toys with suction cups found under them so that they would not fall down to the floor. There are a lot of versions of these toys out in the market. There are high chair versions of spinners, tinker toys and so much more.
- Walking Toys
There are a lot of walking toys that kids can use nowadays. Some even have popping balls enclosed in a globe that “pops every time they push the walker. These toys will encourage your little ones to walk with support and soon enough on their own.
- Tinker Toys
Tinker toys are those that require logical thinking and imagination from your little ones. It can be a puzzle or a “match the shape into the right hole” type of toy.
Other Helpful Learning Methods
Toys are not the only learning tool that you can use for your baby. There are many other activities that you can do to help them develop their cognitive and fine motor skills. These are also the cheaper and more “mommy-baby bonding” type of teaching that you can give to your child.
- Sound Stimulation
One good example is audio stimulation. It can be done by playing nursery rhymes or even make your own personal baby concert for just your little bundle of joy. Make sure that you create movements that your little ones can follow with ease. It also helps if you play around with the pitches of the song. You will be rewarded with smiles and giggles if you are able to get their attention with your performance.
Another choice is to play educational videos, but make sure that it is limited to an acceptable time-frame. You can play songs and rhymes that teaches the ABC, number, colors, and shapes. But if you are not a fan of screen time, you can go old school and use educational books instead.
- Learn from MOMMY
There are many options when it comes to learning toys and methods, but what you need to remember is that nothing can replace YOU. You are their best teacher, and trust me when I say that they learn more quickly if you take your time with them and teach them or play with them. Make these milestone moments memorable by bonding with your child while you play and educate them.
What to Know Before Buying
Of course, before you would go to an all-out gift buying frenzy, you first need to know what you should check before purchasing it. It’s not enough that you pick what you think is appropriate. You need to examine it closely first. Here are tips on things to check before buying:
- It must be BPA free and non-toxic
This is the most important factor that you must consider before buying a toy for a child. They tend to bite, lick and nibble on toys whenever they play with it. So it must be free of any chemicals and toxins.
- The toy’s “age appropriate” range should be considered
Each toy has an “age appropriate” range labeled on its box or container. This can be your guide to know whether the toy that you will buy is suitable for your child’s age.
- It must be durable and long lasting
Childs play always involves throwing, smashing, hitting and kicking of the toy that they play with. So make sure that the toy you will buy can endure such activities. There is nothing worse than paying for something that gets broken with just one to two uses.
- It must have big parts
Kids love to chew and put their toys in their mouths. Sometimes, learning toys has detachable features. Make sure that each detachable part of the toy is big enough so your child will not swallow it. A smart tip that I can give you to know if the parts are big enough is if the toy won’t fit through a tissue paper carton roll.
- It does not need to be too expensive
Remember that a child’s capacity of enjoying a toy can only go so far. Sometimes they like it for a long time and at most, well, it would only interest them for a week or just even hours. So spending too much on one toy rather than choosing a cheaper one is not advisable. Learn to be creative and practical when choosing a toy for your kid. The best motto to go is “the more the merrier” because kids love different kinds of toys and exploring them based on their, let’s just say “mood”.
- Know what the child likes
Children can be picky, especially with the toys that they play with. So closely observe what activities catch your baby’s interest and those that they enjoy. It can be stacking cups, musical toys, and the likes.
- It must stimulate the child’s senses
Pick toys that are colorful, movable and those that create funny sounds when used. These functions can help stimulate your child’s sense of sight, hearing and touch. In addition, movable toys can help them physically get stronger and ready for crawling and walking.
Now that you have all the need to know details of the right learning toy to buy, all you need to do is to carefully study and examine each and every toy candidate. Keep your toys safe and educational for your baby and at the same time, be resilient enough to last for years of use.