Best educational toys for Babies 0-6 Months.
By Pamellah Mutenga
Playtime is important for infant development, and these toys can be a big help and fun.
With an infant on your hands, it might feel like all you do these days is feed, change diapers and catch a nap while baby sleeps (if you’re lucky). But while it may seem like baby can’t do much, it’s actually never too early to start playing with your child. When it comes to the best baby toys out there, your little one might not exactly be ready to kick a soccer ball or put together a puzzle, but there are plenty of fun ways to engage with her that’ll have important long-term benefits for her physical and mental development.
"It’s a myth that babies can’t play, even if they don’t seem to be ‘doing much’ yet—they’re still taking everything in,” says Amanda Gummer, a research psychologist specializing in child development and spokesperson for the Genius of Play, a movement to raise awareness about the importance of play in kids’ lives. “Playing is a great way for parents and caregivers to build that vital bond with their baby.
Playtime is a major part of your little one’s development? From cognitive and physical development to emotional and social growth, the importance of play is undisputed.
Through play, children of any age—even infants—can learn about themselves and the world around them. And you can join in on the fun, too: playing with your baby can help them achieve important physical milestones, develop their (quickly growing!) brains, teach them about emotions and social skills and encourage language development.
And it doesn’t have to get complicated. Especially during those early months, setting aside some time each day to get down on the floor to play and read with your little one can make a huge impact.
Baby’s Development Milestones During the First Six Months
There are some basic milestones your baby will begin to hit over the first six months. (Keep in mind that each baby develops at their own individual pace; these are a general guide, but don’t hesitate to talk to your pediatrician if you ever have any questions or concerns.) Here are the milestones to look for, according to the CDC, and how play can help:
Babies 0–2 months:
- Holding up their head on their own.
- Making eye contact and following objects with their eyes.
- Cooing and gurgling.
- Turning their head toward sounds.
Try this: Holding a soft toy in front of your 2-month-old baby during tummy time is a great way to help with head, neck, core and visual development.
Babies 2–4 months:
- Social smiling.
- Copying facial expressions.
- Reaching for toys with one hand.
- Rolling from tummy to back.
- Holding and shaking a toy.
Try this: Giving your 4-month-old baby a rattle to hold will help encourage skills like reaching and hand-eye coordination as they “wake up” from those early newborn days.
Grab, rattle and roll with the Skip Hop Explore & More Roll Around Hedgehog. With an easy-grab design, this award-winning rattle encourages rolling, shaking and tossing.
The familiar face engages baby in developmental play while the flexible body offers easy-to-grasp openings to help little hands build dexterity. Teethers and beads offer more to touch and explore.
- Ages 3mths+.
- Easy to grab
- Rubberised details for teething.
Babies 4–6 months:
- Looking at themself in a mirror.
- Responding to their name.
- Showing curiosity at toys and objects. (and trying to eat them!)
- Passing toys from one hand to another.
- Rolling in both directions.
- Beginning to sit without support.
Try this: A quick, simple game of peekaboo with your 5-month-old baby can start to teach complex concepts such as object permanence and social development.
When choosing toys for your new baby, stick with safe, simple objects that encourage exploration and open-ended play. Things like rattles and other grabbing toys, balls, activity gyms and board books are great for encouraging developmental milestones during your baby’s first six months.
Pamellah Mutenga, is a blogger, writer, financial literacy Educator, speaker and executive coach focused on parents & ethnic leadership development, closing the ethnic achievement gap and breaking glass ceilings. She is the Co-Founder and director of Abundant Life Family Care. She believe that parenthood is a journey which must be enjoyed but it starts with happy parents.