The Only Toys You Need For Baby (0-12 months)
A baby doesn’t understand the concept of play and toys like other objects are tools for interaction. What he/she craves is deep interaction with parents and loved ones more than toys. So you need not go overboard buying every new toy you see in the market.
I have narrowed down the list to a few essential toys that your baby can use. Believe me they love household objects more than toys at this stage! So let’s begin.
Rattles are baby’s first toy. It’s an obvious buy. Rattles are useful to catch baby’s attention. They help improve hand-eye coordination. Some also double up as teethers.
Since this will be one of the first toys your baby will hold you can consider buying a wooden rattle that is made with safe paints.
A rattle can be used from birth until the end of first year.
Once your baby starts teething they constantly want to mouth objects. Get a silicone teether that is filled with water which can be slightly refrigerated on days your baby is teething and help soothe his/her swollen gums. Teethers can be used from three months onwards.
These are great to stimulate your baby and improve hand eye coordination. The overhead toys encourage your baby to grasp and pull.
A play gym can be used in multiple ways from birth to about 7 months; use it lying down, during tummy time, during sitting stages of baby’s development. A definite must have!
Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes
I don’t buy battery operated toys for my little one. I was gifted this by my sister-in-law and was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was. This toy has helped calm down my boy so many times that I lost count. You want to carry this for long car rides to distract your baby when he/she gets fussy in the car seat.
I had to include the Baby Einstein in the list, it’s a definite must buy. It’s easy for babies to grasp, plays baby-friendly versions of Mozart, Chopin, Vivaldi and Rossini and has a chunky volume button. It can be used birth onwards; we still use it at 15 months.
Touch-and-feel books, crinkle material soft books, board books are all great additions to baby’s first year library. Reading to your baby is a great bonding exercise, it helps babies interact with adults, build their memory, vocabulary and grasp concepts like numbers, alphabets, shapes, animals etc.
Baby touch: Peekaboo by Ladybird
Baby Touch: Snuggle Cloth Book by Ladybird
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Board book by Eric Carle
Dr. Seuss’s ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book
Blocks are classic toys that promote open ended play. They help build motor skills and promote imagination.
A good time to buy your baby his/her first set of blocks is once they learn to sit up. This is the time during infant development they start becoming more interested in learning to play and experiment with different textures of things around them. Even though stacking as a skill develops after the first year it is good to introduce blocks early to stimulate creativity and sharpen hand eye coordination skills.
Pull along toys
Pull along toys motivate your baby to crawl. They are good for motor skill development and imaginative play. These toys can be used from 7 months upwards.
These are a great buy to introduce shapes through touch. They promote manipulation through hand eye coordination. Shape sorters can be used from 10-11 months onwards.
Get good quality wooden stacking rings, these toys go a long way through your baby’s first years. You can introduce them around 10-11 months even though your baby doesn’t necessarily stack rings then. It’s an introduction to the concept of stacking. Also, the colors are attractive to them and they love to grasp onto the ring structures.
Somewhere around the 9-10 month mark my son started to grasp the concept of cars going “vroom vroom” and the movement that went along with it. This became a good starting point for us to introduce him to different vehicles like cars, trucks, trains etc.
Did you find this list helpful? Let me know in the comments below what toys your kids played with in the first year.