Newborns sleep 14 to 17 hours, making precious awake time even more important. It is your opportunity as a parent to jump-start their early development, from sensory to memory.
Changing diapers and nursing your baby aren't the only tasks during these 10 hours. If you want to spend this time wisely then you need to also engage and nurture your baby's growth with age-appropriate toys.
Read on to discover the top ten toys for newborns.
1. Play Gym/Activity Mat
A play gym grows with your baby and can be useful well into the crawling and walking phases. Use it as a soft area to encourage tummy time, which can begin right away.
It can also be a great way to bond with your baby as you introduce them to color, textures, and sounds from the various hanging toys. Babies will learn to reach and grab for objects, getting your baby active and prepared for a restful sleep.
The placement of toys on an activity mat caters to an infant. They only see objects that are 8 to 10 inches from them. So, hanging objects make the perfect length.
Swinging motions also help develop eye movement, depth perception, and hand-eye coordination.
2. Musical Instrument/Player
At first, your newborn baby won't be able to create a masterpiece but they can certainly listen to one. Music activates the senses as much as touch and sight while uplifting their mood. They have fun learning new songs and sounds, which also is great practice for their memory.
As your baby grows, an instrument becomes a hands-on creative outlet for them. Music also is a relaxing activity that can calm and soothe babies and toddlers, so these toys are sure to stick around for many years.
3. Ball Rattle
As you start planning the perfect neonatal nursing think about what safe toys your infant can play with it their crib. You don't want to leave toys near them while they sleep but certain toys are a great help to get them tired and ready for a nap.
A light, soft rattle ball keeps them entertained with texture and sound. It also encourages gripping and passing objects from one hand to the other.
When your baby drops the ball they need to turn and move to look for it again. This activity promotes turning on their tummy and exercising their neck as they turn their head.
4. Soft Book
It's never too early to start reading to your baby. However, hard books with paper pages easily rip. They also can be dangerous if they pull the book out of your hand.
Soft books allow your infant to play as you read. Touch books get your child involved in the story and begin to develop their word and picture association. Providing various textures adds a catalog to their sensory memory. This will later help them differentiate objects according to how they feel.
5. Plush Toy
One of the most popular toys in any child's room, regardless of age, is stuffed animals. They offer comfort and joy at an early age.
These toys become favorites as they act as your baby's first friend and companion. When they awake from a nap, a stuffed animal can greet them to limit the shock of waking up. They can also start playing with the toy, avoiding the need for you to rush to pick them up.
There is such a large variety of plush toys that you can find their favorite no matter what they like. Plus, match a plush with the decor of your nursery.
6. Mirror Toy
Infants love to gaze at their own reflection even if they don't understand who is looking back yet. That is because they enjoy looking at faces since their parents' faces are most of what they see for a few months.
A soft mirror gives them a safe option to explore their own face. This promotes curiosity and even social skills as they are one of their first friends. The ability to recognize faces also comes from exploring object permanence. They will understand that people's faces are consistent so they can expect to see the same ones, again and again, providing comfort.
Babies start teething as early as 3 months with most first teeth showing up around 4 to 6 months. Getting a toy with a teething mechanism will help ease the pain of initial gum discomfort.
Even if your infant isn't teething yet they sure do love to explore objects orally. You don't want them to chew on any old object so give them something soft and comforting to help them discover textures safely.
Teething toys come in many shapes, sizes, and colors, but for infants, choose one that is light so that they don't bump or drop it on themselves while playing.
8. Squishy Blocks
Hard building blocks will come later when your child learns how to sit and play. For now, you can promote hand-eye coordination with some soft blocks.
Squeezing blocks at an early age will increase their cognitive function and recognition of their toys. They won't be able to stack or build anytime soon, but these blocks will help them explore color and texture.
Blocks can include alphabets and numbers as well to get a head start on learning the basics.
9. Stacking Rings
Rings are similar to blocks since your baby won't be able to stack them for a few months. However, shapes like rings are great for exploring surfaces and shapes.
Stacking rings also begin to develop spacial recognition as they discover various sizes. Before you know it your child will be placing rings by size like an expert.
10. Bath Toys
Your baby will quickly learn to love bath time. Make it even more enjoyable by offering a few toys while bathing. If they are afraid of the water, a toy can offer comfort.
Floating animals and shapes also help them with water play. They will begin to understand how objects float and the movement of water, making them want to explore even more.
Shopping for Infant Toys
When you buy toys for your infant the most important part is to ensure they are age-appropriate and safe. Babies put everything in their mouth so avoid small objects and toxic materials.
Always look at the age recommendation before giving a new toy to your child.
Make sure your friends and family also know what to give to your baby. Start today by signing up for a gift registry.