The best toys to help with a baby’s development each month
What are the best toys to help with baby’s development each month? Check out this list of toys that are appropriate during each stage of your baby’s first year. When I worked as an early intervention therapist, I brought a lot of these toys with me on home visits to babies from birth to 12 months. You’ll also find some awesome ideas for playing with your baby through each developmental milestone as they grow.
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Birth to Three Months
In the beginning, babies cry, eat, poop, and sleep. The first few months of parenthood can be a blur of sleepless nights and sleepy days. But babies will also begin to show signs of their developing personality. They will start to smile and develop better head control to look around at objects and people.
Toys for Babies Birth to 3 Months
GROSS MOTOR SKILLS: One important motor development in the first few months is increasing neck strength so that your baby can gain better head control.
To help your baby achieve gross motor developmental milestones from birth to 3 months, practice tummy time on the floor using a tummy time mat.
Related: Tummy Time for Newborns
Holding objects above the baby’s head and moving them from side to side will encourage your baby to lift and turn his head. Toys that play music, make noise, or light up will attract your baby’s attention the best.
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL SKILLS: A mirror is also a great toy to use during tummy time for babies to start to recognize their own faces and develop a sense of self.
VISION AND HEARING: During the first few months, babies aren’t able to grasp objects purposefully yet but enjoy looking at and listening to objects like this mobile.
Vision is still developing in babies from birth to three months. For visual stimulation at this age, use objects with high-contrast patterns.
Related: What Can My Newborn Baby See?
Four to Six Months
Babies this age are increasingly able to use their hands (and mouths) to explore objects by looking, shaking, banging and sucking on them.
Toys for Babies 4 to 6 Months
Around four months, babies can hold small ringed objects and will bat at toys trying to grasp them. Activity gyms or play gyms with dangling toys will interest babies at this age. Give babies playtime on their backs as well as on their stomachs.
FINE MOTOR SKILLS: Toys with small linked rings are fantastic for babies at this stage. They are easy for little hands to grasp. They can connect together and hang from the car seat or stroller for batting. Babies can also put them in the mouth for oral exploration.
Around six months, babies will start to hold objects using their palm, fingers and thumb. They will also begin to transfer toys from one hand to the other. Provide easy to grasp toys to encourage holding and transferring like soft blocks.
You can also introduce colorful stacking rings to your baby. I like this toy especially for babies who are starting to sit up. The rings are great for holding, banging, mouthing (and eventually stacking)!
Seven to Nine Months
Babies now may have more interest in toys and they are able to reach and grasp better. Most babies will also be able to sit up independently which makes playtime a lot more fun. For speech development, babies will start vocalizing many different sound combinations.
Toys for Babies 7 to 9 Months
MOTOR SKILLS: Small wooden blocks and musical instruments are fun to bang and play with. She will probably be able to hold and bang two small objects together. Model this behavior and then give the toys to your baby to try.
When baby is sitting up on the floor, vary the side you place toys on so baby learns to reach with both hands
COMMUNICATION AND SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL: Some great interactive games to play with baby at this age are peek a boo, pat a cake, and reciting nursery rhymes with motions. Finger puppets are a fun toy to help engage your baby in songs and nursery rhymes.
Ten to Twelve Months
By 10 to 12, babies may start to respond to simple verbal requests such as come here, sit down, and no. They may even speak their first true word! In motor development, babies will start to pull up to stand while holding onto furniture. They may stand unsupported for a few seconds and crawl on hands and knees, army crawl, or scoot to get around.
Toys for Babies 10 to 12 Months
COMMUNICATION AND SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL: At 10-12 months, babies enjoy looking at picture books especially ones with real photographs.
MOTOR SKILLS: Baby will start to be able to secure tiny objects by using a pincer grasp with thumb and index finger and can start to stack blocks. Take turns putting blocks on top of each other to build a tower with your baby and then knock it down.
You can also build towers with stacking cups. These are such awesome versatile toys that baby can hold, bang, mouth, stack, nest, put things in, and hide things under!
Large puzzles with a few pieces are appropriate now. You can guide your baby’s hand to try and remove the pieces. Puzzles are also a great toy for speech development. Point to and name the different pictures.
Although this may surprise you, by eleven to twelve months, many babies can hold a crayon in a fisted position to scribble. Encourage your baby’s creativity and introduce crayons with supervision.
Toys For Babies Month By Month
Babies grow and develop so much during the first twelve months. They start out as tiny little humans who have to learn how to do EVERYTHING and become walking, talking little toddlers. Help your baby develop month by month by giving them developmentally appropriate toys as they grow.
Related Posts on Baby Development:
- What Can My Newborn Baby See?
- 5 Tips to Prevent Flat Head In Babies
- Tummy Time Tips for Newborns (From Birth to 2 Months Old)
- Tummy Time Activities & Milestones (for Babies 3 to 6 Months)