Wednesday, January 1, 2014

What Should We Play With? Toys for Newborn/Young Infant Girls and Boys

Do you ever wonder what toys to get for your newborn child - or perhaps another newborn/infant within your circle of friends? Although this list would probably have been helpful a month ago, it is never too late to plan for next year (or perhaps an upcoming birthday)!

For the 0-3 Month Crowd:

Rattles - Anything that can make some noise as the baby kicks and flails while on his/her back. This is how your child will begin to develop an awareness of his/her body. With straps are great for playtime, but do not be afraid to give them ones to hold! Grasping objects in their hands will help develop their sense of proprioception (body in space). This one can be found through Amazon. It is a little bright - but the concept is correct. Keep in mind that your newborn sees the world in black, white and red at first. Don't put the bright colors up to their faces immediately.

Mobiles - attached wherever the baby plays- just be sure that the baby is not looking behind the head. Place it above the chest but not too low (no grabbing!). Slow moving with simple images to increase focus. A great way to practice tracking of objects! My advice - limit usage in the crib. As we are try to orient baby to day vs. night times, we want to encourage SLEEPING in the crib. We used this one. You can find it on Amazon.

Mirrors - Really great for helping your child to develop facial recognition. Some of the first smiles you see may be when your child is watching him/herself in the mirror. My own EtiKids loved this mirror, as it was very versatile. We used it for tummy time and while playing with "overhead" toys. We did not use it in the crib because it was very important for him to learn that cribs are for sleeping (also for my own sanity!). We purchased this one from Amazon.

Tummy Time Mat - As mentioned in previous posts, placing your baby on his/her tummy will increase proprioception, awareness, and social skills, as well as head and neck control. Additionally, it will help prepare your child for other developmental skills, including sitting, crawling, and walking! I used THIS MAT for my EtiKids. I felt that this encouraged a sense of awareness of the entire body, thanks to the addition of the piano. When the babies seemed to need a change of scenery (after playing with the animals), I turned them around to make music with the piano. I also attached the mirror (seen above), so the kiddos could look at themselves in action.

This post begins the series of What Should We Play With? Stay tuned for more developmentally appropriate toys through the ages. As always, it is important to get down on the floor and play with your newborn- it is never too early to begin modeling social skills!

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