A guide to choosing children’s toys based on age

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Give rattles to bicycles

Babies are weird and wonderful creatures … but they are often just weird! It can be utterly disconcerting to try to understand why they ignore mirrors, balls and TV … but are fascinated by a piece of cellophane or a piece of patterned fabric. They become more understandable as they get older, but if you want to avoid a lot of wasted baby toys and dollars, it’s best to understand the age-appropriate toy theory early on. For children, toys are more than just a way to pass the time as they don’t have to wash the dishes or work – they are vital for developing intelligence and a sense of self. Here we have created an age and step guide to children’s toys to demystify the whole process.

Toys for babies from 0 to 3 months

At this stage, a child’s best toy really is his or her parents! They don’t have much grip or motor skills to speak of, so your involvement in their game is vital. However, you can help the development along with the tools:

• Mobiles: For those times when he’s going to sleep or just waking up, a piece of furniture on the side of the cot is a great thing to have. Cell phones encourage pattern recognition, hand-eye coordination, and a sense of “object permanence”. A toy cell phone that plays music is best.

• Music: Both regular adult CDs and children’s music and toys that play their songs are great for building neural pathways at this age.

• Contrast and Colored Items: Items with high contrast colors or black and white get plenty of time to stare!

Toys for babies from 3 to 6 months

Any toys your baby’s relatives bought for her after her birth will begin to circulate and use at this age. Interactive and gripping play starts to become a reality, so choose children’s toys like:

• Books: Some children like books, others couldn’t care less. It’s a great time to introduce them and see what your child thinks, though.

• Rattles and soft toys: Anything that makes noise and has a simple reaction to use is fine for children of this age

• Breastfeeding Necklaces: Many babies (including mine!) Love to pinch mom or dad’s chest and neck while they are breastfeeding. A nursing necklace is a great alternative toy to the skin of the collarbone …

• Mirrors: The development stage of the mirror comes at a different time for all children, starting now.

Toys for babies from 6 to 9 months

Children are becoming much more interesting and interested at this age! Choose baby toys that offer small challenges, but not too big, or your baby won’t care. Look for toys like:

• Stack blocks, cups and boxes – if your child can’t do it himself, show her how to do it

• Bath Toys: Anything that squirts, can be read or floats is good at this age

• Musical Toys: If your child can figure out how to make their children’s toy play music, they will love it

Toys for children from 9-12 months

Your little one has almost graduated from the first year of life; these are the baby toys that most children at this age like:

• Push-and-pull toys: Push-and-pull toys that don’t need to be moved are the most practical

• Dolls: Babies start to get a little more imaginative with their use of dolls at this age, going beyond just biting and beating them!

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