Your newborn is ready to come home, and with them, you might be wondering which toys are best for them. It can become quite confusing trying to figure out exactly what a newborn would want to play with, or find interesting enough to pay attention to.
Newborns can’t really do much else other than feed, sleep and cry, so newborn toys are a bit of a special niche. When it comes to toys for babies, sometimes simple is better. They really do not need anything fancy at this age, just something that captures their interest and prompts them to interact.
Newborns will not be ready to ‘play’ yet but are interested in high contrast images and bright colors. While not necessarily for play, a newborn toy will serve a few different purposes:
- Encouraging tracking with both eyes
- Help to strengthen neck muscles
- Encourages reaching and grabbing
The right toy will encourage your baby to reach out and touch the toy through the desire to hold it, firing a few different functions in their brain. It is an important developmental step, and the right toy will do wonders to help them achieve it. Bright, colorful and sensory toys are a hit with babies, encouraging them to interact and test what their little body can actually do.
Confused about which toys are best for your newborn? Here are some of the best to keep them entertained:
The Tummy Time Toy
The Bright Starts Tummy Time Prop and Play is perfect to encourage your newborn to lift their head and develop their neck muscles, with lots of colorful toys to make it more fun!
The white and pale blue bear mat and pillow is kept subtle and dull to make the colorful accessories pop, making them appealing to a newborn still developing their sight. The matching prop pillow can be used for newborns who aren’t quite as comfortable with tummy time yet, and the mat and cushion are padded for ultimate comfort.
The tummy time bear fits in easily to small places and is perfect to travel with, folding up small and simply needing to be laid out flat when it is time to play. The toy attachments include a baby-safe mirror, a rattle, and other attachments, which are all held firmly in place for added safety.
Used from the newborn age upwards, it is a toy that will grow with your child, offering hours of safe, fun and comfortable play.
The rocker will accommodate your baby from infancy to being a toddler, with a harness that helps keep your little one in place and comfortable. Calming vibrations help to settle a newborn, with calming elephant music sounds to stimulate senses.
A detachable overhead hanger is full of toys, designed around a cute animal safari. These hanging toys encourage little ones to reach, play and bat, developing hand-eye coordination and gross motor skills.
The deep cradle seat, with two different recline positions, offer a cozy place for your newborn to sit back and play, and even works as a feeding chair for little ones who can’t quite sit up yet. The chair can either be used as a rocker or propped up to sit in place on the floor.
Your baby will fall in love with their new fun-space, and they will enjoy all the sensory experiences the rocker has to offer.
High contrast black and white, along with colorful graphics designs help to develop early visuals in newborns, as well as encourage multi-sensory development. Each disk hanging off of the center mobile is reversible, made from printed polypropylene card, with black and white graphics on one side, and colored images on theother.
The travel mobile is suited for babies aged 0-5 months and is easy to pack and travel wherever you might go. The strong plastic clip fits onto most prams, strollers, carriers and car seats, and can be moved between each whenever the baby does as well.
It is a small, but effective and interesting toy that will capture your newborn’s attention.
The Ultimate Play Matt
This playmat from Fischer-Price is an absolute must-have for all babies. It caters to the different stages within a baby’s first year, keeping them absolutely entertained for ages.
For newborns, a baby can be placed on their back to view the overhanging arches and toys overhead. Once they have developed more strength, the mat can be used for tummy time, and then for sitting on when the baby is able.
A removable toucan sitting on top of the arches plays music for 20 minutes, and also allows for baby activated music and sounds. There are 10 repositionable toys attached, including a mirror for self-discovery. The mat and the arches are full of different colors, textures, and sounds which will keep your baby entertained and engaged, exploring their different motor skills and senses.
The best part for parents is that the mat can be machine washed, keeping it clean in the easiest of ways!
With free space to move, stretch, roll, and bat, the mat offers so many opportunities for development, as well as tons of fun time!
Activities for Newborns
Spending time playing with your newborn will encourage bonding and help your baby start to familiarize themselves with the big world around them. You won’t have to do any elaborate activities when your baby is still so small, simple games will be all they need.
Your newborn will be receptive to noises. Sing to them, chat to them, blow raspberries and count their fingers and toes out loud. Sing some nursery rhymes that you loved as a child. They will find comfort in hearing your voice, and it helps them learn to listen and take note of sounds around them.
Pull tongues at your baby, laugh, make silly faces or roll your eyes. Your newborn can’t see too far yet but will love watching your face and the different things you can do with it. Lay them down on the bed and hover over them, entertaining them with some silly noises, funny faces and tongue pulling. This will help them to fine-tune their near sight, as well as bond more with you.
Place different, but safe, objects in your baby’s hands. Give them different textures to explore, such as plastic rattles, soft blankets, books, and material balls. Giving them the chance to explore different textures encourages your baby to learn and understand more about the world around them.
Take your baby for walks outside, point out the trees, show them a mirror, introduce them to new rooms in the house and new faces in the family. Exploring their sight and their environment is vital, and encourages a curious mind.
Tummy time is an essential playtime activity. It helps babies build up strength in their neck and gives them the option to view the world for a different angle. Place your baby on their stomach and give them some support if needed, as well as some toys close by to reach for if they are strong enough to do so.
Keep a brightly colored or high-contrast book close by for playtime. Read to your little one, even if it is just a book with simple words. Let them examine each picture in the book, listen to your voice and learn to love storytime. It is a great way to introduce new pictures and words at a young age and helps to develop a love for reading at an early age.
You might be surprised at how much your baby might babble back to you. Speak to them, have conversations with them, talk to them about how much you love them and how sunny it is outside, they will probably have quite a bit to say back to you!
Playtime for newborns is not only essential for development but encourages bonding between caregiver and child. It is a fun break from nappy changes and feeding and gives you some time to really enjoy your newborn.
Buying Newborn Toys
When purchasing a toy for your newborn, it is so important to check that there are no loose bits that might fall off the toy and cause a choking hazard. Also, be sure to check that there are no parts of the toy that are removed easily, this also runs the risk of a choking hazard. Make sure that if there are any batteries included, that they are tightened firmly in place.
Stick to something that is small enough for them to grab and hold, but nothing small enough to be put into the mouth. Toys should also be kept out of cots and sleeping areas and only used when it is time to play.
Before you rush out and purchase a whole bunch of toys for your newborn, remember that you only really need one or two entertaining toys for such a little one. They will not be able to play with much and will find the same engaging toy entertaining for quite some time. Offering too many toys could land up with your newborn becoming overstimulated, which could lead to fussiness and crying.
Simple, interesting toys are best, something to capture their attention, and with bits to play with and reach for. These types of toys are best for development and will help your baby explore and interact with their surroundings.
Always stay with your baby when they are playing, even if they are harnessed into a safety chair. It is best to be present and watching, and it will also give your baby the comfort they need to explore their new toys.
The Best Newborn Toys
Choosing a toy for a newborn does not have to be complicated. As long as the toy is suited for infants and has no loose or long parts, it should be fine. Try and choose a toy with high contrast images or lots of colors to keep your little one interested. Hanging toys and accessories are great for your baby to practice reaching, grabbing and batting.
Do not go out and buy a whole bunch of toys, instead, choose a few that serve different purposes, such as a rocker, a mat, and a mobile. These will grow with your baby and they will give your baby a comfortable space to practice all their new skills!