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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.
The right toy will encourage your baby to reach out and touch the toy, 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.
Developmental stages from 0 – 6 months
While you might think your newborn won’t be up to much besides sleeping and crying for the first few months, you might want to think again as over the first 6 months your baby will be speeding through some developmental milestones and you’ll want to keep their little minds engaged while they grow through these early stages and beyond.
In this article we have selected a few toys we think will be great to keep your tots engaged from 0-6 months. Below are the developmental milestones, month by month that you should keep in mind when looking for toys for your newborn.
- 1 month: They will lift their head up when lying down. They’ll also respond to sounds.
- 2 months: Will begin to follow items with their eyes.
- 3 months: They’ll smile and laugh and can also fully track moving objects with their eyes.
- 4 months: Will start to coo when you talk and they’ll also begin to recognise people and
- 5 months: You’ll see them having fun playing with their own hands and feet, they can also distinguish bright colours.
- 6 months: They’ll start to be more vocal by imitating things they hear and will react more to sound and voices.
More in-depth milestone information can be found here. And remember these are just guidelines so don’t worry if your baby is a little behind as they all develop at different speeds. However, If you are concerned about your baby’s progress then be sure to discuss with a doctor!
When/How to play with your newborn
At first your newborn baby will spend a lot of its time either visibly tired or sleeping. This will last for the first month or so. From here your newborn will start becoming more awake and alert as time goes on and you’ll start to recognise these changes and when its time for them to start playing.
The main things to look out for when deciding if your baby is ready for play is if they are awake, alert and relaxed. If they are being a bit fussy, upset and acting up then its best to save play for later when they are more likely to give you their attention.
When it comes to playing with them you should be trying to encourage their learning of the development milestones mentioned above. You can do this through smiles, silly faces, soft sounds/songs and gentle touches. This will help your baby bond with you so you should be doing these things from the very early stages.
When your baby hits the more awake and alert stages you should incorporate simple toys that will appeal to their senses of sight, sound and touch. Toys with bright, contrasting colours and patterns or shapes will stimulate their senses.
A newborn toy should serve a few different purposes:
- Encouraging tracking with both eyes
- Help to strengthen neck muscles
- Encourages reaching and grabbing
What to consider when buying toys for newborns?
Here we wanted to highlight what we considered while looking for toys to include in this article. We think these simple tips will help you pick the right toys for your baby when you are browsing items yourself later.
First off you should consider general health and safety such as ensuring there are no potential choking hazards, soft fabric toys are labelled as flam-resistant/retardant. Stuffed toys should be washable and any paint on toys should be lead free.
If a toy needs batteries, then these should have secure enclosures that are secured with a screw so that your child is unable to pry them open.
After safety you should consider if the toy you are considering will appeal to your newborn. Simple interesting toys are best, look for something with strong bright, contrasting colors and bits for them to reach for and interact with.
We know you are probably excited to get your newborn all the toys in the world and spoil them, its worth remembering you only need one or two toys for entertaining such a little one. They wont be able to play too much and will find the same toy fun and engaging for quite some time. Plus offering them too many toys at once could make them become overstimulated and result in a tantrum.
With all that in mind here are some of the toys that we think will be suitable for any newborn baby and keep then curious and engaged in these early stages.
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! Tummy Time is a great way to develop your babys motor skills and strengthen their muscles from an early age. Find out more about Tummy Time and its benefits in our article here.
The pale brown and turquoise bear mat and pillow include colorful accessories pop that will appeal to newborns still developing their sight.
The matching prop pillow can be used for newborns who aren’t quite as comfortable with tummy time yet, the mat and cushion are also padded for ultimate comfort.
The toy attachments include a baby-safe mirror, a rattle, and other attachments, which are all held firmly in place for added safety.
This tummy time mat it is a toy that can be used even when your child is past the newborn stage, offering hours of safe, fun and comfortable play.
Another option for tummy time is this Fisher-Price Hug & Play Tummy Wedge. This friendly panda pal hugs your baby as they play in tummy time!
It has a baby safe mirror, brightly colored clackers and a teething toy that’ll keep them engaged during play. There’s also a crinkle face, satin ears and super-soft plush arms for your baby to explore too.
This tummy wedge is machine washable so it’s easy to clean and similar to the bear mat above it can be used as your child grows.
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.
A detachable overhead hanger is full of colorful, bat at toys that will stimulate your baby’s senses. 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.
Similar to the classic rocker is the Fisher-Price On-the-Go Baby Dome!
This is perfect if you want to take your baby outside to play in the garden or park for some outdoor tummy time with its comfy cushion padding it acts as a safe play space and napping spot.
The domes canopy protects your baby from the suns ray’s and the netting keeps bugs out, it also has 2 removeable toys included to engage your baby and encourages eye tracking. These can be moved to within your baby’s reach too so those little hands can grasp and explore them which will help strengthen their dexterity and fine motor skills.
The dome is also super easy to travel with as it collapses flat and has a handy carry handle for on the go.
The Travel Toy
This is a great toy to use on the go, small enough to carry around, conveniently attaching to most strollers, prams and car seats. It is a small, but effective and interesting toy that will capture your newborn’s attention.
High contrast black and white, along with colorful graphics designs help to develop early visuals in newborns, as well as encourage multi-sensory development. The 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 the other.
The travel mobile is suited for babies aged 0-5 months and is easy to pack and travel wherever you might go.
This is another great toy that can be used on the go, this smiling star plays 6 classical melodies for your newborn and as they are naturally drawn to music you can watch as they develop from babbling along with the melodies to bouncing with the beat.
The toy has a Velcro harness on the back so they toy can be attached to strollers, rockers and car seats so your baby can always be accompanied with music.
The Ultimate Play Mat
This playmat from Fisher-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 baby safe mirror. The mat and the arches are full of different colors, textures, and sounds which will keep your baby entertained and engaged while exploring their different motor skills and senses.
This play mat will create tons of fun time for your newborn as the move, stretch and roll around playing with the toys around them.
A cheaper alternative to the above could be the Tiny Wonders Baby Activity Gym Mat!
This gym mat is a 3-in-1 activity center for newborns, the gym mat features brightly coloured and fun cartoon graphics that will have your baby fascinated. Arching legs that will dangle removeable toys above your newborn as they lay back on the mat and swat at them, these arching legs can also be removed and the mat can be laid out flat for tummy time activities.
The mat can also be folded up into a mini house that your baby can lie in for a nap, there are tabs inside that allow you to attach the removeable toys to so they can play as they drift into a nap. This mat will encourage early fine and gross motor skills as they bat, grab and kick at the included toys.
The Best Toys for Newborns – Summary
There are heaps of toys on the market aimed at newborns and the choice is overwhelming. Hopefully we’ve helped narrow down your search with this article and given you some ideas on the types of toys that newborn babies will have fun with.
We all want to spoil and give our newborns the best we can – ideally covering fun and encouraging early development at the same time. Just make sure dad isn’t buying toys for himself and claiming it’s for the baby!
Good luck in your search and if you come across a great toy that we’ve not mentioned please let us know in the comments box below.
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