When thinking about the kinds of toys to give your baby, consider the following:
Toys should never have small, detachable parts. These are choking hazards. Dispose of any packaging straight away, especially plastic. Avoid strings or anything with a filling that could spill out and be swallowed. Be very cautious with toys that have hazardous magnets or button batteries as this can become a serious hazard for your child. There are also certain chemicals in plastics that should be avoided but modern toys should not have those chemicals. Ensure you read any safety instructions, labels, and directions before use. Check further details in the Australian government’s product safety guidelines.
Keep toys clean. Pick up a cleansing gel or antibacterial wipes at the pharmacy and wipe toys down regularly.
Your little one will start developing motor skills around four months old. Anything that requires pinching or gripping motions with the fingers is great for fine motor skill development. Toys that encourage spinning, pulling, or moving gets your little ones using their wrists and fingers. Again, make sure the movable parts are not removable parts that could find their way into little mouths.
Before your little one can grab, they will bat and kick. Playmats with colorful, soft, dangling parts are great stimulation. Bonus if they make a sound.
Put. In. Mouth. That’s how your baby is wired. They will put whatever they can get their hands on, in their mouths. Soft toys can be good for a chewy baby but make sure they’re not filled with soft beads, or anything that could be dangerous should the toy tear.
It takes months for babies to develop a full vision. Babies are born short-sighted and can only focus up to about 30cm from their eyes. By two months they will begin to recognize faces. Pictures of loved ones or dolls with faces might intrigue your newborn.
Toys should be bright enough for your baby to see while their eyesight is slowly improving. This means bold, vibrant colors, or high contrasting black and white.
Everything is new
Babies don’t know the difference between fancy toys and a wooden spoon. Give your little one anything safe, and it could be just as stimulating as a ‘real toy’. Putting a few objects in front of your little one gives them a choice, which is an excellent way to introduce decision-making and exploration of the world around them.