Educational infant toys must be playthings babies enjoy and have fun with. But you'd surely be doing your child a disservice if her toys do not also help her achieve her developmental goals. Nowadays there are toys for all ages and developmental levels to help your baby get the best learning while playing.
Unfortunately most parents just look at the bells and whistles on a toy and don't really think about what else their baby can learn or get from it.
One of the things I suggest is to be around your baby when he or she plays. This is to make sure they are safe when playing. But it also helps you know whether your child is struggling to play with a specific toy or has passed that educational level and now needs something more advanced.
Of course you can also keep track of your baby's educational level and seek professional attention if your child isn't reaching specific milestones.
Here are a few great toy selections:
Let's start by looking at some educational infant toys for...
As a general rule of thumb, at age 0-3 months, babies need:
soft toys to stimulate their senses
They also need toys of different textures so they can feel different things
Activity mats help improve physical abilities and motor skills, along with activity toys and activity centers
Here are a few suggestions...
The educational infant toys for...
When your baby reaches 3-6 months old they still need mobiles and rattles but now the goal is to have them reach for the toy by themselves
Toys should still have texture so kids get a sense of how different things feel
Activity centers are still good toys for this age, along with teething toys. Babies are often teething at this age and should be able to hold a teething ring. One suggestion is to make the teething ring textured for a different feel
Musical toys and toys that chime can stimulate the hearing/listening skills. You can begin using board books that are brightly colored and help enhance vision
Soft blocks are also very appropriate for this age group
We also have a specific page on educational toys and tips to help baby sit up... since this is the age category when babies should start mastering this milestone.
Here are a few specific suggestions...
The general rule for the best educational infant toys for...
They like musical toys, activity boxes, activity toys and activity stations & mats
Building blocks teach stability and teach them what happens when the blocks are destabilized
If the baby can crawl or walk, then pull toys are appropriate. Toys should encourage crawling, such as balls, or walking, such as push toys
Your baby should typically be able to sit up unaided and can play with toys such as stacking rings in that position. As they advance, they can crawl around and reach for toys from a great distance. Here you may also want to try out a crawling tunnel.
Here are a few specific educational infant toy suggestions...
Educational infant toys for...
When a baby reaches 9-12 months, he or she can usually walk and say a few words. This is the time for activity cubes, musical toys, board or cloth books, simple puzzle toys, wooden blocks, balls, plush toys for comfort, and building or water toys. For more suggestions, have a look at this page.
Babies can also have fun in the bath and learn things at the same time. This is the time of a lot of exploration so keep toys vibrant, fun and operational.
Here are a few specific toy suggestions...
At this age toys can be very diverse. They may still wish to play with the same plush toy they had when they were a tiny baby and...
S/he begins to play with more advanced puzzles at the same time
Toy telephones can mimic what adults do
Other toys can be musical or offer bright colors for visual stimulation
Toys your child can push, pull or ride on are certain favorites and stimulate large motor skills which are very important at this age.
Here are a few suggestions...
OK, I've listed a few very popular educational infant toys. How about you? Seen any lately we should be aware of?
Found a real diamond in your toy store? Tell us about it. Share your finding!