Toys can’t take your place. Giving your baby toys and other safe things to play with is good for her development, but playing WITH your child is even more important for her well-being.
How do I play with my baby?
Get down on her level — crawl around together, play peek-a-boo, or roll a ball back and forth. When you show your baby that you are interested in the things that excite her, you encourage her to keep exploring and learning.
Give your baby the freedom to move around. Young babies enjoy being on their back so they can kick, wiggle, and look around. Older babies need space and time to practice crawling, creeping, pulling up, and walking. Spending too much time in a walker, play pen or infant swing may slow the development of these important skills.
While you play together, talk to your baby. Face your baby when talking so she can see you and smile with you. Talk about what you are doing. You may even want to babble back or echo sounds your baby makes, just as you would in a regular conversation. Even though your baby cannot understand everything you say, she will be learning many words that will form the basis for language later on.
What kind of toys should my baby play with?
Toys for young babies should encourage their interest in looking, listening, sucking, and grasping. Well-secured, unbreakable crib mirrors, rag dolls, stuffed toys and simple hand puppets moved by an adult are all age appropriate toys that can either be made or bought for a small amount of money.
Babies from 6-12 months are able to enjoy a wider variety of toys which support their development. Floating objects for bath play, building materials, simple puzzles, cloth and board books, and balls are sturdy options for young children at this stage.
Toys to choose:
- brightly coloured objects
- pictures within view but out of reach
- mobiles that have objects attached with cords less than 12 inches long
- unbreakable toys that rattle or squeak
- washable dolls or animals with embroidered eyes
- CDs or tapes with gentle music
- stacking ring cones
Toys to avoid:
- toys with parts smaller than 1 ¼ inch (the size of a dollar)
- toys with sharp edges
- toys with detachable small parts
- toys with toxic paint
- toys with cords more than 12 inches long
- stuffed animals with glass or button eyes