With a wide-range of activities and toys on the market today, you may wonder which items are best suited for your infant. Children’s brains mature quickly. Those first formative years of life will shape their personalities and intellectual potential for a lifetime. Selecting age-appropriate toys that galvanize and help foster a child’s development faster is important, and the following tips may help you select toys and activities to fuel and even accelerate the process.
1. Rev Up Those Motor Skills
Every second of every moment, infants are on the brink of discovery. Learning is their full time job. Black and white objects, vibrant graphics, and bold colors can enliven this learning process. As they reach their second month, they’ll begin to discover their hands and feet. They will also grasp items and start learning how to roll over. Rattles, teething rings, and other infant toys that fire up the senses are excellent choices. Overhead toy bars on activity gyms encourage grasping and help develop manual dexterity.
2. Get In The Game
As your infant matures, engage him in interactive play and get in the game with him. Old school games like peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake strengthen hand and eye coordination. On the high-tech side, small but safe musical instruments and digital toys excite little minds, as do colorful interactive books with buttons to push, knobs to turn, and curious sounds for them to imitate. Equally delightful are gentle rockers, baby bouncers, swings and activity centers. And, of course, nothing is more interactive than reading aloud to your baby.
3. First Steps And Beyond
The first time he stands on his own, the moment she takes her first step — these are exciting milestones in your child’s life, and you’re both the catalyst and the coach for their continued growth and development. Stuffed toys, building blocks, and hands-on activities like a jack-in-the-box open the world to their senses. Push carts, pull toys, wagons, trains, and tiny tricycles build age-appropriate muscle and physical coordination. They also instill in your child the confidence to move about and explore the world on their own.
4. The Learning Tool Of Imagination
As babies and toddlers grow, so do their imaginations. They are explorers in a brave new world. The whole planet is a playground and a laboratory. Foreign gibberish suddenly gels into words with meanings. As you introduce each strange new item, colors gradually become familiar playthings and shapes become wondrous puzzles to solve. Dancing with them to their favorite kiddy tunes can spark the fire of learning and the delight of rhythmic motion. Playhouses, dolls, miniature appliances, and forts can all arouse and animate the imagination. All of these resources are building blocks to dynamic brain development.
Choose games, toys, and activities to create teachable moments for your baby that engage all of the senses, capture the imagination, encourage exploration, and inspire learning. Playing isn’t just fun, it’s fundamental to the growth and development of your child. Take is seriously and watch your baby blossom.
Author and grandmother, LaGeris Underwood Bell offers this article to parents of infants and babies. Brightstarts offers an extensive line of children’s products, and among them are well crafted infant toys invaluable to babies’ brain development as they explore and learn about the world around them.
Photo Credit: Abby Batchelder